February 26

            We are living in a time of what used to be considered unimaginable horror, but which has now become so normalized that we’re now numbed to it all. We feel that whatever is happening is so far beyond our ability to do anything about that we either do nothing or do something safe such as offering thoughts and prayers. There is nothing wrong at all about offering thoughts and prayers; they are a way of letting people know that we are with them. But there comes a point when thoughts and prayers are simply not enough. Actions must, at some point, accompany the prayers.
            James 2:17 says, “Thus also, faith without works is dead.” Many biblical scholars have taken this to mean that works consistent with the ideals of the Christian faith should naturally follow if we have true faith; if not, then our faith is empty and meaningless, and we are lying to God and ourselves. It is just as important to note, however, that good works by themselves do not guarantee us salvation. The two – faith and works – must necessarily be joined together.
            I do not claim to have all the answers to what ails our society, but I do know that it is not enough just to offer thoughts and prayers, and nothing else. At some point, we will have to act on our faith and let our good works flow through the world. If we are going to claim that we are Christians, then it is high time that we started believing and acting the way Jesus taught us.


February 18

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Does this include winter? The season of winter has a bad reputation. Most people I ask would say winter is their least favorite season. Not too many of us embrace winter: too dark, too cold, too long. Ice, snow, blustery winds. But we don’t want to miss the gifts of winter: the quietness of snow falling, the icy trees that glisten in the bright sun and look like Christmas decorations, the crisp clean air, the clear blue sky, and the clear night sky that reveals stars not seen in other seasons. 

A former TUMC pastor said “winter offers us a time to reflect, remember and give thanks. There is a grace in the quietness and solitude of winter which is unlike any other season.” I find it interesting that Lent, a time of reflection, begins in winter. Many folks try to escape winter, but I think God gave us winter to teach us the lessons of slowing down, refreshing, reflecting and resting. 

The Lord says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” Isaiah 55:10-11

“May your winter places be kissed by light.” - John O’Donohue


February 8

Ice and freezing rain are not usually amusing. They are dangerous, inconvenient, and miserable. But, I had to laugh at my dog and his reaction to the ice this past week. He was so obviously disgusted by the whole thing! He refused to go down our porch steps, refused to go into the street, and gingerly stalked around the crystalline grass. I'm grateful that he is small and easily carried. I'm grateful for the giggles in an otherwise grim weather event.

Thank you, Lord, for my funny little dog. Thank you that we didn't take a tumble down those steps. Thank you for the warmth of our house when we returned after our adventurous walk. Amen.