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What Do You Carry

 I have personally become aware of how much I carry with me everyday.  There is the grief over lives lost and loved ones missed . . .  There is the uncertainty surrounding what may be ahead . . .  There is the sadness about opportunities missed . . . There is the guilt over things done and things left undone . . . There is the weight of unreasonable expectations I place on myself or what I think others expect of me . . . There is the fear of letting others down . . . There is . . .  This list could go on. Maybe you have a similar one. Today, we find ourselves halfway through this Season of Lent - a season of the Christian calendar that opens the door for reflection, introspection, contemplation, and renewal. As a part of this journey, what if we took the opportunity to take a long look at all of the things we carry? What if we examined each one and reflected on where they come from? What if we then asked if this particular thing is something that is ours to carry? What if we let go of
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Knowing Who You Are

Sometimes it is hard to remember who you are. There is just so much noise. There is just so much to do. There are just so many voices vying for attention. There is just so much negativity. There is just so much to worry about. There are just so many distractions. In the midst of it all, it is really hard to remember who you are. And it all seems to move so fast. In the Gospel of Mark, we have a similar fast moving story that takes the reader through Jesus' baptism, his temptation in the desert, and his proclamation of the kingdom of God. This is where it all begins for the author. Listen to the voice of God through this reading from Mark.  "In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.   And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved;   with you I am well pleased.' And the Spirit immediately

Beginning with Ashes

 In the Christian calendar, the season we call Lent begins with Ashes.  This past Wednesday, throughout the world many Christians heard the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" as they were marked with the sign of the cross on their forehead with ashes (even in the midst of a pandemic, this tradition continued in many creative ways). These ashes are to serve as a reminder of human frailty and brokenness, of the many reasons we have for lament and the ways in which we have failed one another, of the weight of our grief and the depth of our sorrow. These ashes mark not only our bodies but also the beginning of a 40-day journey called Lent. For those who make this journey, it will lead us into the complexity of what it means to be human, the struggle of life itself, the challenge of faith, and the promised presence of God throughout it all.  After a year of immeasurable loss, physical distance from those we love, fear of a virus we cannot see, and anx

In Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On this day when we celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., take some time to read or listen to some of his speeches, sermons, or lectures. While you are doing so, consider the fact that all of these were written and delivered in the 1960's and think about all the work that still needs to be done. One of the major concepts at the heart of Dr. King's worldview is the idea of the Beloved Community. For Dr. King the Beloved Community "was a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence . . . (it) is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it" ( https://thekingcenter.org/about-tkc/the-king-philosophy/ ). As you can see, this is not something that is just going to

Here we go . . . again

Happy New Year! And with the coming of the new year comes a whole lot of things . . . some are old and some are new; some are reliable and some unpredictable; some are stressful and some are no big deal. One of the things that people often do at the start of the new year is take the opportunity to make resolutions. These are things they are going to commit themselves to work on as the year begins. Most of the time, these have something to do with self improvement or personal development. These new year's resolutions have kind of become a cliche in our culture because most of us have a hard time making it to or through February keeping them. Then, if you are like me, the frustration, the guilt trips, and feelings of worthlessness set in.  So, what if we avoid all of that this year.  What if we tried something a little different instead. What if we took a look at something we already really enjoy - reading, walking, working out, drawing, listening to music, playing an instrument, coo

Love is . . .

Love Love is... Love is decisive. Love is relentless. Love is stubborn. Love is no matter what. Love is no matter when. Love is no matter the cost. Love is "yes, and". Love is "with". Love is that thing, that mysterious, indescribable thing which holds us together when all else seems to be crumbling apart. Love is reckless and illogical. Love stands when it more convenient to sit. Love stays when it is easier to leave. Love is silent when all you want to do is speak. Love speaks even when fear tries to steal your voice. Love is beyond us, Yet simultaneously dwells within us. Love makes no sense. Yet love is the only thing that makes sense out of our everyday nonsense. Love cannot be found... because Love is. This Advent, we await the arrival of Love made flesh. If you listen closely you may even hear Love's voice... in the cry of a child. As Love, the love that is the presence of all of love comes down to make its dwelling with us; within us. Love is... 1 John 4

Good News of Great Joy

Photo by  Tim Mossholder  on  Unsplash   A few weeks ago, our oldest child, Ella, in the middle of playing in her room randomly said, “I wish coronavirus was a dream. Then it would just go away.”   Same.   And honestly, in that moment, I thought to myself, “I wish all of 2020 were a dream. Then it would just go away.”   I know, what an overwhelming sentiment of joy.  And yet, in this season of Advent, that is a part of the invitation – Who brings you joy? What brings you joy? When have you felt joy? Where is the joy? How have you experienced joy?    In a year like 2020, joy is a lot like that fancy new gift everyone wants, but no one can seem to find. Our “shopping carts” are empty and we’re left feeling defeated and deflated.    As I’ve been reflecting on joy, I got to thinking about the shepherds. Remember them from Luke’s gospel? (See Luke 2:8-20)    They were simply minding their business, “keeping watch over their flock,” when all of a sudden, an “angel of the Lord” appeared. Righ