Monday, January 29, 2007

prayers for pansy

if you read my post about the holidays then you might remember me mentioning that we visited my grandmother after her 100th birthday right after christmas.

at the time she had a really nasty sore on the outside of her one eye; my mother told me today that they have found a tumor underneath and it will need attention. attention means that her doctors will have to decide if surgery or radiation is doable. without treatment she will most likely wind up with cellulitis in her face. her name is pansy.

my mom sounded concerned and unconcerned at the same time. she has a way of doing that.

the conversation began with her giving me an update on my uncle. hubby refers to him as "the uncle so nice i'm related to him twice." he is my dad's cousin and married to my mom's sister. we found out a few weeks ago that he has cancer; the doctors he has seen sound positive, but he could use prayers too. he is my aunt's 3rd husband. the first marriage ended in divorce, the second when he died suddenly in a car accident a week before another aunt died of cancer.

so prayers, happy thoughts, candles, chants, spells... whatever it is you do to connect to God would be appreciated.

God's peace y'all

Sunday, January 28, 2007


getting back into the habit of blogging also means posting my sermons as well. (it also helps when you are able to write them on the computer instead of by hand like i was when the 'puter died.)

so i will share this one here based upon luke 4:14-30.

In the name of Jesus; amen.

This past Monday I sat in the Parish House of Bethesda Lutheran Church in New Haven, CT with about 15 people, mostly clergy for an informal conversation with Bishop Younan of the ELCJHL (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land.) Bishop Younan was speaking at Yale later on that night about the situation in Palestine Israel and had agreed to meet with some area clergy for an informal discussion.

After giving us a brief introduction of his work people were invited to ask questions; I had one:

“If we could only take one thing you said back to our congregations this coming Sunday what would you want us to tell them?”

He shared a statistic with us and asked us to bring it to you. 10 years ago the population of the Holy Land comprised of 15% Christians, the number today has dropped to 2%.

The statistic was startling. The reason for the drop is mostly due to immigration of Palestinian Christians to the United States, Canada, and Australia. They leave to provide better lives for their families, many of whom are separated because of the ongoing conflict and strict restrictions placed upon Palestinians in general.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ are fleeing their hometowns.

I want to share something else Bishop Younan said: If asked, he told us, which was needed first in the Middle East democracy or justice he would say justice because extremists are too smart; they know how to get the votes. And he wasn’t just speaking of Muslim extremists, but Jewish extremists, and Christian extremists as well.

In today’s Gospel Jesus, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, returns to Nazareth, his hometown and goes to the Synagogue as was his custom. There he reads the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

He sits down, all the attention of the room on him and says, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Moments later the people try to kill him because they become enraged by his message.

I am always a bit scared to preach on this text. Most preachers want to challenge their listeners with their sermons, but I’ve yet to meet one who wants to enrage them to the point of violence. And so this text challenges me, especially this week as I continue to contemplate Bishop Younan’s words.

It might be easy to say that in light of the statistic he shared and the gospel today that Jesus is no longer welcome in his hometown. But I don’t think that’s it at all. And at the risk of sounding political I might say something else entirely.

As Americans we tend to think that Jesus is our hometown hero. With the presidential race for 2008 already begun we are going to hear the words, “God bless America” an awful lot. We pray fervently (as well we should) for our troops fighting in Iraq. And the Left Behind series of books which lifts up our country as a new Jerusalem, is now so well franchised that they have made a video game about it.

Jesus belongs to us. Afterall, we are American and American are entitled to so many things so why not Jesus and all of his promises?

I shared with you the statistic Bishop Younan gave us because he asked us to, but I shared his statement about democracy and justice with you because it disturbed me when he said it. Aren’t justice and democracy interchangeable I thought? It was a knee jerk reaction to what he said about an American notion and I am American.

How can we have justice without democracy first?

What Jesus teaches that day in the synagogue is justice, God’s justice. And God’s justice is maddening because it is never just about me or about us.

God’s justice is universal and communal and so far away from our notions of individuality or personal ownership. Nazareth could stake no claim on Jesus and neither can we.

Instead God’s justice is about our belonging to God. Even in our personal relationships to Jesus it’s that we are his, not that he is ours.

And at the risk of sounding universalistic the fact of the matter is that we all belong to God: Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, Atheists, and Christians; Palestinians, Iraqi, Israeli, African, Swedish, and American. We are God’s.

And God’s justice is meant for all of us.

And I hope that infuriates you; not because it offended anyone, but because God’s justice is kept from too many, left unrealized, and not enacted in the lives of others.

I hope it infuriates you; not so you’ll drive me off some cliff, but so that you might be driven to love and actions of love.

It was love that claimed us, gathered us in, and gave us value. And it is love that calls us out into a world of “me, me, me!” to proclaim a message of God’s justice first for all people.

Jesus is indeed a fulfillment of scripture; God’s greatest loving act, we should live it in such a way that the world changes because of it.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

the funnest state of the union ever!

that's what hubby called it last night when i recommended we make watching it a drinking game.

we picked 4 words and agreed that every time he mentioned one of them or a derivative of that word we would have to drink. the words were:

terror, immigration, borders, and success.

hubby went bounding down the stairs to bring up the rest of the wine for me and a beer for him exclaiming that this would be the funnest state of the union ever! why hadn't we been doing this all along!

we didn't have much success with the word success; we only counted it once. but, i did finish off the bottle of wine which only filled about 3/4 of my glass anyway. i did take small sips especially every time he said terror or any other form of the word and i think i only missed drinking 2 times once my glass was empty.

i didn't watch the democratic response, choosing instead to play chuzzle on the computer (i think i dreamed of it last night...chuzzle, not the state of the union or any response to it.)

the highlight of the night for me was hearing the words, "Madame Speaker." whatever you might feel about her or the dems it was an historic moment and i got to see it.

speaking of the dems... this link was on the page next to my email this morning. i got a kick out of it though i probably won't invest the $10 to purchase one.

God's peace y'all

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


i didn't mean to, but it seems i took a long hiatus from blogging. this included writing blogs and reading them. perhaps it was the holidays, maybe it had something to do with work, or it could have been that the 'puter died and is now in 'puter heaven.

so there is a new 'puter in my life... this one a desk top to replace the laptop that wouldn't consistently work. hubby got it for a real bargain from a contact at church. of course we've had it for awhile and though i have often had the thought: "i should blog about that" sitting down and actually writing out events or ideas hasn't been easy. must have something to do with getting back into the rythmn.

so where do i go next with these musings? i could just move on from this point, but then i will have missed the opportunity to tell those stories i've neglected. so perhaps a bit of both and perhaps i will begin now.

the holidays were wonderful...

it was the first christmas in two years we put up a tree as a family. after getting the kids to bed i walked into the living/dinning room where hubby was gazing at the lights. he put his arm out for me to cuddle up next to him. every year his father would look at their tree and exclaim, "it's the nicest tree we've ever had." hubby has taken on this tradition and as i snuggled up under his arm he said it. i burst into tears and responded, "i'm so happy!"

we had a fantastic christmas with family and friends. the week before xmas we celebrated with hubby's family at aunt tweety and uncle jefro's (the harley riding hero). the silent prince sat between uncle jefro and me at dinner and gave his uncle an extra present when we went to say grace before the meal. he heard the words we use and immediatly reached for his uncle's hand and mine because we hold hands to pray.

awe! i don't know what was more precious; the fact that the prince did this or the look on uncle jefro's face when it happened.

the pobble arrived a few days before xmas and stayed until after new year's. we called her the house guest that wouldn't leave. much to our delight, she just wouldn't leave... until she finally did.

we hosted xmas dinner. gmom supplied the fillet we were going to grill. when the grill wouldn't light i decided we could eat cheerios for dinner, nothing was going to spoil my day. eventually we got it lit and despite the fact that we ate later than i intended the food was fantastic. afterwards we watched the eagles beat the cowboys to our delight and the pobble's chagrin. poor thing, poor mislead dallas fan.

during the week we travelled to PA to visit my grandmother who had turned 100 on the 22nd of december. the pobble volunteered to watch the dog and keep the house from burning down while we were gone. she had trouble remembering who we all were (my grandmom, not the pobble) but we had a wonderful visit, swam in the heated pool at the hotel, and attended an impromptu family reunion where i met relatives i didn't even know i had.

my granparents were married 71 years before my grandfather died. they had 6 daughters (the first pregnancy was a still born son), 16 grandchildren (my brother being the youngest), 31 greatgrandchildren (the silent prince being the youngest), and now my grandmother has 5 great-greatgrandchildren. i have no issue with her not being able to remember us all.

new year's eve was celebrated with a bottle of champagne we've had in our fridge for the last two years, watching the ball drop on tv, and playing a game called blokus with hubby and the pobble. might not sound all that thrilling, but it was just right.

now it's time to catch up on some blog reading and to work ont he mental list of what to write next time.

God's peace y'all

"and vivian followed."

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