June 29

Today, I have been inside all day, working. My office is rather chilly and lit with fluorescent lights. When I got up for some coffee, I was surprised to see that the parking lot outside my window was wet. It was also quite hot today.  I felt none of that weather. I was reminded of times when I have been so wrapped up in myself that I was oblivious to other people. I didn't know what they might be feeling or how their day was going.

Gracious and loving Savior, please forgive me when I become so inwardly focused that I miss the cues you might be giving me to be a loving presence for you.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


June 27

wishes, wondering 
we wait, wait upon His will
wakened waitpersons


June 25

The regular school year is over, but summer classes will be offered at all levels of learning. The church offers a modified schedule for learning, too. We never stop learning, and many of us never stop teaching.

Thank you, Lord, for giving the gift of teaching.  Thank you for giving hearts of compassion to those with the gift of teaching.  Help and bless those who are nurturing the minds and hearts of others.  Amen.


June 23

As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers. Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
                                                                    Matthew 4:18-20  RSV

Dear Father,
I want to follow you in all things, in all ways, and at all times.  Why do I forget that desire of my heart until I desperately need you, reach out to you and call your name?  Comforter, Counselor, Teacher, King.  I seek the peace that comes with knowing you better and putting you first in my life.

Help me to drop the net of things I have made more important than you. Help me to follow you in all things, in all ways, and at all times.


June 21

I am watching a TV show about the wonders of Greek architecture and the concepts and skill needed to carve and move the stone used to build those wonders. Last night, I watched a TV show that ended with a huge battle in which nearly everyone was brutally massacred. The human mind and the human heart is capable of such creative beauty and such horrible destruction. How we must grieve the Lord.

Wise and merciful God, we confess that we are far from the people you created us to be.  Please help us to see who you want us to be, Help us to let go of the parts of us that are contrary to your will. Give us strength and courage to find ways to be loving and creative and to turn from ways of violence and hate. In Jesus' name, Amen.


June 19

A question that’s often voiced by grumbling adults is, “What is it with kids nowadays?” No doubt it was asked in one form or another dating back to the days of the cavemen. It’s one of those questions that never seems to go away, and it’s usually asked when some adult either finds some kid’s behavior bewildering, or strongly disapproves of it, or both.
            Unfortunately, adults have a tendency to dismiss the contributions of young people as “childish” or “immature,” and not what “normal” people (whatever that is) would do. Yet the Bible contains references to children and young people. For example, there’s the phrase, “And a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) Or Jesus saying, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” (Mark 10:14) Or Paul’s strong admonition to his young protégé, Timothy: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) And, of course, the fact that we are all “children of God.” (Galatians 3:26, among other places in the Bible)
            All of this, though, brings up a strong caution for adults. Yes, we need to listen to our children and value their input, but we – we parents, we teachers, we mentors, we adults – must realize that we need to set an example for the children. We must not only say it, but do it as well. And we must also teach our children to do it and not just say it. Without a trusted adult’s guidance and example, a child may very well be lost in darkness and unable to come back to the light. With it, a child can thrive and set his or her own example.
Not long ago, I was in Frederick, and I was privileged to hear and watch a group of very talented kids sing and dance for a charity event.
Some of the kids not only sang and danced, but one girl – just barely out of middle school –  wrote and performed an original song, and another girl – about to go into middle school – choreographed an original dance routine, complete with props.
The energy level among all the kids was palpable. When the call went out for kids to sign up for the event, there was no hesitation. They all said yes, no questions asked. Why did they do it? Because not only did they believe in the cause, they also learned by the example of the adults who were running the show.

So, to answer the original question, “What is it with kids nowadays?” I say, “The kids are doing just fine; it’s up to us to steer them in the right direction.”


June 17

I had a wonderful time wandering and learning and observing this past week.  It is amazing that we know so much about people and events of the past, and yet we can still learn more.  I love the stories about what people used to do and how they used to live. I especially love the way those stories can help us to reflect on how we live today.

Wise Lord, thank you for giving us the capacity to learn and grow, to learn form our mistakes and to improve.  Help us to become more loving every day, and to teach upcoming generations to avoid our lack of love. Amen.


June 15

Gracious God, thank you for days of sun and for days of rain. Thank you for busy days and lazy days.  Thank you for days filled with people and for days of solitude.  Thank you for joyful surprises and for disappointments.  Thank you for all of life and for walking with me through all of my days. In the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.


June 11

When I got up this morning, I was greeted by the soft cooing sound of a dove’s call. It must have been perched near a vent shaft. I often hear them at a distance and pay little attention to their song.  This one I could not let go unnoticed. It sounded too close to ignore.  That being the case, it set me to thinking and reminiscing.

          I remembered that my mother used to refer to it as a rain dove—when you heard it, the implication was that it was going to rain.  I never noticed any correspondence between the dove’s call and the coming of rain, but so the saying went---perhaps harking back to how the dove helped Noah to know when the flood waters were receding.  I seem to hear doves calling mostly in the morning.  Do they do it to wake up the world?  Or because they are happy in the morning?  Or to send a message to other doves? I don’t know.  But I like their cooing. It’s not harsh, or insistent.  But it is calm, and distinct, and kind of assuring.  It’s a peaceful sound—the dove’s coo.

          So much like God in that respect. The most unmistakable experiences of  God’s presence are those  that are quietly assertive like the dove’s call.  The ancient prophet perceived that God was not in the earthquake, wind, or fire, but in the quiet, assuring, insistent moment---kind of like the cooing of the dove. Jesus may have meant even more than we often think when he said “Consider the birds of the air….”  God not only cares for them, but speaks to us through their ways.

          “Thank you God for speaking to us through the creatures and plants around us.  In these days of summer abundance, may we be assured of your loving presence.  Amen”


June 9

     I feel very close to God when I am walking in the woods.
It is particularly relaxing when I am feeling stressed. I feel God's peace
as I am walking along the trails. I focus on the beauty of nature around
me rather than what is troubling me. In the spring, when I am walking,
I love seeing all the birds return from their southern destinations. In May,
the beautiful male Baltimore orioles, in their striking orange and black plumage,
are singing their hearts out to attract a mate as are the other male birds. This
past week I was able to see a red tailed hawk fly into its nest atop a pine tree
with food and feed its two young chicks. It makes me smile when I spot a bird
I don't often see like the yellow billed cuckoo. In the pond, hundreds of tadpoles
have hatched from their eggs and are swimming among the white water lilies. God has given us these wonderful gifts of nature. I am very thankful that I can experience all this beauty and peace while walking in the woods.


June 5

Today is my mom's birthday.

I've been writing today's prayer message for a couple of weeks in my head.  I've been afraid to write any further than the first sentence, which is my heading.  You see my mother has stage 4 breast cancer, we've known since last September.  She tried one round of chemotherapy and the chemo almost killed her.  Her support group of doctors and health experts agreed with her to not continue any means to stop her cancer -- except one -- that is prayer.

Mom's journey since September has been remarkable.  Mom is one of those quiet women who raised 5 children following the "war" -- all of us baby boomers.  We went to a catholic school where most of the kids came from families with 4 - 12 children in each family.  I didn't realize how close the mothers of those families were until I went to a funeral for one last December.  I was amazed how many of the large family mothers were in attendance, praying for each other.

Mom has received cards, gifts, and flowers from people she didn't think remembered her.  Their messages of love have been endearing.  And little things have become big miracles for mom.  My parents drove to church one Sunday and while they were at the service, the man who parked next to them noticed one of the tires on my parents' car was flat.  He waited for them after church and changed the tire for them.  It turned out the spare did not have enough air in it, so another man and his wife offered to go home and get an air compressor.  They offered to take my mother home, but mom insisted she wanted to go back into church to pray for her angels.

My dad goes in and out of doctors' care for his heart and now his kidneys.  Mom stands by him and writes everything in her journal so they can refer to it when they forget.  Two weeks ago dad was in the hospital for a couple of days while we were visiting family.  There were so many prayers offered from so many places.  Even the man who runs the Bed & Breakfast we were staying at offered prayers (and cinnamon buns for us to take to dad in the hospital!).

Prayers have brought a community together to support my mother and father.  A community bigger than my mother ever imagined existed.  Prayer has given them the strength, courage, and patience to meet the challenges of each day.  It's their response to prayer that has positively affected the rest of us -- children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, neighbors, friends, doctors, nurses, nurses assistants, and anyone who comes in contact with them.

My mother is 86 years old today.  She has given me (and now you) a very special gift -- don't be afraid to pray, and don't be afraid to ask for prayer.