Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Everyone who hears will laugh with me

Today's lectionary reading from the Hebrew Scriptures tell Sarah's story of the birth of her son Isaac.  Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was not far behind. 

As I read the scripture in morning prayer and heard it again in our noonday services, it occurred to me - I wonder how often I have thought something like, "who would ever have said that x, y, or z" would happen?  And Sarah models a perfect response: laughing with.

I believe that when we think of our unique journeys - how we got to this place, at this time, in this life - perhaps we can learn from Sarah, and laugh. 

Laughing.  A great prayer of gratitude and wonder.  For this moment!

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” Genesis 21:5-7

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blogs, Wikis and Twitter, Oh My!

The Word was first,
      the Word present to God,
      God present to the Word.
   The Word was God,
      in readiness for God from day one. (John 1:1, The Message) 

This January, I am taking a series of Curriculum Development courses. The focus of the first course was to understand how technological trends influence Christian formation – of both learners and teachers. 

Who has not wondered something and “Googled” for an answer?  Google, “source-of-all-knowledge,” that points us where we can find out.  Most learners and teachers know this – and all those websites and all those answers are all available 24/7.  With blogs, you can post your opinion and invite others to add their thoughts.  With wiki’s, you can create a single website on which classmates or colleagues can access, update, and use as a knowledge warehouse.  With twitter, just remember to tweet others as you wish to be tweeted.  The technological trends are influencing how we teach and learn from others.

What about Christian formation?  All this technology points us back to … the logos.  “In the beginning was the logos – the word…” and that means conversation.  All these technological trends (so fancy, so hyper-new, so cutting edge) point to Christian virtues we have known since The Beginning.  We form each other around conversation.  God calls us to be collaborators, connectors, adapters, storytellers – with Love.  Trends in technology are simply just now catching up to what we have known all along.   

Oh My!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. (John 1:1-4, NRSV)

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Today at church, we ran out of bulletins. 

Now *that* is a good sign!  It means we exceeded our expectations.  We all scratched our heads and asked folks to share.  Isn't that what life is about, anyway?

Our expectations were that it would be a "low" Sunday, that most people would be recovering from a late night on the town or are away visiting family elsewhere.  Turns out that we had guests of regular attendees (in-laws, grandparents or grandkids) plus a handful of out-of-town visitors who wanted to attend church.  Plus, we had some genuine, honest to goodness, newcomers.  Folks looking to get involved in a church.  Really, they do exist!

What do newcomers experience when the show up at the front door?  A nice smile, a group of folks dressed in white robes hovering around, a friendly face putting a bulletin in their hands and showing them the gigantic sanctuary with plenty of pews to choose from.

How do they find their way through the service?  Are the hymnals at-hand?  Are we, as a congregation, helping them understand who we are as a community not just how we do these 55 minutes on Sundays?

I wonder how God sees us all as newcomers. Each day we show up in God's world, greeting God's face in the smiles of another, receiving well-wishes when we bump into someone at the market, finding our way in God's sanctuary-earth with plenty of pew-possibilities to choose from. 

May we always be newcomers to our church service, to our relationships, to our neighbors new and old.  We can know that God's steadfast love and grace will greet us with a smile, each day.

Happy New Year and welcome to God's Kingdom.