Thursday, December 2, 2010

Funeral for a 3-Year Old

I did a funeral for a three year old today. For some reason I have always felt comforted when I see older people in their coffins because they don’t look real. I mean they look dead and its easy for me to grasp that their spirits are no longer in those old bodies; their spirits have moved on.


The three year old looked like he was sleeping. I could count his eyelashes. The color in his cheeks looked normal. He was beautiful.

I wanted to pull the covers up a bit and tuck him in a bit.

His family couldn’t stop tussling his hair, touching his cheek. And still he didn’t wake up. They cried and wailed and touched him and called his name, but he didn’t wake up.

And they carried him out in his little white coffin- only two men had to carry him. And balloons were tied to the coffin as if they might just carry him right up to heaven.

And we went to the Baby section of the cemetery where all the little graves had dolls and toy trucks and cars and stuffed animals left behind. And we looked at the little open grave.

I read the words and said the prayers. We let go of the balloons we had to send them to heaven so that he and the other kids could play with them.

It was the only time I could make out what his mother was saying between her sobs. Good bye. Good bye.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Five 8/13/2010

SingingOwl writes on the RevGalBlogPal site:
Here in the snow belt state of Wisconsin we long for the first signs of spring--perhaps a crocus poking up through the snow, or a pussy willow bud popping out even beneath ice. The first appearance of robins, that most cheery little hopper of birds, causes widespread rejoicing. Spring is followed by summer, a time for home-grown tomatoes, watermelon, corn on the cob, all sorts of "fests," back yard "fry outs" (what they call a barbecue here, for some reason) and trips near and far.

I love summer, and wait anxiously for it every year. So how is it that we have arrived at the hot and humid "Dog Days" of August, and I have not done nearly enough of what I planned to do? I want to pack in as much as I can before snow flies once again.

How about you? And what is happening for those of you who are in a different hemisphere than I, and it may be cold?

1. What is the weather like where you live?

South of you SingingOwl. Central Illinois has been "celebrating" the dog days of summer all summer long.

It has been HOT. Normally our A/C is not on this much. But the breaks in the heat have been few.

Did get some relief from the heat when visiting your state in June this year.

Door County Wisc Our Favorite Vacation Spot

2. Share one thing you love about this time of year.

The sunshine! The days are pretty even when it is ugly hot.

3. Share one thing you do NOT love about this time of year.

H&H Heat and Humidity. The fact that even sometimes when you walk out of the house at 5 AM the H&H sucks your breath right out of your lungs...


4. How will you spend the remaining days leading up to Autumn?

Preaching, teaching and preparing for Advent!

And anticipating surgery for my father- so that is rather unsettled.

5. Share a good summer memory.

Spending my days at the public swimming pool

and having chocolate ice cream for lunch when my parents were at work...

Bonus: What food says SUMMER to you?

Corn on the Cob and Fresh Tomatoes. The first time you have hamburgers on the grill with fresh, sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob is a preview of heaven! Yum!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Awesome Worship! We need each other to survive!

   Awesome worship today! Both services were into it. Could anyone help but feel the Holy Spirit moving?!?

   Who is you neighbor??
   We are ALL a part of God's body- we need each other to survive. And Hezekiah Walker can't say it any better...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My message for July 4th 2010. Visitors in an Alien Land

Happy 4th!
Today we celebrate the 234th birthday of a nation. A nation founded on ideas and principles never before conceived of. A nation who’s Declaration of Independence begins with these words:
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We are a nation that many have felt was blessed by God from the very beginning. A nation that many feel was ordained by God to share the social values and principles of the biblical writers of the New Testament. We are a nation that has indeed been blessed by God with the freedom to worship or not as we choose. We are a nation that has allowed us choices most other nations can only dream about. Those choices, those decisions are ours to make or not as we see fit.  And when we make choices pleasing to God, our nation flourishes. And when we do not… Just as in our personal lives we feel the result of poor decision making, so in our country, we feel that same result.
I find myself conflicted on days like today, because while I love my country, as much I pray, as anyone else, I love my God more. While I would love to be able to say, “My country- right or wrong” I realize that I can truly only say, my God is right and only through God can we do no wrong.
The truth is, while we are living here on earth, even while we are living here in the United States of America, we are not citizens of this land. We are not citizens of this place. We are visitors. Our papers and documents are all in order of course. Our birth certificates and passports all say we are American Citizens- at least those of us here today can boast that. But really, we are just visitors- visitors in an alien land. Indeed, we are longing for a better country- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called our God, for God has prepared a city for us. (Hebrews 11:16)
The times in which we live are never easy times. A thousand years ago, times were not easy. 500 years ago, times were not easy. As the years go by, and we have more insight to what is happening elsewhere in the world, our world becomes smaller and our influence in the world increases. At times our sense of hopelessness increases as well. We worry about the things that are happening halfway around the world, or hundreds of miles from our hometowns. Wars and rumors of war throughout the world keep us awake as we watch the scenes on television and know that our neighbors, our children, our friends are in harm’s way. The ecology of our land- actually of the world hangs in the balance as we watch the horror of an oil spill in the Gulf Coast.
There are those of us who anger over other immigrants trying to find their way to a better place, the place we live.  We worry about the jobs they may take from our citizens and the different culture they bring with them. Sometimes we forget that most of the jobs lost here in the US have been outsourced to other countries due to business bottom lines, not due to strangers trying to find their way in an alien land, like Abraham- looking for the land of Milk and Honey.
The Conference suggested that we pray for our country the first Thursday of this month as it was so close to our nation’s birth date. I did so, and I hope you have been praying too. I pray that while we are visiting here in this alien land, that our freedoms remain intact. I pray that our thoughts are not like those who tested Jesus, those who denied ever being slaves. Jesus told them that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. While we live in the country most celebrated for its freedom, it is the sins that we commit that keep freedom from us and from those around us.
I am conflicted when I receive many, many forwarded emails each day that share someone else’s thoughts on our country, or thoughts on our God. I barely skim over them anymore as I am weary of people believing that forwarding the thoughts of others makes them a patriot or makes them a better Christian. There is almost a threat included with each of those- If you believe- you will send this on- if you love God, you will send this on- if you love  your country- you will send this on… If you love God and you are a believer and trust in salvation through Christ Jesus, send this to all those you love. Those emails enslave the receiver and the forwarder. Those emails take away my freedom and the freedom of those who forward them. My freedom comes from being able to share my heart with another person. My freedom comes from Jesus Christ and if I am truly free- if I truly believe -I will share His story in my life with others, not because someone else tried to guilt me into doing it, as it takes no thought to pass along someone else’s thoughts…and there is no reward or prize in the number of patriotic or religious emails forwarded.
 When we keep our eyes on the kingdom that is yet to come, when we keep our eyes on Jesus and realize that it is His truth that sets us free, we realize that this nation where we live now is truly an alien land. We are to be good visitors in this land. Some say when you visit somewhere you should take only memories and leave only footprints. The footprints we leave should lead to the home we long for. The foot prints we leave should lead to heaven’s gate.
The footprints we leave should lead others to this table. To lead others to communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I invite you to come to this table this morning with a quote from the Statue of Liberty.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Our golden door is the gateway to heaven- and our lamp is the light of Christ. All are welcome here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

First Thursday Prayer and Fasting

Today my message was about prayer and fasting- mainly concerning our Annual Conference request the we take the first Thursday of each month as a day of fasting and prayer for a "fresh wind of the  Holy Spirit to move upon us."

I bored myself. I pray the Holy Spirit got the message through to those listening. It didn't seem to be happening from my end through me...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Five 6/25/2010

RevGalBlogPals is a favorite place for me to lurk and to read. This week I'm going to attempt to play the Friday Five.

From Songbird:
It's possible I may have a bad attitude about the arrival of summer. On the eve of the Solstice I left for a mission trip to a town in Maine bordering Quebec. Beset by a swarm of bloodthirsty black flies, and a "classic allergic reaction" according to the PA at the Urgent Care, I had to return the next morning to a week of Benadryl and ice packs. (If only I had known about Bug Band *before*...)

But I don't want that to ruin summer for the rest of you. So I invite you to share five things you love--or don't--about summer. The tone is up to you!

I could easily share the five things I liked about summer when I was a kid- but that would be cheating. So here are my five things:

1. I love the long summer days.

2. I love lightining bugs (especially when I found out they are not found all over the country.)

3. I love Sweet Corn! Especially Illini Super Sweet...
4.I love fresh Southern Illinois Peaches...
5. And I love it when summer turns to fall...

Another Place to Post- Another Side of My Life

Many times I want to post something not appropriate for my other blog, Taking Care of Mom and Dad. So I've decided to start a second blog. I don't have time to "blog my life away" but on occasion I would like to comment on my vocation, my calling to ministry. So here it is- for better or for worse- Another Side of My Life.