Monday, January 26, 2009


Yesterday we planted our peace pole, it was a grand event, perhaps the highlight of our year! I read a poem on peace I wrote when I was thinking about how peace making can come in the ordinary moments of life. We can be peacemakers in our homes, in our community, in the world, by practicing peace as we go about the routines of life, cleaning house, eating meals, reading to our children. So I wrote this poem about one of the rituals I love, making coffee!

As the coffee maker grinds the beans, so may your word, O God grind
UP the resentment, and sin within me, so I might be free to pursue you!
as the coffee maker causes the water to boil
so may faith cause my heart to warm and open to the needs of the world.
As the coffee maker causes the water to drip over the beans
So may the Spirit pour upon me to revive my soul.
As the coffee maker causes the flavor of the beans to spill into the carafe
So may life call to my gifts and graces and guide me and guide me in contributing to the world.
Ah, the aroma, brings me accumulated memories of when I
Have shared a cup with friends and family.
Ah the taste brings me energy for the future
Ah, sharing brings me into communion with other like minded
Coffee drinkers who raise their mugs in thanks for a moment of joy.
SPM 3-31-09

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New President

What a wonderful ceremony! My initial impression is that we have been charged to help the change that needs to happen take place. The new President has called us to work together, to see our common purpose. Too often we are divided,and when we are we are our weakest. It is when we can learn to work together that we overcome the problems in our world. It is time to put our foolish and childish ways behind, and work for peace.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A new President takes office

I am expecting to stay home tomorrow to watch the new President get sworn in. I will get up early and see it live. I am amazed that I have that much passion for this event, but on the other hand I can't help to celebrate this historic event, one I will remember for a long time to come. On this Martin Luther King Jr holiday, I imagine that Pastor Martin is smiling up in heaven. As someone who has been taught about the struggle for blacks in this country to obtain the civil rights that were afforded to those who were white and in power, I celebrate this elections victory over those forces that have kept us separate, unequal. I celebrate our ability to vote for the candidate who captured our imagination, who has a vision for the future, who is our first black President. I know we still have work to do. The forces that divide us will not disappear. We need to continue to learn how to overcome hate and prejudice, fear and turmoil. But for today, I celebrate this new day, and pray for our country with a glad heart.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Peace Pole

Today I worked with our Trustees Chair Jeff on forming the area for our new peace pole. Jeff worked on forming the stairs as I dug out the semi-circle for the concrete which will be poured next week. What a great event this will be, to plant a peace pole right now in the midst of a time when so much war and conflict that ravages our world. I am more aware as we prepare for the planting on January 25th, of all the sad news of those who are losing their lives every day of this new year, both home and abroad. Perhaps since I live in Covina, a community trying to make sense of the killing of nine persons on Christmas Eve by a man grieving for a failed marriage, I am more sensitive to those tragedies that cause suffering. Perhaps it is because I have friends who have worked in Israel, and have been intimately involved with caring for those in that place, I am more sensitive to the violence going on there.
Whatever the cause, I yearn for a peace, peace in the homes of those who are my neighbors here and all across the world. I yearn for a time when we can settle our differences without violence and that my brothers and sisters all across the world can live in peace, with liberty and justice for all.
It is what I dream of as we prepare to plant the peace pole at our church, a new world, one that does not destroy one another, but learns to love one another. I know that this is not an easy dream to have, because the images of war break my heart, we still bicker and harm one another, the conflicts seem so impossible to solve. But God calls me to be a peace maker, to work for peace each and every moment each and every day. Planting a peace pole means to me that here and now I am recommitting to be a peacemaker in what ever way God calls me to.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year

It is now 2009 and I am settling in after spending time off watching the Rose Parade with my daughter. Ever since I grew up watching the Rose Parade in my native Massachusetts, I have loved this parade. Now that I live close enough to go to it each year,I have only missed once, last year due to a bad case of the flu. Not this year, I enjoyed every moment, and to share it with my younger daughter was great. Usually I have taken my older daughter because it was when my wife and I were looking at the floats post parade 22 years ago, she went into labor and on Jan.2 my daughter was born. For the first 10 years I would pack her and I up and my wife and younger daughter would stay home, we would trudge up to Pasadena, try to find a spot for a stroller and me to sit and watch and we would have a great time. The last 10 years we would go up the night before and spend the night at a church, watching the cars go by with shaving cream or marshmellows or silly string all on them, and then after welcoming the new year, we would catch a nap inside the Holiston UMC and then wake up early at 4 to start cooking breakfast for 400 plus people who would be coming at 6am. We would work until about 9am when the parade would make it to the church and then we would sit in curbside seats reserved for us workers, the paying customers were up in the grandstand behind us. Then after wards we would wait for traffic to die down and head off to home to sleep and watch the channel 5 repeat of the parade and get more information on the floats and bands and riders. This year the parade has been shortened, and it seems like the pace was much faster, it was over before I knew it. My older daughter had gone to another New Years event and did not come, my wife has been having difficulty walking due to a knee injury, so it was just my younger daughter,Susy and I. We went to the post parade float display and got to see up close the detail of each float. It is always so amazing to me how they do it. Yes the holidays are now over, but the beauty of the flowers, the artistic designs, the happiness I feel when spending time with my daughter and sharing with her the parade, these experiences will live with me for a long time to come. I thank God for being healthy this year, for the beautiful day for the parade and for the opportunity to see such a great event. I hope you will, if you have not already, go to the Rose Parade at least once, who knows maybe you will get hooked on the experience just like me!