Sunday, November 30, 2014


We human beings cannot live without hope.  Unlike other animals we are blessed - or cursed - with the ability to think about the future and to take action to shape that future.
As the days grow shorter and darkness grows,
we hope that the sun will not abandon us.
As we work with Francis to build a Church for all,
we hope that people and priests, bishops and pope
will work together.
As we wait in Advent for the Coming of Christ,
we hope that he will lead our world into new life.

Friday, November 28, 2014


"Mark 13 speaks to those who expect too much and to those who expect too little.  It is especially pertinent for those who have forgotten to expect anything at all."
Lamar Williamson, Jr.
quoted in Imaging the Word, Volume 3, United Church Press.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Love who loves us, thank You!

We've had about 8 inches of snow today.  Hard to choose among this morning's scenes.
In Terrence Malick's mystic movie, To the Wonder, the last words on the screen are "Love who loves us, thank You."  Not a better prayer for this holiday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christ in those Who Need Us

Jesus tells us that the mercy we show to those who need us is really shown to himself.  He is not speaking figuratively.  As we grow in our awareness that Jesus is really living in us and loving us, we can't help but grow in awareness that he is living in everyone else.  He says that his real presence in those in need is the motivation to show mercy to them.  This doesn't take effort.  The love of Jesus living in us flows out to the need of Jesus living in them.  All we do is surrender to that flow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Near the end of Matthew's Gospel Jesus lists the actions on which we will be judged.  He lifted them right out of the Baltimore Catechism's "Corporal Works of Mercy"!!  Show care for the hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, sick.  Jesus changed the catechism's "homeless" to "stranger" or "alien."  And he left out the "dead."
"Mercy" is the name of the whole list.  It's also the byword of Francis' papacy.  If we want to know where he is leading the Church, it is toward mercy.  It's also, Jesus says, the basis on which we will be judged.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Once More with Feeling

A wonderful article in America about the shared vision of Rabbi Heschel and Pope Francis quotes the Rabbi, "It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society.  It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats.  Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid.  When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Closer Look

More of yesterday's swans.  Looking back two years ago, I find that there were 53 swans on the lake around Thanksgiving that year.  Not such a rare event after all.  So much for my memory.  They did stay longer this time and I got much better pictures.
As such Beauty God initiates encounter.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wonder Full

When I got up this morning there were 72 swans huddled together on the lake in front of me.  A rare sight for us here.  I heard them in the middle of the night.  Maybe they were forced down by the snow. Any port in a storm.
I spent almost an hour watching them and taking pictures.  Their beauty was magnified by the white snow along the shore.  And there was still snow falling.  I was completely caught up in Wonder.  Just by luck I caught them taking off.  Of the 65 pictures I took this was not the clearest, but it's my favorite.
I am deeply grateful to God for letting me live in such a marvelous place.
(Please click on picture to enlarge it)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who Knows Where the Time Goes

These small buffleheads stop by here every fall and spring, often in flocks of a hundred or more.  After almost a hundred years this man-made lake has become a reliable rest stop for migrating birds.  It always gets me singing:
Across the morning sky all the birds are leaving
Ah, how can they know it's time for them to go.
But I will still be here; I have not thought of leaving
I do not count the time.
Who knows where the time goes?
(Clicking on the picture enlarges it)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

St. Martin of Tours-Veteran's Day

What a thought provoking combination- today's feast and today's "holiday."  Martin lived in the 4th century.  His father was a pagan army officer.  Martin was inducted into the army at age 15.  In his early 20's he came across a poorly dressed beggar in the freezing cold.  Martin cut his cloak in half and gave half to the beggar.  That night he had a vision of Christ clad in his half cloak.  He became a Christian and refused to fight.  He was discharged soon after.
What would happen if every soldier recognized God in "the enemy?"

Monday, November 10, 2014

Passing into Joy

In Jesus' parable of the talents the last thing that the master says to the two servants who used their talents well is "Enter into the joy of your master,"  This gives the parable an end time meaning.  Jesus wants us to use our talents to the full so that when death comes we may be ready to pass into Joy.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dorothy Day

Today is Dorothy Day's birthday.  I think she may be my favorite American of the 20th Century.  She said, "Why was so much done in remedying the evil instead of avoiding it in the first place....  Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just to minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery."

Friday, November 7, 2014

Veterans' Day Cactus?

A bright spot in an otherwise yucky day.  This cactus sits out in full sun all summer.  The day after I bring it in tiny buds begin.  I put it in a corner with lots of light.  The buds develop.  This is what it looks like this morning.  Beauty will save the world.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Way We Do Things

This is the Western Wall, all that remains of the temple in Jerusalem.
When Jesus drove  the moneychangers and animals out of the temple, he made a serious challenge to the way Passover was celebrated in the temple.    It was the way it was done.  As we are reflecting on the community of believers as the temple of God, perhaps we can see the recent synod as a challenge from Jesus about "the way we do things." in that temple.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Church for Others

A river flows from the temple and becomes progressively deeper and wider, bringing growth along its banks and life to the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 47.)  The temple itself doesn't grow.  If, as St. Paul says, the community of believers is the temple, we exist to bring life and growth to those beyond our walls.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

We are the Temple of God

When we celebrate the anniversary of a church, we are celebrating the community of believers who are the Church.  In his 1st Letter to the Corinthians St. Paul says, "The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple."   Our mission as the community of those who believe in Jesus is shine so brightly with God's presence that the whole world is attracted to God.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Snow Geraniums

Yesterday morning's light snow found the geraniums at my back door in full and abundant bloom on the first day of November.  This is the latest I've had outdoor plants blooming.  We had only two light frosts so far.  Heavy sleet Saturday night.  Life and beauty triumph.