Showing posts from February, 2014

What it's really about

Lakewood Cemetery Chapel ceiling, Minneapolis, MN Matthew 5:1-12 Beatitude Series - Part 4 "Blessed are the Merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Mercy, it is said, means to show forgiveness or compassion to someone whom it is within your power to punish or within your right to ignore.   Mercy is unearned.   Undeserved.   and Unexpected. Who in our world can show mercy?    The one with the power, who could give you what you deserve, but instead decides to let you off easy, that’s who can show mercy, if they so choose.   The school principal, the boss, the prison warden or the DMV clerk.   Whoever holds the cards in the given situation is the one who can show mercy.   Then there are those exceptional human beings, those rare truly good people who seem nearly never mess up and are basically beyond reproach, that seem to be able to show mercy. The Pope, or Mother Theresa, or the person who quits

Rather Be Right?

Amoeba. (clearly, a psuedopod). Matthew 5:1-12 Beatitude Series - Part 3 GUEST PREACHER/BLOGGER: LISA LARGES "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." I still remember the bet I won against Jon Hanson. This was thirty some odd – mostly odd – years ago. I was sixteen. We were on a camping trip – some kids from the neighborhood, I don’t even remember exactly who all was there. I don’t remember many other details about the trip either, except that Jon Hanson and I got in to an argument about whether amoebas were pseudopods. I could take the time to explain what this means; but the specifics here aren’t relevant. The only important piece of the story that you need to retain here is that I was right. If you do want to know more about what it means that amoebas are pseudopods you could ask me at coffee hour, for I shall surely tell you, but I wouldn’t necessaril

A gift of a day

I am so excited about this - I had to share it.   My congregation is hosting a sabbath experience on March 8-9 , and here is the email people receive when they register. A Message from Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church: We're delighted you will be joining us to kick off your 24-hour Deep Breath ! This "retreat" experience begins at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church and moves into your own home.  One of the reasons we are hosting this event is to help people experience sabbath time in your own ordinary life, as opposed to some place far away from your ordinary life.  To that end,  we hope that by registering you have blocked out the full time - 4 pm Saturday until 6 pm on Sunday -  and that you guard this time as you would a retreat you've driven 3 hours away to attend.  In other words,  don't schedule anything overlapping, and think about how you might "pack" for such an event. Here are some questions to help you "pack": 1. Conside

Sadness Verbed

Matthew 5:1-12 Beatitude Series - part 2 Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Are you mourning? When that question sinks in, when I really ask it to myself, I realize a more accurate question is this one, What are you mourning right now? Take a minute and call it to mind and heart. Those things and people you are mourning. Let’s invite them into the room so we can hear this alongside our mourning. I am mourning a dear friend moving away and having a baby far from me, where I don’t get to be part of her life like I had dreamed of being. I am mourning a relationship severed with dishonesty and pain and silence so extended that I no longer see how it can ever be mended. But right now I am most mourning for my beloved foster nieces and nephews, who are about to leave the care of the only stability and family they’ve ever known, their home for 2 ½ years, and drop utterly unanchored into a dilapidated and defective Jackson County foster

24-Hour Deep Breath (or, Why is Sabbath So HARD?)

One of the things we regularly notice, as we are "keeping Sabbath" around my house and in our congregation, is how hard it is.  You'd think that telling people to put things down and rest would sound like good news.  And it does sound like  good news. But it is so not easy to do.  As Louis CK points out , we've kind of forgotten how to just be a person. So, we need help not doing. We need other people who are not doing with us, and who will check in and see how our not doing is going. We need some help launching ourselves into a luxurious pile of not doing and then need help staying there, not crawling out to go do something when the urge arises - which happens like every forty seconds, at first. Sabbath time is for rest. It's for connection and play and quiet and things that bring you joy and feed your soul. It is for stopping whatever ordinarily keeps you captive - work, worry, anxiety, unfinished projects, the ever present 'to do' list, mind

The First Word

 Matthew 5:1-12 Beatitude Series - part 1 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' So begins the most memorable sermon of all time, that has shaped countless people and cultures and orators, the kind of speech the analysts sit around their news desks and continue to rave about and pick apart long after the cameras stop rolling, the one that people keep referring back to throughout time, holding up as a standard, memorizing lines from and weaving into their songs generations later without knowing where the words came from.   The sermon on the mount is Jesus’ greatest hits album, it’s got: You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine.   If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Turn the other cheek.   Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.   Pray this way, ‘our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…’ Where your