Day 22: outside the lines

31 03 2011

outside the lines (coloring book pages from Fall '10)

As bad as I often feel for the Pharisees and their cluelessness mixed with fears and jealousy, today’s passage makes me want to throw my hands up at them and ask, Seriously? A man born blind….. blind his whole life. He can see today! Thanks to Jesus Christ, the man who colors outside the lines.

I like to color inside the lines as much as the next person. But there are times when a little coloring outside the lines is fun. And, there are times when coloring outside the lines is transformative. I wonder, then, what it would have taken for the Pharisees to see Jesus as the Messiah, and not as a threat… to see changed lives, and not only rule-breaking.

And, I wonder, how often have we, the church (the world-wide church) tried to limit the kingdom of God by criticizing those who color outside the lines?

Day 21: emu mud

31 03 2011




Dirt + warmer days awhile ago (not lately) + Mr. Emu walking by his fence = emu mud. Emu mud + _________ (fill in the blank)  doesn’t = much that I’m aware of. I could be wrong.

Dirt + Jesus’ spit + a man-born-blind = a life-altering event.

For a modern-day-paraphrase, try reading John 9:1-41 from The Message.

Day 20: still daylight

30 03 2011

John 9:1-41 is the Gospel text for this coming Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Lent.

still daylight

In the passage, a man born blind encounters Jesus and is healed–and naturally, there are many questions from many people about this encounter. Another long narrative from John. Another life changed. Another opportunity for God to be glorified.

In John 9:4 and 5, Jesus says: “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

We pay attention to day and night, light and darkness, in the physical sense. We know that when the sun goes down, “it’s beginning to be darktime” as Kajsa says. We are aware when the darkness begins to disappear in the early morning, and the sun rises.

But how aware we of the spiritual lights and darknesses in our own journeys? How much attention do we give to the light of the world at work in our own lives, each and every day?

Christ Jesus, light of the world, help me to be aware of your presence and work in my life today. Amen.

Day 19: water, bottled

29 03 2011

After church on Sunday, several people helped hand out these water bottles. A little reminder to everyone about… well, about whatever it reminds them about. Jesus Christ the living water, the water of life, the Samaritan woman.

Thank you to those who helped hand them out, buy the bottles, print the labels, coordinate it all, put the labels on the bottles, etc.  Thank you!

Water, bottled

Day 18: hidden face

28 03 2011

On Saturday (Day 18), Kajsa and I played outside for awhile. She played on her trike for quite awhile, but we also drew and wrote a lot with sidewalk chalk. Our driveway lends itself to lots of chalk art,

which is quite fun. Now, however, she’s getting to the point where she sometimes wants to correct her mistakes in chalk art. And so she uses her mittens to try. Which kind of messes it up a bit more, and certainly doesn’t keep mittens nice and clean. Not that mittens should stay nice and clean, but it’d be nice to not have to wash them too often.

Before I took this photo, she was showing me her chalky mittens. Then she started teasing me and hiding her face. This wasn’t one of those moments when a child hides something from a parent because she did something wrong. Clearly that happens. And we do the same with God. Or we try. And yet, when we want God’s help, we don’t want God to hide God’s face from us.

I love that the Samaritan woman at the well did not hide her lifestory from Jesus. It helps that Jesus knew it, and told her so. But she still didn’t try to make excuses, or hide more, etc. Instead she seemed to gain some freedom from being known -as is–by Jesus the Messiah.

Hiding our stories or faces from God is kind of hard, given that God knows it all anyway. But that doesn’t mean we are always rational about our relationships with God. At times we hold our hands up, trying to hide our faces, and our feelings. Or maybe we’re honest with God when we talk to God, but mostly we hide our faces because we’re too busy and distracted to face God ourselves.

I realize I’m writing this on Monday, and the post is supposed to be for Saturday (when the photo was taken), but I have been thinking about the woman at the well still… and I hope I continue to learn from her story and encounter with Jesus.

Day 17: craving clean

28 03 2011

craving clean

Cars crave clean. Yep. Don’t we all? Even though we may like some of our unhealthy habits and activities, when it comes down to it, I would argue that we all crave clean.

The Samaritan woman has received a bad reputation over the centuries of scholarly analysis. Worse than she deserves, I think. But clearly she had her issues—at least relationship issues. 5 husbands, a live-in-boyfriend, probably a social outcast. My guess would be that even though she continued getting into relationships with men, she likely craved clean.

Enter Jesus, thankfully. Enter Jesus who treated her with respect, even while revealing that he knew her story. Enter Jesus who offers to help us all get clean with no gimmicks, no empty promises. Thanks be to God!

is it spring yet?

26 03 2011

I’ve been taking pictures for “Journey to 4.24”, but haven’t had the chance to write my posts, yet. So, instead, I’ll post two fun pictures from playing outside this afternoon. It was cold and windy outside. But fun. With lots of laughter.



Day 16: laundromat

24 03 2011

Day 16: another conversation starter

As it turns out, the local laundromat is a conversation starter as well. No, they don’t have Trivial Pursuit cards on the washers and dryers. But I walked in today to wash two comforters, with the hopes of also getting some sermon work done. Before I set my bag down, a very friendly young woman began talking to me… and with the exception of about 15 minutes alone in the laundromat, I was in conversation the whole time.

I was a bit frustrated at first. I really wanted to get some work done. But after about 20 minutes, I realized that this would be futile. The laundromat was a place to connect, to listen, to share. I’m grateful that we have a washer and dryer at home. But I’m also grateful for the opportunity to hang out with some people I would not have met, if I had tried to stuff my large comforter in our washing machine downstairs.

Day 15: thirst

23 03 2011

Day 15: thirst

I was so thirsty this morning. I couldn’t figure out why I had to keep drinking water… and more water… and still more water. I couldn’t seem to quench my thirst.

“Man!” I said to Kajsa, “I am SO thirsty. I wonder why I’m so thirsty?” I didn’t expect her to answer, and frankly didn’t even think she was listening. But Kajsa quickly said, “I think maybe you didn’t drink anything when you ate your breakfast.”

Hmmm. Come to think of it, I hadn’t. Good observation, Kajsa.

On a normal day I drink water throughout the day. One of my three favorite cups is often partially filled with water and on the kitchen counter, so I can grab water as I’m passing through. There are times when I am more thirsty than other times—such as this morning. But mostly, my water-drinking is a “drink as much as you can throughout the day” approach, so I can stay hydrated.

I’d like to say that my spiritual water-drinking is the same approach—and on some days, it is. But on some days, it’s simply a “grab the water glass only when I’m super-thirsty” approach. How much more ready I am for the bad days, and the difficult situations, when I stay spiritually hydrated. When I return to the well of living water not only as desperately-needed, but throughout the day.

Help me, God, to keep turning to you, and the well of living water. All day long!

Day 14: bridge

23 03 2011

Though this Sunday’s image is water–living water–I also like the image of a bridge. Jesus as the bridge that helped the Samaritan woman walk across to a new life. Not a perfect life! But a new life, one in which no matter what others said about her, or did to her, or expected from her… she would find strength in the joy of Christ’s forgiveness and love.

Day 14: bridge