God in the flesh

Just yesterday, this sweet thing happened to me.  I was picking up an Rx from Target and this mom and her 2 year old girl went past me.  The little girl shouted gleefully “Hi!”. With giggles.  Then she said to her Mom.  ” I like seeing her!” and kept on giggling. Made my day.

Two days ago, I was in a doctor’s waiting room. On one end sat a young mother and father with weeks old twins. Across from me sat two good old boys talking about fishing and exuding all the stereotypes that go with their good old boy image from an Appalachia back woods. Then they looked over at the parents and very lovingly encouraged them as parents while at the same time lauding the single mother that raised their children, calling them saints. It was such a mixture of messages but what came through the most clearly was an almost holy respect for the vocation of parenting. As they shared their wisdom on parenting with this young couple, I couldn’t help but become a little misty eyed. Our shared humanity is a sacred trust.

God’s Labor

Today is Labor Day and I am having a day of rest. Yesterday evening, my Mother-in-Law shared a DVD with us from a play she had seen in Lancaster. PA called Noah. Like all plays based on a Bible story, liberties with the text abounded. Which caused me to take out my Bilble and re-read the Noah story. (Did you know that Noah sent out a raven once and a dove three times? – I only remember the dove and thought it was only twice). So I decided it was time for me to re-read Genesis. I am enjoying the new translation called The Voice. It can be accessed for free through the Bible Gateway app. Here is an excerpt from Genesis 1:4-9, the second creation story within the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. I hope you enjoy it.

4 This is the detailed story of the Eternal God’s singular work in creating all that exists. On the day the heavens and earth were created, 5 there were no plants or vegetation to cover the earth. The fields were barren and empty, because the Eternal God had not sent the rains to nourish the soil or anyone to tend it. 6 In those days, a mist rose up from the ground to blanket the earth, and its vapors irrigated the land. 7 One day the Eternal God scooped dirt out of the ground, sculpted it into the shape we call human, breathed the breath that gives life into the nostrils of the human, and the human became a living soul.

(When human body meets divine spirit, soul is born. Divine breath and sculpted earth come together to make up the living soul. For thousands of years, philosophers and theologians have posed the question: what is a human being? Here God gives the answer.)

8 The Eternal God planted a garden in the east in Eden—a place of utter delight—and placed the man whom He had sculpted there. 9 In this garden, He made the ground pregnant with life—bursting forth with nourishing food and luxuriant beauty. He created trees, and in the center of this garden of delights stood the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

I received this from my sweet Mother-in-law. Clearly there is no replacement for the original 10 Commandments or their counterpart Yama-Niyama from the Hindu traditions. However, these “commandments” have much to offer.

 Layman’s 10 Commandments….
Someone has written these beautiful words. It’s a must read. Try to understand the deep meaning of it. They are like the ten commandments to follow in life all of the time!
 1] Prayer is not a “spare wheel”that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a “steering wheel”that directs the right path throughout the journey.
 2] So why is a Car’s WINDSHIELD so large & the Rear View Mirror so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, Look Ahead and Move on.
 3] Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes a few minutes to burn, but it takes years to write.
 4] All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don’t worry, they can’t last long either.
 5] Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don’t forget
the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!
 6] Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, “Relax, sweetheart, it’s just a bend, not the end!
 7] When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn’t solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.
  8] A blind person asked St. Anthony: “Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?” He replied: “Yes, losing your vision!” 

9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.
 10] WORRYING does not take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES, it takes away today’s peace.

Amen to that!



I have just come in from weeding our driveway. Yes, you read that right. Our home is built into the side of a small mountain. We have a gravel driveway which works very well when it rains – water is absorbed and does not flood our home. However, weeds grow with wild abandon. Why? Why? Why?
In our carefully tended garden there are places where nothing grows. We fertilize, mulch, mix in compost. Nothing. Why?
I do not know. There is the old adage that what we pay attention to, grows. Not so much when it comes to the weeds in my driveway. As always, I am trying to find the message in these weeds. Here’s what I have come up with.

1) we live in a fallen world
2) we are not in control
3) home ownership in the woods has it’s pitfalls
4) I’m getting old.

OK- obviously I’ve got nothing. Perhaps some things just have to be borne in life with a sense of humor. When we are old and rickety, we just might want to let the weeds grow. Winter is always around the corner and nature will have it’s own revenge on those ridiculous weeds.

The Tongue

I have the good fortune to have daily phone contact with my mother. We can talk for hours and not remember much about it. The point isn’t the content but the pleasure of one another’s company. Mom is 87 years young or as my grandson said, “that’s my Greatgrandma! She’s really, really old but she’s still alive!”
One of the things we share is a love of books. Once in awhile we will be so impressed with a book that we just have to send it across the 700 miles that separate us. The latest one was The Healing by Johnathan ODell. In both of our assessments it is one of the best books we have ever read, out of literally thousands. I share this one quote to peak your interest:

“A flapping tongue puts out the light of wisdom”

The Healing by Johnathan ODell

When prayer became my primary vocation, in all honesty, I saw it a my default operating system. No longer able to withstand full time employment or even to responsibly and consistently volunteer, I began to see prayer as the way I could justify my existence. Was I in for a surprise! God has provided for my every need, including a husband who cherishes me and a retreat-like home condusive to prayer, meditation and healing. Then God brought into my life teachers and friends to support my new life as a Christian mystic and contemplative. I have come to see prayer as not only aligning myself with the Kingdom of God but as an essential foundation for God at work in time and place. My heart has become filled with joy, cradled with peace and empowered in Christ-conciousness. All I can say is “Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you!”

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.

-Mohandas Gandhi

I just received this from Sojourners. This ancient view of Christians is a far cry from how we are seen today.

Christians live in their own countries, but only as guests and aliens. They take part in everything as citizens and endure everything as aliens. … They are as poor as beggars, and yet they make many rich. They lack everything, and yet they have everything in abundance. They are dishonored, and yet have their glory in this very dishonor. … They are abused, yet they bless. … In a word: what the soul is in the body, the Christians are in the world.

-Letter to Diognetus, an early Christian writing whose author is unknown

I, like millions of others, have a chronic condition that causes me days of extreme pain and zero visible accomplishment. My daughter has the same. When we are together and in pain the presence we are to each other is a unique and holy kind of love. It is truly very hard to be with someone in their pain. It is almost reflexive to run away physically if not emotionally. When we ourselves are in excruciating pain, we too want to run from ourselves. The current psycho-babble admonition to be fully present is at best annoying and at worst cruel. But when two people in pain are together, there is a bond that needs no words. That is where I am today. I am not practicing being present. I am gratefully remembering I am in the Presence of Holiness.

May God bless us with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

– Four-fold Franciscan Blessing

Our pastor is on sabbatical this summer and he has granted me the privilege of preaching 6 of those Sundays. Two weeks ago, when I did the children’s story, the one and only child (whose name happens to mean Christ-bearer), wanted nothing to do with me.  Afterwards I asked him what he would like to talk about and he said “the weather”.  It just so happened that the Old Testament Lesson on the next Sunday would be I Kings 19:1-15.  In it, the great Prophet Elijah ran for his life into a cave where he waited for God to speak. I rewrote this story as a dramatic reading and downloaded sounds on to my iPad for the rain, earthquake and fire.  Then for sheer silence, I downloaded the Eternal Om. The three adults, the children and I practiced our parts before the service. They took turns playing each sound effect at the appropriate time.  When the Eternal Om came on, my new friend looked at me in wonder and said, “That sounds very familiar”.
For thousands of years, the traditions of the East have taught that Om is the sound of the vibration of the created universe. Those who have attuned their ears through the discipline of years of meditation often hear this very sound in the sheer silence of God’s presence. And Jesus said, the little child would lead us. And as they say, you can’t make this stuff up!


Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.

-Corrie Ten Boom