Thursday, August 30, 2007

Grace Happens

Everyday I see in life ways that God's presence is evident. I remember when I was younger "looking for God in all the wrong places" - or in other words, trying to figure out where God was and working hard to ensure I was doing the "right" things to let others know God was surely in MY life! Thankfully I have grown enough in my faith to understand that God is never missing - that it isn't my action that determines anything, but that God is ever present in our lives and in our world drawing all of us to reconcilliation. God is always drawing us toward the good for ourselves and all creation - and if we just clear our eyes we begin to see it. I saw it this morning in a two hour conversation with a woman who is hurting. God is in the midst working within and around her for reconcilliation in marriage and relationship. I saw it this afternoon in conversation with a new assisting minister and in his life and journey of recovery. Life is full of God - if we just let go of our need to put God in our boxes and allow ourselves to be open to his presence. It's a relief too, because we can let go of our perfectionistic need to 'do the right thing' or 'be the right way'. We can let go of our judgment of others because we understand that God loves everyone - we have no higher status because we're "Christian". God desires reconcilliation with all creation - God works in the lives of all people, everywhere, at all time. How? Can't really tell you - I just know it's true! God's way are beyond our ways. Whatever God chooses to accomplish will happen - I trust that and I see the reality of God's love most clearly in relationship. Even when relationships are fragile and fragmented, God is always drawing us toward possibility. When we read scripture we see evidence that God never gives up on creation - and sometimes I wonder why. We've certainly made a mess of things! But it is God's nature to love, to forgive, to extend mercy.... even when, NO ESPECIALLY when, we least deserve it. Grace is amazing. It is extended to us and it is a gift.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I have a few minutes in my day to write and I wanted to update this blog. I wish that I had time every day, but most days go by in a flurry of activity and there are so few moments to sit down and gather my thoughts. Today is different. It's Wednesday and the September newsletter is out (all my articles written), the bulletin is done for Sunday, the prayers are written, I have a good grasp of Sunday's lectionary text for my sermon, my house is cleaned and I am actually feeling a little bit settled and good about all that I have done. In the back of my mind I keep thinking, "what am I forgetting?" In pastoral ministry nothing is ever "done" because there is always the next thing.... bulletin, sermon, pastoral care visit, death, birth, wedding, funeral, meeting, meeting, meeting...... And yet, I love it. Even when I feel irritated at the many interruptions, I realize I love what I am doing right now at this time of my life. I also realize I am fortunate to be able to enjoy this. I am doing interim ministry and I am in the "honeymoon" period of grace in the church. People like me and I'm able to be pretty direct because that's my job as interim. My preaching has been going well and I've been preaching without notes for the first time as parish pastor. So far I haven't blanked on a sermon yet!! I used to type out the manuscript, and now for the last few Sunday's have not even typed it out. Part of my desire is to do the study, do the reading and thinking and praying on the Scirpture, and then to trust what I know and the Holy Spirit to guide me. I will make mistakes. Both Sunday services end up with different sermons because I don't follow a manuscript, though they are similiar in content. But part of the reason things are going so well for me at this time of my life is that I have the love and support of a generous and caring husband. A man who loves me, supports me and values me as a person. He is the model of unconditional love in my life - because he accepts me fully as I am. I think it's a challenge to live with such a busy person, with the kind of stress associated with my job, and with my personality of high expectations and perfection. He spends a lot of the time during the week alone and we have dinner together maybe two nights a week. Often I am not home before 9:30 p.m., and then because I am "peopled" out all day long I just want to veg in front of the computer for a scrabble game where I don't have to interact with anyone in person. He loves me and allows me to be me. He isn't demanding and he is always forgiving and accepting. Sometimes I wonder what planet he came from!! But, it is indeed a blessing because he gives me what I need to continue to effectively minister to a busy congregation. He gives me what I need to feel I am a good life partner. He gives me what I need to know that life is too short to be in relationship that isn't lifegiving. Today I am grateful for all the blessings of my life and the goodness of God.