Advent Journey-Hope

28 11 2010


Hoping that Advent bring me closer to Christ and to God.

Hoping that I will be open to the Spirit’s nudging in these and other areas.

Hoping for the end of untimely deaths among those I love.

Hoping for the end of untimely deaths among the world’s population. Not just those I know I love.

Hoping for the end of violence, war, skirmishes, pettiness, etc..

Hoping for freedom from the things that keep me from growing closer to God. And hoping for this same freedom, as applied to others also.

Hoping that though I may not get the whole platter of turkey leftovers, I might at least be given a morsel.

Hoping that I will receive the gifts God gives to me everyday. Whether or not I want or think I need them.

Good Samaritan preaching…

5 07 2010

I’m preaching this Sunday, and the text is Luke 10:25-37… or, as many of us know it, “The Parable of the Good Samaritan”. As I’m thinking about the text, the message–or many messages–and the potential directions for preaching, I came across this interesting piece. Apparently it’s by a Barbara Johnson, though in my initial research I couldn’t figure out who this Barbara Johnson is… but apparently it was printed in “Ecunet, Homiletics”.. not sure if that means Homiletics magazine, or what.. but, here it is.. clever. Good. Interesting. If any of you have seen this, and know who Barbara Johnson is, feel free to let me know.

A man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out.

A subjective person came along and said, “I feel for you down there.”

An objective person came along and said, “It’s logical that someone would fall down there.”

A Pharisee said, “Only bad people fall into a pit.”

A mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit.

A news reporter wanted an exclusive story on his pit.

A fundamentalist said, “You deserve your pit.”

An IRS man asked if he was paying taxes on the pit.

A self-pitying person said, “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit.”

A charismatic said, “Just confess that you’re not in a pit.”

An optimist said, “Things could be worse.”

A pessimist said, “Things will get worse.”

Jesus, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit!

And then I found this great image of artwork, called “Portrait of You as the Good Samaritan”. You may need to scroll to the right to get the full image. It’s also good, interesting, and makes me think.

Easter Day: Dance

8 04 2010

Morning Dance

Originally uploaded by cathyse97.

Our favorite singing group–Lost & Found–has a song called “Dance”. It’s one of Jim’s favorite songs, about the ladies going to visit the tomb of Jesus: and the tomb is empty! Part of the lyrics are as follows: “At dawn as the walked sadly hanging their heads. They fell in reverence when the angel said, ‘Why do you look for the living with the dead?’Their mourning song turned to dancing instead.”

Mourning song turned to dancing. Imagine the joy, yet disbelief, at realizing what had happened.. that Jesus had risen, just as he said. Of course there would be disbelief at first, and shock, and all that stuff. But after that.. when they saw the risen Christ… what must have they thought? done? imagine the dancing!

Of course, life circumstances can distract us from the dancing joy. Life can get us down, it can discourage, depress, disappoint… obviously. We know this all too well. So we keep hoping, trying, reminding ourselves and others of the Easter Dance: that Christ is victorious, Christ is risen. Regardless of life’s circumstances, Christ is risen. We can dance… and we can keep hoping in this risen Savior.

palms, ready and waiting

27 03 2010

palms, ready and waiting

Originally uploaded by cathyse97.

Thanks to Emma, (new Emma) for the use of her camera this morning, and emailing the photos to me! When we were at church for the Community Breakfast, I realized that the palms were out in the narthex, waiting for Sunday.. already torn apart by a volunteer, ready and waiting. So I asked E & L if one of them had a camera I could borrow.. they did. Thanks!

Palm Sunday can be so fun and celebrative…palms, celebration, praise, Hosannas, singing, kids marching/entering the sanctuary… Every Palm Sunday, though, I can’t help but remember the coming Holy week. The cross, the crown of thorns (pictured in the photo, etched in the glass)…

So tomorrow we both celebrate and anticipate. And remember.


23 03 2010

uphill, wrong direction

Originally uploaded by cathyse97.

My camera is in the shop again. I’m trying not to dwell on the fact it was acting up enough that I took it to get fixed, even during this Lenten Photography season. Oh well. Today’s photo is taken with my computer, on “Photo Booth”, which isn’t as great as I’d like, but there you have it. Such is life.

This Sunday’s Palm Sunday scripture is from Luke 19.. the text where Jesus sends two of his disciples out to get the colt. The first couple verses of the passage say that Jesus was heading up to Jerusalem. It seems that Jesus had been in Jericho. Jerusalem is south of Jericho, and yet, it’s “up” to Jerusalem, because of the higher altitude. Up. Uphill. It seems to me that Jesus’ entire ministry on earth was an uphill journey… Uphill, and the wrong direction–not the direction that the world would have expected or wanted him to go.

And then there’s this coming week: Holy Week, but I doubt that was its name that first Holy Week. I bet it was more like, “This week was the worst ever….” until Sunday, of course. But I digress. Jesus’ uphill journey was, obviously, worth it.. So we Christians believe. And yet it had to be hard. To be climbing uphill, and occasionally slipping back down, then climbing some more… then slipping back down. The disciples got it, then they didn’t. People liked Jesus… then they were offended by him. The healings worked… then the religious authorities harassed him for healing on the Sabbath.. lots of uphill stuff.

It reminds me a bit of Chutes & Ladders. A teeny bit. Up the ladder, down the slide.. up the ladder, down the slide… only the slide isn’t a fun slide like at a water park, or a playground, but a rusty, dirty, probably-broken slide… I recognize how small, inconsequential and ridiculous this comparison is. It does no justice to Christ’s uphill journey for each one of us. But it is a small way to rethink this coming week… and how our choices and lifestyles might follow in the uphill footsteps of Jesus Christ.

“Catch-Up”: Tuesday

18 03 2010

Philippians 3:4b-14

Pressing on.. I can’t say that I’m one who focuses a lot on “pressing on” for the sake of the heavenly prize in Jesus Christ. I don’t often think, “Ah… heaven. I can’t wait.” or “I’m pursuing the goal of resurrection from the dead.”

Tues., March 16th

Maybe, on some days–the days I think about the deaths of loved ones, the days I contemplate the future after death… maybe on those days. But mostly, I simply live. I do press on, in terms of moving forward. I do try to live my life as though Christ Jesus and his resurrection makes a difference. But what, exactly does that look like? For me, it includes working on those annoying habits that creep up on me. It includes working on not being so annoyed by the habits of others that jump out in front of me. It includes focusing on Christ Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit for guidance. And it includes a whole bunch of other ideas, actions, words, speech patterns, that are too many to list here. In this sense, “pressing on” is hard for me. I imagine that those who think about heavenly reward have a hard time as well. But for me, simply living today, as though Christ does make a difference in my life, is challenging. In this photo, my sister, nephew, their dog, and I were walking on the beach–and I photographed their shadows. Bennett was walking Tasha, their dog… Susie was walking Bennett’s bike, I was holding the bags of Bennett’s and my shell findings..  A stretch though it may be, we were straining, we were pressing on… and it was hard! walking through the sand. Hard, but worth it.

Fisher Price Prodigals

12 03 2010

son #1: in the back of the pick up truck, face turned away…can’t believe he took this drive with his father today… he just went along because he was bored, and now he has to witness this occasion…

Fri., March 12th

son #2: a daughter, in this case… can’t believe that her father saw her from the pick up truck, and didn’t turn around and drive back to the house. Can’t believe her father is running out to greet her.Can’t believe her father hasn’t even asked her where she’s been, or where the money is.. can’t believe how much her father loves her.

dog: not in the original parable, at least not divulged, if there. But I think she belongs in the Fisher Price edition of the Prodigals.

father: jumped out of the truck to greet the daughter, after driving down the long driveway everyday for years, looking for his daughter. Can’t believe his daughter is back. Sad that his son is staying in the back of the truck.

The prodigals: prodigal #1 is the daughter, who’s been known as the prodigal… prodigal #2 is the father. The word prodigal means a reckless spendthrift, an extravagant spendthrift. The father is the true prodigal because his unexpected, counter-cultural response to his daughter’s return is prodigal behavior.