Friday, April 08, 2011

Friday Five: Resurrection Preview

RevGal Dorcas extends the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five invitation today by asking us to anticipate resurrection:  "List five ways that your life is moving toward light, joy, hope -- new things:  new ideas, new people, new hobbies ... and so on."  Thanks, Dorcas, for a glimpse of resurrection as Lent becomes ever more arduous.

I once was a towel and now look at me!
1.  New Food: Curry -- I'm looking forward to experimenting with curry recipes.  I think I was sort of promised some delicious recipes by a few RevGals on Twitter the other day, that may be wishful thinking talking.  Something called "red curry" sounded fascinating.  If I get lucky, some curry recipes or links will be left in the comments.

2.  New Idea:  Blog -- I am still working up a new blog inspired by B.E.4.0.  Lent has demanded pretty much all of my creative time and energy.  I'm hoping the season of Resurrection gives me some time to pursue that further.

3. New People: Hispanic friends -- Our Penn Northeast Conference UCC has several things going relating to the Hispanic community that is growing in and around Allentown.  It's a whole new set of people to enjoy!

4. New Activity: Writing Online -- I haven't written "the book" yet, but I am writing regularly at  It's been more regurgitation therapy than anything else so far.  I'm a total sucker for the rewards and stickers and such that you get by doing the work.  

5. New Ministries: Lots! -- We have a ton -- I mean a ton -- of kids and youth in, and orbiting around, our church.  I am looking diligently for the needed lay leadership emerging that could give us a real youth group.  We have building challenges that could lead us to rethink the way we do Sunday School, or perhaps a new building program may be in the works.  And some of the complaints that have been swirling may be answered with technology rather than trying to patch old wineskins like the church newsletter.  

Sunday, April 03, 2011

To See What the Good Shepherd Sees

My very favorite version of Psalm 23 by Bobby McFerrin.
I probably posted this before.  Well, here it is again!

John 9:1-41; Psalm 23

Life is difficult. And sometimes it’s even worse than that. Sometimes life is broken.

At this very moment, in this very place, a significant number in our congregation are grieving. If you have lost a loved one in the past two years, it would be totally normal for you to be still grieving pretty intensely, to have some tender places and some sad moments. If you are not one of those, you could reach out from where you are sitting right now and touch someone who is broken from the loss of a loved one.

If not that kind of broken, sitting among us today are other kinds of broken: Health is broken; finances are broken; relationships are broken;

I’m not speaking generally about what could happen among us. This is what is happening right now among us, to you and to me, to us.

One day, as Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. Broken eyes. Broken life. Never had seen the color of his mother’s eyes. Never had seen a sunset or a lightning storm. He couldn’t even see who was walking by him. Really broken man with blindness.

What do you see when you see broken? The disciples looked at the blind man and saw someone to talk about, someone to solve. They saw broken and wanted to find out who was to blame.

"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

In their question “Who sinned to make this happen?” is the unspoken put-down: “This blind man must’ve done something awful to have deserved this. Or was it his parents? Poor thing, bless his heart.”

They call them disciples because they have a lot to learn from Jesus. Don’t we all?

We see broken and we sometimes try to figure it out -- who is at fault -- who sinned -- who made this happen?

Or, we see broken and try to solve for the unknown, like broken life is an algebra equation.

Or, we see broken and secretly -- or not so secretly -- thank God that, even though I am broken in some way, even though we are broken in many ways -- there is always someone worse off, poor things.

When Jesus sees broken,

Jesus doesn’t assess the situation for fault or solutions;

Jesus is not the one who makes this situation into a Sunday School lesson or a sermon;

Jesus doesn’t look down on the person.

What Jesus did was to actually touch the man who was blind. Jesus used his very own warm spit, got his hands really dirty with actual dirt, and made mud to put on the man’s eyes.

Jesus wants the blind to see, whether it’s a man who was blind from birth -- or disciples who now are able to see that, in God’s eyes, broken is another word for someone who can be touched with good news.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Friday Five: Very Very Good

A snowy cemetery in December in PA

The Friday Five at RevGalBlogPals today is perfect for Lent-in-Full-Swing.  Thanks, Kathryn, for asking us to do something do-able for busy RevGals: a "quick pick" of five things that are good in our lives right now and -- the bonus -- one thing we could do without.

The five good things:
  • Health and strength.
  • Just the right amount of very good social life.
  • An uncharacteristically peaceful spirit
  • The awareness of co-workers in the struggle for justice and peace.
  • I am looking forward to vacation the week after Easter!
And I could do without another funeral during Lent.  Monday will be number four of the season.

A blessed Lent, everyone!