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 37: the Emu nests.

26 03 2013

(Thursday, March 21st post) The emu nests again. A few years ago ago I did some research and learned that either the male or female emu will incubate the eggs, so we’re not sure which emu this is. Whichever it is, s/he has been very protective and faithful, even chasing away the other emu. The sacrifices this emu is making are impressive also–Lent 37: the emu nestsin the past couple of weeks we’ve had all sorts of weather including snow, sleet, and rain. And, sadly, three years ago when the older emus were nesting, the mother made the ultimate sacrifice–death. She was killed by a wild animal (fox or coyote, we were told) while protecting the eggs. Neither she nor the eggs made it.

Last week as I took this photo, I was thinking about God’s faithfulness and loyalty to us humans. The animal kingdom never ceases to amaze me. But what amazes me even more is our great, creative God who made it all.

That, and the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus, for each one of us as well.

(Note: if you are local, and you decide to check this emu out, please please please don’t approach the fence right by the emu. We have been asked to be very cautious, and only approach from an angle… keep the dog away, and not get too close…. We’re all hoping for better success this year with the emu eggs, and want to do whatever we can to enable that.)

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 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 17: DIY

2 03 2013

(Yesterday’s post, which I had written… but never actually published.)

I made this duvet cover today for Kajsa. It should be a simple task. It wasn’t. And it’s not completely finished either. I’m not a seamstress. Never have been. Lent 17: DIY winding road But occasionally I think that I can do some project, even though I have no idea what I’m doing. After all, I made a duvet cover my first year of seminary–that was… 1993. Yep. Simple project–sew together two twin flat sheets. Ha. Suffice it to say that I did things in the wrong order, making a simple and quick project much longer than expected.

I do not often say that people deserve their own suffering. And, a DIY duvet cover does not come close to falling under the category of suffering. No way. I do, however, think that my DIY project today became more complex, more time-consuming and more frustrating because I thought I could jump right in and remember how to make one of these.

There are times when we, I, make a mess in our DIY lives, I think. Sometimes. I’m not speaking to the circumstances-beyond-our-control factors at all. In our lives, our relationships and some situations, I think it’s easy to try and cruise on DIY, when what we need to do first is discern and trust God more. Granted, things might still be a mess. There are no guarantees with this stuff. But at least, with more God in the situation and less unnecessary-DIY, we might have a bit more patience and guidance.. Maybe.

(And yes, the polka dot pillow in Lent 16’s photo is from the same sheet set as this polka dotted sheet.) 

Lent 16: steadfast parenting

28 02 2013

On the winding road of parenting, today almost got me carsick from all the turns. Nothing horrible happened–it was just one of those days. Thankfully, we also had some fun and laughter. But not enough, in my mind.   Lent 16: steadfast

As I peek in on my sleeping daughter, some parental guilt sets in, about the day. “Why didn’t I …. ” or “Ugh.. ! She’s five! It’s kind of her job to be an imp!” Regardless, I am incredibly thankful. Thankful to God. Thankful to her. Thankful for this gift that is our daughter.  And I whisper to her for about the 10th time tonight, and 25th time today (give or take one or two), “I love you SO much, Kajsa!” My love, though a bit carsick today, is steadfast. It is fixed and unmovable–except to grow bigger.  I am reminded of the love God must feel for each one of us–even after we try God’s patience.

I also appreciate how tired and relieved God might feel when we humans finally stop whining, and simply fall asleep.

Lent 9: Refuge

22 02 2013

Late, again. Oh well.

Last night Jim, Kajsa and I went to Margarita’s Restaurant, to eat dinner… we went to help support “Relay for Life”, and, specifically, “Cheryl’s Angels”. 5% of last night’s proceeds went towards this team. As we were sitting in the booth waiting for our food, I looked over at Kajsa’s satchel (that’s what she calls it), and her newest stuffed animal–a Beanie Baby named “Hopper” was in it. I snapped this photo, because it immediately made me think about how Kajsa carefully takes care of Hopper. Mostly. Of course, she’s five-and-a-half, so isn’t the world’s most attentive parent, even to a Beanie Baby. But for the most part, she holds it carefully, pets it gently, wraps it up in blankets, sets it down carefully to take a nap. When she goes outside, she likes to shield it a little from the wind and cold. She even wants to strap her stuffed animals in seat belts on car trips.

Obviously, God cares and loves us more than we care for Beanie Babies. And even each other. I hope, at least. Psalm 91 talks about God’s protection, about God being our refuge… of course, Psalm 91 also states some confusing things–things like, “If you say ‘the Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent…” (Psalm 91:9-10). Confusing because, clearly, harm does come, disaster happens all the time. Image

I remain confused and often frustrated by Scriptures such as this, which say that God will protect and rescue people who call on him. But at this point, at least today, I am willing to remain confused and frustrated. This doesn’t always happen–that I’m willing to remain confused. Normally I want the answers, I want to know why, I want to cry out to God. And I’m sure those feelings and thoughts and actions will return to me –maybe even in an hour. But for now, I’m trying to yield to God my need to understand it all. And I’m trying to rest in the reality that God is still God… that God still loves…. and that God is still my refuge.

Day 47: (4:24) the road ahead

27 04 2011

4:24: the road ahead

I cannot believe No, I can believe… that I am this late in posting my Easter photo–the final photo for “Journey to 4:24”. I took the photo on Sunday, and yet, here I sit… Wednesday morning, posting. Oh well. That said, here’s my post.

Easter is the ultimate example of hope, of life, of possibility. It is God’s unimaginable love for us, reconciling himself to humanity through Jesus Christ. It is God forgiving our sin, and giving us life, so we can live abundantly.

Easter is about the road ahead, full of possibility. Let us live into that hope-filled life, empowered by the empty tomb. (Even when we’re running behind.)