Monday, February 27, 2012

Pioneers and Imagination

I am watching the program "All Creatures Great and Small" on my Kindle Fire. This program has been a favorite of mine for years, and it is fun to watch them again. James Herriot reports on the doctors of his times who have frustrations. These very caring professionals and they wished they could prevent the illnesses they saw impacting the lives of the people they served. As science improved the veterinarians were able to offer new therapy's, and interventions that improved the lives of the farmers and the animals they raised. I see a similar frustration with those of us who have special needs children, we are trying to find ways that work for our children, therapy,surgical intervention, prescriptions , etc. We are all pioneers, learning and trying and failing and sometimes succeeding, so that those who follow us will benefit from our knowledge. The key I think is to keep using our greatest gift, our creative selves. I believe we need to use our imaginations to create new strategy's that will perhaps succeed, perhaps fail, but will lead to breakthroughs. That is why support groups, both on line and in person, are helpful. For my family, members of the 18th Chromosome Society are chromosome imagineers, working to bring into the world of our beloved ones hope and joy, ways for them to live as happily as possible. This is not easy work, it is not always appreciated, but I firmly believe it will make a difference, so as Dory says" Just keep swimming, swimming". Love to all,Steve

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Take Time to Be Holy

I love some of the hymns that I grew up singing, like Take Time to Be Holy, vs two is " Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like him thou shalt be, thy friends in thy conduct his likeness shall see" ( UMH 395). As I begin the Lenten journey, taking the time to be holy means taking time to repent, to reflect and to serve.
I need to repent of those habits and attitudes that keep me from being like Jesus in thought and deed. I am not proud of those times I have acted out of selfishness, or fear, I am not happy when I do the exact opposite of what I set out to do, now is the time to be honest with myself so I can be honest in my confession.
Reflect, or connect with God is important because the world rushes on. I am often caught up in the business of the work of the church, I forget about the connection I have with God. Our church is following the Cup of our Life book by Joyce Rupp and she says, " Some days I go zooming along checking off all the 'stuff' I have on my 'to do list' and I totally forget that I am the home of God".(p.28, The Cup of our Life, Ave Maria Press, 1997) Lastly, serve, to put into practice what I discern from my prayers. Often it is the hardest step, but Jesus left the desert and served the needs of his community, so shall I with God's help.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The beginning of Lent

Fasting has been a part of the preparation of Lent ever since the early church days. The scripture reminds us that "Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished." (Matthew 4:1-2) Later Jesus gives instructions on how to fast, "And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites... but when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret..." Matthew 6:16ff.
In college, we always observed a fast day on Ash Wednesday, and would donate what we would spend on food to missions,at the Ash Wednesday service we would share a meal and break the fast together. I remember how I looked forward to that meal after going all day without anything but water to drink or eat. I was reminded of how so many do not have enough to eat, and so by giving up my meals, I could offer them a small solution to their eating.
As we turn to the season of lent, I invite you to fast, perhaps going one day a week for the 40 days of lent without food, to deepen your spiritual connection to Jesus. You may not be able to go without food for that long, but perhaps you could fast from meat or some other food that would give you a sense that you were sacrificing.
We will be focusing on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, how we should act, what we should do, to remain faithful. Perhaps fasting is one way you can add to your life that will bring new understanding of the call of God.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again!

I have just returned from vacation time, and now am preparing for Lent. As I return to the work of the Walnut United Methodist Church, I am aware of how important the folks who work so hard to run the church, make sure the business is being taken care of, who sing every week in the choir etc. etc.! I serve as Pastor, with those who have dedicated their time and energy mostly on a volunteer basis to serve God. I am reminded of hiking with my fellow Boy Scouts back a few years ago. We were backpacking, and each of us took turns taking the lead. When it came my time, I set the pace I was comfortable with, but soon there came a shout from in back of me, the rest of the group was falling further and further behind. I had set a brisk pace but forgot to check to make sure everyone was still with me. So, our Troop leader talked to me about making sure when I lead a hike the rest of the people are following.
Today I am appreciative of those who lead and those who follow, and especially those who teach others how to lead effectively. I am also appreciative for God's leadership, who goes with me wherever the trail might lead.