How Long?

“A light snow falls outside my living room window. This light snow is a simple reminder to slow down especially in the midst of a long North Dakota winter. The truth is that we are not good at waiting in this busy hectic world. In fact, we rush from here to there hoping for the same results. Yet often our waiting leads to more unintentional waiting.”

I am hanging out at the Mudroom today. Come read the rest there!

Keep Awake

I’ll admit that there have been times in my life when I didn’t particularly want to stay awake. I wanted to go to sleep and awake to a new day forgetting that the before didn’t happen. But the truth is that God calls us to stay awake and to shut up as we listen to the world around us.

When my mom and others daily struggle with a mental illness, I say keep awake.
Do we see them there?
Do we hear what they have to say and how they are struggling?

When the homeless man is on the road asking for food, shelter, clothing,
Do we truly see him? Or are eyes blind to him?

In this world, God calls us to truly shut up and listen to those who the world often doesn’t see. We need to shut the devil up..for this evil one doesn’t have the last word. God does..for God is faithful! A faithful God who calls us to be woke in this broken messed up world.

So, my friends. are you awake? Are you alert? Keep awake for soon Jesus will break into this world through the cries of this infant born in a manger in Bethlehem. These cries who shut us up and call us to always be awake.

Keep awake!

Be Near

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “near.” We would love to have you join us.

Little voices yelling and singing “Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay close by me forever and love me I pray.” Little voices proclaiming the joy and truth of the season. Twirling sparkly dresses, boys being boys, and all trying to get the attention of those they love.

This season is captured through the wonder of children. But it’s also captured in all generations as we wander to the manger. At night, I love sitting with all my lights off…just the glow of the Christmas lights. Mangers from my collection sitting near as I am reminded of this one whose cries pierce the darkness and break open the gasp of the world. The Messiah who always promises to come near.

This time of year also brings pain as those we love are no longer with us or have already passed away. The promise is that God grieves and cries with us. God understands the pain. “For God so loved the world God gave God’s one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send God’s into the world to condemn the world but in order that they may have life through him.”—John 3:16-17.

This time is a time in the midst of all of life calls us to draw near. To sit at the manger waiting for Emmanuel to come into the world for each and everyone of us. To hear the holy cries of Christ the King. To proclaim “Glory to God in the highest on earth peace, goodwill toward all.”

Sunday Blessings 191

(1) Fun mail in my mailbox.

(2) A call from EG

(3) Chatting with CN about Word and Service ministry.

(4) Awesome texts that made my day

(5) Pecan pie at church

(6) Thanksgiving with church peeps

(7) Chatting with the family on the phone

(8) Watching the newest version of the movie Annie.

(9) A new Nativity for my collection

(10) Holiday Lights parade–so fun!!

(11) Getting some projects done around my house today.

(12) Christmas tree up and Nativities out.

(13) Kind words from parishioners

(14) New nativities

(15) A PLN

(16) Coffee with JL

(17) Blue Apron meals

(18) Talking with my momma on the phone

(19) Lemon to put in my water

(20) A beautiful 40 degree day

The Familiar

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “familiar.” We would love to have you join us.

The smell of peppermint in the air
Trees glistening with lights
Mangers set out for all to see.

The words from Go Fish’s album More than a Story
Echoing throughout the house

Holiday movies playing
Laughter sounds
Peace and quiet
A holy hush

The familiarity of the holiday season
As we walk to the manger
Waiting for this holy cry
That breaks the worlds sigh
and pierces the darkness.

The familiar
Jesus Christ
The Messiah
Emmanuel
God with us

Sunday Blessings 190

(1)  A great visit with NJ

(2) A visit from NM

(3) Compliments on my LLR at the high school play.

(4) Beautiful Girl retreat fun at UMM

(5) Hanging with Miss ND and having her give me a makeover. So fun!

(6) The Music Man at Williston High

(7) A sweet hug from CTs daughter

(8) Catching up with a college friend. Thanks for the great conversation BP.

(9) Texting with my faves

(10) A picture from one of my church youth.

(11) Visiting with one of my youth during coffee hour.

(12) Pineapple

No More Excuses

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “excuse.” We would love to have you join us. 

A Jewish infant whose cries came into the world after a deep holy breath as the world sighed. Moments before, his parents came to the inn. But there was no room for them there. It wasn’t an excuse but was the reality of the moment. So this child is born in a manger in Bethlehem.

This child who cries, poops, and laughs in all of his humanity. As a child, there are no excuses from him either. He continues to be the Messiah; the one sent to share the message of the Gospel.

Jesus hangs on a cross crying out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” A crown of thorns upon his head. The blood dripping from the nails in his hands and feet. He breathes his last.

Jesus wasn’t afraid to stand up for what was right. He never made excuses for being the world changer. *Perhaps we can learn from his example. I know that we aren’t always going to agree, but God calls us “to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.”

#TakeAKnee isn’t about love of country. It is about freedom of expression. This football player is not ungrateful. He is simply asking us to do and be better. And I know this opinion is not in the norm but I’m no longer making excuses. Im speaking up and out. I’m covenanting to truly listen to why others believe what they believe.

And #TakeAKnee is just a starting place.

No more excuses!

*Where my five minutes ended. This final spot is something I’ve been wanting and needing to say. I’m open to listening to all sides. I just think we must not judge less we be judged. So tonight I stepped outside my comfort zone with these words. Be gentle friends!

A Different Call to Ministry

“You’re just a pastor wanna be.” The first time I heard those words, my blood began to boil. My call to ministry; to word and service ministry is so much more than that. It is not a yearning to be a pastor, but is in fact a different call to ministry. It is a call to “word and service,” rather than “word and sacrament.” It is a call to be the bridge between the church and the world.

The night before Jesus’ death and crucifixion, Jesus sat around the table with his disciples. He broke bread and poured wine. He even communed Judas who would soon betray him and Peter who would deny him three times. In this holy act, we see the power of God’s redeeming love and grace. Not only did they take part in a holy meal, but Jesus took on the role of the servant and washed his disciples’ feet.

As a woman called to word and service ministry, to be a deacon in this church, it is the foot washing that reminds me that God calls me to pick up my basin and towel to wash the feet of all God’s people. As the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness, God calls me to wash my mom’s feet, but also the feet of all God’s beloved especially the down-trodden, the marginalized, etc.

Like the waters of Baptism, the water poured out on Maundy Thursday calls deacons to share God’s love with the world. This water also reminds us that in Holy Baptism we all have been gifted with different gifts and abilities. It is a reminder that there are many members but one body.

Since the first time I have read about “word and service” ministry, it has spoken to me; to my call to ministry. I do not feel called to administer the sacraments but rather to be the bridge between the church and the world. I feel called to work alongside the pastor and share the message of the Gospel in new and innovative ways.

Deacons serve in various ways in this church. You will see them serving in congregations like I do. You will see others focusing on community organizing, disability ministry, and in so many other ways. As deacons, who are called to share the word, you will also sometimes see us preaching to the gathered community. As a colleague reminded me many years ago, my sermon has a different focus than his. I see it through the eyes, ears, and lens of word and service ministry.

There is a beautiful depth and gift that comes when congregations realize that there are new ways for churches to think about calling rostered leaders. With the clergy shortage, perhaps more congregations can and will be open to calling a deacon; an individual with seminary training who is called to this specific ministry of word and service.

For me, the call to “diakonia” (service) has always been captured in these elegant words from Frederick Buechner. “The place God calls you to be is the place where the world’s deep hunger and your deep gladness meet.” Deacons are called to be that place between the world’s deep hunger and our deep gladness.

I am in no way a pastor wanna be. I am a woman called to be the bridge between the church and the world. I am a woman called to carry God’s love to all the world. I am a woman who is called “to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with her God.”

And my deacon friends and colleagues are called to do the very same. We simply have a different call to ministry; a different call that, I truly believe, can and will change the church as we work together with our Word and Sacrament colleagues.

May our hearts, ears, and eyes be open to the calling of the Holy Spirit as the church learns more about what it means to be called as a minister of Word and Service in the church.

I am linking up with Kelly Balarie and the Ra Ra linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley, Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Porch Stories.

  

Sunday Blessings 189 (Over a Month’s Worth)

I got a little behind after completing the Write 31 Days challenge so this is my attempt at catching up.Unfortunately in the midst of October, I switched phones and didn’t think to save the Sunday Blessings already saved on my phone so I had to go through pictures etc to try and remember what October held. So this is my best attempt from then until now to share a month or more of Sunday Blessings. I will be back to a regular routine of posting these on Sundays this week.

(1) A fun weekend with my sissy

(2) Coffee with one of my Confirmation moms

(3) Rend Collective concert

(4) Community concert with a parishioner

(5) New LLR

(6) Texting with my faves

(7) Write 31 Days

(8) Time with CT and her girls

(9) WND LYO Gathering

(10) Going to church and getting at least 3 hugs from a little girl. So sweet!

(11) Momentos of a special day shared with me.

(12) A colleague telling me I do an awesome job with my children’s sermons.

(13) Turkey Bingo fun

(14) Texting with my faves

(15) Talking with JK on the phone. Love you friend!!

(16) A text from KG

In the Stillness of the Night

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “silence.” We would love to have you join us.

In the silence of the night
Holy cries pierced the dark
Emmanuel is born!

In the silence of the night
Cries from the cross
Pierce the dark
As his last breath
Is taken.

In the silence of the night
Homeless seek out shelter
Looking for refuge on a cold night
Knowing Christ will walk with them.

In the silence of the night
Stars scattered in the sky
Holy silence
Reminding us
of God’s incredible love
For the world.

In the silence of the night
As a last breath is breathed
and a first breath taken
Precious reminders of life’s journey
Of both life and death.

In the silence of the night
A holy cry pierced the stillness
Proclaiming the arrival
Of this holy child
Who later pierces the dark
With his final breath
On Mount Calvary.

In the stillness of the night….