Lent 45: It is finished

30 03 2013
Good Friday: It is finished.

Good Friday: It is finished.

 

 

Good Friday.





Lent 44: Christ following

29 03 2013

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, TNIV)

On that evening before Jesus died, he gave his disicples the above command. To Love. Before that he had washed their feet. Talk about love. Those feet had to be smelly. But that would be nothing compare with the love they’d witness the next day.

So I’m brainstorming some ways that we show love to one another… Lent 44: Christ following some of these examples are things we do within our families or circles of friends… some are within the body of Christ, many overlap. They’re the ones that are coming to mind first.

Love one another: foot washing, care taking, truth telling, hand holding, diaper changing, bus stop waiting, stomach feeding, gas grilling, fridge cleaning, shoulder for crying, errand running, coffee making, meal making, meal serving, dish washing, toilet scrubbing, bread providing, trash picking, attitude changing, wrong admitting, outreach participating, big kid sitting, worship coordinating, after worship or other event cleaning, before events prepping, sign fixing, leak patching, bulletin copying, creative gifts using, sound monitoring, instrument playing, hand shaking, breath holding instead of temper flaring, letter mailing, encouragement giving.

Christ following, Body of Christ being, circle of friends being, family living… love.





Lent 42: sheer silliness

28 03 2013

“The Message that points to Christ on the cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out…”  

(1 Corinthians 1:18. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message. The link should take you to both the NIV and The Message.)

I made this cross mosaic a year ago or so. Lent 42: sheer sillinessMaybe two now– I can’t remember. It likely looks like “sheer silliness” to many.. but to me, it makes perfect sense. I carefully chose all the pieces of this mosaic to represent something particular. And now, every time I see it, I remember, and give thanks to God for bringing me through the season that prompted mosaic-making.





Lent 40: using gifts

27 03 2013

Palm Sunday. Triumphal Entry. Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, a humble animal to say the least. Prophecy fulfilled. Praises offered.

Lent 40: using giftsOne of the ways we honor this humble King today is by using our God-given gifts.

On Palm Sunday at Christ Covenant, I was once again touched by the gifts within our church community. I am touched and blessed by the multitude of gifts used on any given Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.





Lent 38: all flocks and herds

27 03 2013

Psalm 8. A fairly well Psalm, I think. Lent 38: all flocks and herds

As I was walking in our yard last week, and photographed the miniature horses through the fence, I thought about Psalm 8. Particularly verses 6 & 7.





Lent 36: trash or recycling?

20 03 2013

In Philippians 3:4-14, the Apostle Paul states that the former gains in his life he now considers garbage–that he may gain Christ. Lent 36: trash or recycling? In The Message (paraphrase of the Bible), Eugene Peterson translates part of the passage this way:

“Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.”

It’s a great image…. dumping the former stuff in the trash, the garbage, the rubbish… and considering it dog dung. Yet I can’t help thinking about how often we humans still hold on to the former stuff. It’s almost as though we consider the former stuff recycling, rather than trash.. something we can re-use, upcycle, whatever… whatever is most useful, when we need to rehash stuff. Trash. Maybe it’s time we stopped recycling some of these things, and throwing them out instead, so our lives can be free from trash, and more useful for God. Maybe it’s time we lay our burdens down at the foot of the cross.





Lent 35: Extravagance

19 03 2013

Still reflecting on John 12:1-8. Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, and, in a move that likely made everyone else tense up with awkwardness, she then wiped his feet with her hair. Lent 35: ExtravaganceHer actions were extravagant. One of the definitions of extravagance is “exceeding reasonable bounds; unrestrained; extremely abundant…” (from The American Heritage Dictionary, Copyright 1982.) I am not sure how extravagant I ever have been with my adoration of Jesus. And, I think, one of the most abundant, unreasonable, extravagant gifts I could and should give to God these days is my time.





Lent 33: Barbie’s balance

18 03 2013

Yesterday, Kajsa had her Barbies packing into this Barbie jeep. Two of them are in the seats, seat belts on. She asked me how to get a third one in the jeep, since there were only two seats. I put it in the back, and told her

In real life, we don’t do this… you have to have a seat belt on, and if there’s not a belt in the back, there’s no place to sit in the back.

She kept playing, while I did something else in the other room. Lent 33: Barbie's balance

Then she called me in to look. “Look at Mommy Cathy” she said.. (“Mommy Cathy” would be the Barbie on the jeep’s hood). “In real life, she can’t do this, because there’s no seat belt.”

I laughed, and said, “I hope she doesn’t fall off!

Oh she won’t“, Kajsa said, “Mommy Cathy has a great sense of balance!

A few seconds later, thanks to to some rugged driving, perhaps, the Barbie fell off.

This week’s Lenten “Signs Along the Way” theme is “Dangerous Intersection”. The gospel text for yesterday was John 12:1-8: where Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with oil… her extravagant gift, compared with Judas’ response. Judas was “concerned” about the poor, though, the text says, he wasn’t really. When faith and life intersect, we are frequently faced with tough choices, challenges, and frustrations. We seek balance, but often are misguided, or over-guess/under-guess… balance is hard to come by.

Sometimes I think I am balanced–much like the “Mommy Cathy Barbie”. Or, much like her owner, rather… I perceive balance when, in reality, I’m not at all balanced, and I fall off the hood of the jeep.





Lent 31: the Rocking Chair

18 03 2013

Rocking chairs have always held a certain appeal for me. Even the ones that are too high for me to rock in comfortably. When we bought this rocking chair at a garage sale many years ago, I expected many nights of rocking Kajsa to sleep.  Lent 31: the Rocking ChairWhat I didn’t expect was how much she and I would both long for the rocking chair at other times.

It started a couple of years ago when, after a particularly hard day, I carried her to the rocking chair, and simply rocked. I think she was still a little frustrated with me at that point, and wasn’t eager to be rocked. But before long she calmed down. I sang one of our favorite songs (Skidda-ma-rink-a-dink-a-dink, skidda-ma-rink-a-do), and pretty soon she was asleep. The story repeated itself a few times.

Then the story changed. She began asking if I would rock her. And so we rocked. And rocked. We have rocked ourselves calm (that sounds strange) too many times to count. When my five year old or I are having a difficult day, she is often the one to ask to be rocked. The rocking chair has become one of the many methods we use to quiet ourselves, to hug each other, to adjust attitudes and frustrations, and to move on. I love this time.

Reflecting back to last week (!) and the Prodigal Son story, I imagine that God loves the times with us, when we have quieted down, when we allow God to hold and comfort us, and to welcome us back into God’s arms.





Lent 28: hiding place

12 03 2013

Kajsa loves to hide. And maybe even more than hiding, she loves the creation of hiding spots. Sometime in the past two days, she developed this new hiding spot by the coffee table. I think she calls it my secret spot.  She hides back there and does her “work”: writing, reading, drawing and talking to her stuffed animals. Lent 28: hiding place

Today’s Scripture reading from the Lenten bulletin insert for this week, is Psalm 32. One of my favorite verses is verse 7: You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I have often felt like hiding. Hiding from the many icks of life–painful and difficult detours. Sorrow, illness, death, tragedies, brokenness, loss, poor decisions, prodigal behavior, injustices, trauma, disappointing news…. lots of tears, lots of questions, not many good answers.. The icks of life that create pain.

But hiding places don’t remove pain. Sometimes we need a break, a reprieve from the detours… that’s different. And more often, what we do need is to rest and trust–in God. That kind of hiding, that doesn’t take us away from the pain as much as it does help us through it. That kind of hiding place helps us remember that even in the midst of all the pain, God is still present. God is still loving. And God is still faithful. This much I know.