Monday, April 21, 2014


another Lent, Holy Week and Easter! Yay!!!
   We had a good turn out for our Maundy Thursday Upper Room and stripping of the altar. Good Friday could have been better if the person working on dimming the lights had put them all out at the end instead of leaving the chancel lights on. I was ticked about that even after explaining that at the end all the lights should be off.
   I spent Holy Saturday making bread dough, coloring eggs, making pico de gallo for the week, mixing ground beef and making burgers for LH to put on the grill, gathering all the items needed for Easter Sunday - stole, foamie butterfly stickers, tulle butterflies to put on the pulpit and lectern which didn't really stick and then someone made off with one of them, since I was one short after the service. (Heck, they could've gone to the Dollar Tree and purchased their own!!). Then, I had a sinkful of dirty dishes to wash - all the mixing bowls (oh, and I made chocolate mousse for Easter dessert) and stuff that doesn't go in the dishwasher. It was a very busy Holy Saturday as they usually are.
  Easter Sunday it was 70 degrees and sunny - a beautiful day and morning! The service went very well and of course, folks we haven't seen in ages or at least, since Christmas Eve!!! There was a short coffee hour after worship although most everyone left except for a few folks. I hung around to lock up and then drove the hour home for a well deserved nap.
  An individual showed up looking for a handout. I explained that I would be with him shortly and although we don't give out money, that I could gather some food for him (after
gathering my worship things and shaking hands.). He said he needed food. Well, we don't have a pantry and don't give out cash. However, we did collect food for a local food pantry and I was going to raid it and put together items for him. When I got downstairs, he had left. Which, of course, means, that had he really been hungry, he would have stayed and accepted a bag of food. He really was just looking for a cash handout. Apparently, a parishioner gave him a couple bucks and off he went.
What kills me, is these people seem to know just when the most inopportune time is to panhandle from the church - a wedding, Christmas Eve, Easter Sunday - when pastors are likely to just hand over a few bucks because they are so busy and pressed for time.
   At any rate, aside from that, it was a beautiful day, a beautiful Easter day - one of the nicest I can remember.
   And here it is Easter Monday, a holiday in other parts of the world and a work day for me, as I get things together for the pulpit supply pastor next Sunday, load up the van with the donated food and deliver it, load up the van with several Easter flowers and deliver them to a homebound member and make a visit.
  Then, I can go home. Then I can start my vacation. Which will mean doing lots of laundry tomorrow and packing on Wednesday for my trip long weekend in Colorado. Most everyone goes some place warm and I will be packing sweaters!!!! I am excited to see my niece who spent so many months in Ethiopia and my sister who I haven't seen since Thanksgiving, and my nephew and his wife who is expecting their first child in June, and who I haven't seen since last June. I'm hoping the Baby Shower will be fun with all the cute little baby items.
   I am praying that it won't be snowing!!!!
   I hope you all have enjoyed a most wonderful, glorious Easter celebration and that you will savor some much deserved rest in this coming week.
   He lives! Alleluia! And that makes everything worthwhile!

Monday, April 14, 2014


 Here we are at the start of Holy Week which began yesterday with the Blessing of the Palms while gathered outside on a sunny 70 degree morning. It was beautiful. We processed inside to the singing of "All Glory, Laud and Honor" and the worship was meaningful. Some folks who haven't been in church for a bit found their way back and it was good to have a few more folks in church. My sermon, which was shorter than usual, fit in and the whole service flowed without going over time!
So, perhaps, it wasn't all too short.
   I survived my mid-week Lenten service last week preaching on the topic we all had to preach on:
Why We Stand at the Foot of the Cross. I ended up preaching on Luke 4:16-21, focusing on Jesus' mission and the grace of which we are all in need. It preached. The service was Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer which is really moving with much singing. My only problem was that I nearly lost my voice preaching with this upper respiratory ailment. It is slowly getting better.
     LH is still coughing too and has a low bass voice!!! It must be Lent - we both got sick!!!!
   This is that hard week of keeping focus and not merely skipping over to Easter, but making that long hard walk through Jerusalem, to the Upper Room, to the cross at Calvary and to the stone cold dark tomb. One day at a time, one step at a time and I will get there and I pray that I will be in good company of the faithful who take this journey with me each year. Always humbled and overwhelmed at Christ's great sacrifice of love for me, for us all. Then there is the grief and anguish of Good Friday that washes over me every year. And how unsettled I always feel on Holy Saturday, uncomfortable and disturbed and I busy myself with coloring eggs and going over everything for Easter Sunday worship. It is just the way it needs to be.
   May your  Holy Week be graced and blessed and may it bring your heart and spirit to its knees, overwhelmed and humbled by such an enormity of love and grace and sacrifice. May the slow, hard walk through this week bring you to the glorious joy of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and shine so wonderfully bright upon and in you and bring you back to life!

Monday, April 07, 2014

   I am grateful to be here today. Grateful. Profoundly grateful.
  On my way home from church yesterday around noonish, the state route exits on the left and the ramp dumps me onto the Interstate which takes me home. Where the ramp meets the interstate there are four lanes of traffic. Normally, I wait a bit before merging into the next lane right of me. Eventually, the left lane ends and there are only three lanes and after crossing a reservoir the far right lane exits onto the tollway and then there are only two lanes.
  As I was on the exit ramp which curves upward and straightens downward, I usually keep my speed to around 40 mph, it is after all a curve. I will pick up speed after the curve and as I moved downward onto the Interstate. Well, yesterday I had a silver pickup truck behind who was pushing me and I
decided to merge onto lane to my right as soon as it was safe to do so, and it was and so, I did. In the meanwhile, there was a semi truck to the right back of me and to the left of me where the pickup was gathering up speed, was a beige minivan with a handicapped plaque hanging from the rear view mirror and an older gent driving it in the farthest left lane - the one I had just left and the pickup truck was still in - the wrong way!! I slowed down but I couldn't go right with the semi right on my tail. The pickup truck pulled onto the left berm and stopped. The beige minivan going the wrong way kept on going.
   Had I not merged to the right when I did, I would most likely have been hit head on. I didn't see him soon enough as I was checking my right side mirror and rearview mirror to merge to the lane on my right, by the time I completed that maneuver there was that minivan. I prayed and prayed that no one would be hit. The pick up truck got back on the road and passed me on the bridge of the reservoir. I was too shaken to drive as fast as I normally do.
   That was the second time in my lifetime that while driving on an Interstate that I was met with a wrong way driver. Thankfully, both times were Sundays and in daylight where you can see them coming. Night would be a whole other scenario.
   So I am grateful to be here, grateful for a busy week with meetings the next two evenings and the mid-week Lenten service on Wednesday where I will be preaching and then the launch of Palm Sunday into Holy Week and Easter.
   Now if I could get rid of this sinus cold and cough.