Friendly Friday Five

1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life? The first best friend I remember is my friend Mandy. We met in like first grade. She was a couple years older than me and had had a kidney transplant and missed a lot of school. We hit it off. Unfortunately she had health problems and is now up in heaven. It will be two years ago in Oct. I miss her!

2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you?
Hmmmm yes. I was born in NE and when we moved to ND, I had to move away from some of my best friends. Also in seminary, I had to move away from some of my bestest friends. I miss them a lot!

3) Are there people in your life now that you can call ‘friend’?
Absolutely! Some of my camp friends. My seminary friends definetely. My seminary friends will always hold a special place in my heart. I miss them and know I can turn to them about anything. Thank you Stumbling, L, Mac, Nature Boy, SKDO, and the list goes on and on! Also my best friend Sonflower Child. She too will always hold a special place in my heart.

4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends?
Hang out, go to movies/concerts, have coffee, etc etc

5) What is a gift friendship has given you?
Being for there for me in the midst of lifes challenges and joys! Im so blessed to have so many wonderful friends in my life!

What’s There to Smile About Friday Five

1. When were you smiling lately?
The funny thing is you usually can find me with a smile on my face. In fact, a couple of my friends named me “smiley.” I smile whenever Im around babies and young children, when Im around my friends and family, etc

2. What happened unexpectedly to you this past week?
My car decided it needed to have new brakes! 🙁

3. How was a catastrophe averted (or not)?
I realized something was wrong and took it in before it got worse. It also helped that my coworker listened to it and told me what he thought was wrong.

4. What was the most delicious thing you ate?
Hmmmm….lunch at the VIP room (one of my fave restaurants here in town)

5. Did you see any good movies or read any books or articles?
Im currently reading “The STory of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wrobelski and “Jayber Crow” by Wendell Berry. Loving them!

Where Do You Find Peace?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we find peace. Sometimes life throws things at us that we don’t want to have to contend with during our life. Sometimes we have to make tough decisions; tough decisions that seem inevitable in the midst of what may be going on in life. The reality is that sometimes those tough decisions are so hard to avoid. Seems like our hands our tied and we have no other choice. Yet in the midst of it all,I often know that this is where God is leading us but sometimes that is easier said than done. I have a tendency to beat myself up over stuff I don’t have a whole lot of control over. I have a hard time finding “peace” in my heart and soul. After making a hard decision, about a week later, I finally am beginning to feel peace. But it has taken me a little while to get there. So how do you go about finding peace? Where do you find peace? How do you find that peace that is hard to come by when making hard decisions? May we all find peace in the midst of life’s joys and challenges!

Traveling Friday Five

1. When was your last, or will be your next, out of town travel? My last big trip was to Gettysburg PA for the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event. What a great and blessed time!

2. Long car trips: love or loathe? I actually dont mind long car trips especially if I am driving and can listen to some great music. Or if I had great company!

3. Do you prefer to be driver or passenger? I actually dont mind either. I guess if I had to choose, I prefer to drive!

4. If passenger, would you rather pass the time with handwork, conversing, reading, listening to music, or ??? Conversing and listening to music!

5. Are you going, or have you ever gone, on a RevGals BE? Happiest memories of the former, and/or most anticipated pleasures of the latter? Nope I have never been on one. Ill have to remedy that someday!

6. Bonus: a favorite piece of road trip music. I like so many songs for traveling! One of my faves is Matthew West’s “Something to Say.” I like anything that has a good beat!

Hope in the Resurrection-An Easter Sunday Sermon

Can you imagine coming to the place where you laid your loved ones body to rest and they are no longer there? // I have a feeling you would be baffled. Where has my loved one’s body gone? // It seems to me that is probably what Mary was thinking and feeling initially when she came to the tomb. She knew her son’s body had been laid to rest in the tomb and she was bringing spices to the tomb because it was important to her that he got a proper burial. However little did she know what she would find at the tomb.//

But when she arrives, she sees that the rock has been rolled away and he is not there. I think she probably was more than just a little confused; don’t you?!// I’m surprised she doesn’t fall over from sheer confusion and shock when the voice who she believes to be the gardener says to her, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen!”// Remember, how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”// All of a sudden Mary remembers and believes what she had been told.//

Death has been defeated and will not have the final word.// However that is extremely difficult for us to understand especially when experience teaches that death wins.// The dead don’t live!!!!!!!!!// Dead is dead!// However, in all actuality, the Resurrection shows us that death does not have the last word. In fact, it violates the natural order of life and death. It shows that God is active and moving in the world.// It isn’t so much about who God is but rather what he has done and continues to do in the world.// God walks with us in the midst of both life’s challenges and joys!//

God frees us from being haunted by death and the grave.// God sent his son for our sake, yet it is God and God alone that has the power to defeat death. In fact, neither the nails driven into the cross and pierced Jesus’ hands and feet nor the grave could defeat God’s power.// Listen for a moment to these words from well-known Author Max Lucado in his book “Six Hours. One Friday” where he captures what it means for God to triumph over death.// He writes, “(There is) peace where there should be pain.// Confidence in the midst of crisis.// Hope defying despair.// That’s what the look says. It is a look that knows the answer to the question asked by every mortal, “Does death have the last word?”// I can see Jesus wink as he gives the answer. ‘Not on your life (Lucado, Six Hours. One Friday; P.149).”// The incredible thing is that God loves us that much!//

However this is so much easier said than done. It is hard for us to trust in God’s promise that death does not have the last word.// It is actually extremely difficult for us to believe and move from doubt to belief.// In all actuality though, the Resurrection shows us that Jesus, not death, has the last word.// Luther Seminary professor of New Testament Craig Koester writes, “Unbelief doesn’t mean that people believe nothing. Rather, it means they believe something else.// People say, “I don’t believe it” because there is something else that they believe more strongly.// Yet here is where the Easter message begins its work, by challenging our certainties. Experience teaches that death wins and that even the strongest succumb to it.// Experience teaches that life is what you make it, so get what you can while you can because it will be over soon enough.// And the Easter message says, “Really? How can you be so sure?”//Death is real, but it is not final.// In Jesus, life gets the last word!”// Life triumphs over death! //

Easter allows us to live as people of hope knowing that God has overcome death.// Recently I picked up the latest issue of The Lutheran magazine to find a letter from my friend Renee who lost her husband Ben during the Haiti earthquake.// As I read Renee’s letter, I was reminded of how things in life can change in a moment, but that there is hope in the resurrection; hope given to us by a God who loves us no matter what.// She shares of how Ben wrote her a song during their systematic theology class called “Certainty.” The song begins with these words, “If you are in search of certainty, then you are on the wrong ship.// And if you are in search of control, then you are sailing in the wrong waters.”// Ben concludes the song with these words, “But in this world not all is uncertain, there’s the love of God and my love for you.”// Ben’s words are honest and true!// The reality is that God’s love for us is certain!// God loved us so much that God sent God’s Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for each and every one of us.// God asks us to trust and rejoice in the promise of the Resurrection.//

In today’s Psalm, it becomes clear to us that God wants us to rejoice in this ultimate moment of triumph over death. The Psalmist proclaims, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (118:24)!”// After reading this Psalm well-known Lutheran theologian Martin Luther once wrote, “the dying live,// the suffering rejoice;// the fallen rise;// the disgraced are honored.// It is as Christ says, He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”// Or in the words of John Stott, “We live and die;// Christ died and lived.”// Easter reminds us that death does not win but rather that Jesus lives! Jesus comforts, empowers, and takes us out of the realms of death.//God triumphs over death which opens our hearts and minds to live as people of hope; trusting in the promise of the One who defeats death!//

Just like I stated earlier, it isn’t so much about who God is but what God has done and continues to do in the world. God’s spirit is active and moving in the world.// God is at work in each of our lives.// God is at work in our gathering together as God’s holy people.// God is at work in the breaking of the bread at Holy Communion.// In his commentary on the gospel of Luke, theologian Brian Stoffregen writes, “The risen Jesus appears in the Word and in the Meal. We seek the living one by remembering his words and ‘doing this in remembrance’ of him.”// In all actuality, God continues to be at work in many and various ways!//

The Risen Christ calls us to trust in the one who triumphed over death and calls us to live as people of hope; knowing that ultimately life wins and death is defeated!// God is the one who is victorious over death!// Through Christ’s death and Resurrection, God gives us the hope to cling to in the midst of our own lives.// Or in the words of well-known theologian Frederich Buechner, we are reminded that “Resurrection means the worst thing is never the last thing!” There is still so much more for each of us.// Bishop N.T. Wright of the Anglican Diocese of Durham (England) states it this way: “When Jesus rose again God’s whole new creation emerged from the tomb, introducing a world full of new potential and possibility.// Indeed, precisely because part of that new possibility is for human beings themselves to be revived and renewed, the resurrection of Jesus doesn’t leave us as passive, helpless spectators.// We find ourselves lifted up, set on our feet, given new breath in our lungs, and commissioned to go and make new creation happen in the world.”//

Christ is risen!// Christ is risen indeed! //
Christ is risen!// Christ is risen indeed!//
Christ is risen!// Christ is risen indeed!// Alleluia!