Love

Love

I have ridden that train.  I have driven on that interstate.  As I looked at the photos of twisted train cars and crushed vehicles I wondered about the nice guy who was working the snack counter on our last train journey and the funny lady who checked our tickets.  I remembered sitting in traffic on that stretch of roadway, grooving to music with my honey as we headed home to Tacoma from Thanksgiving in Newberg one year.  It was easy to extend my heart to those folks who were in places familiar to me when the horrific accident happened this week. The same was true 5 years ago when the stunningly heartbreaking shooting happened at Sandy Hook elementary school.  I was volunteering in my then 2nd grade daughter’s classroom as the news broke. Looking at the sweet faces of the kiddos it wasn’t hard to feel the devastating losses and incomprehensible pain of parents and community thousands of miles away. This is how we begin to love others, we let our hearts break open as we connect with what we can understand.  Advent asks us to love beyond what we can know and understand.  As Christians we work to grow our hearts beyond that which touches us to that which is outside of our lives.  As I look at the news, as I think about Syrian refugees fleeing violence, or wonder what it must be like to sleep on the sidewalks here in Portland my heart aches for those whose lives do not mirror my own.  And through that love I am compelled to live love, to share of...
Joy

Joy

As we train ourselves in this season of Advent to see Christ in our midst through the gift of joy, one of our members came to dinner with an idea.  She knows she is being called to start a sort term small group.  So she asked what we thought about her hosting Sunday morning brunch at her home for 8 folks during the month of February.  Her plan is to work with other leaders in the community so that they too can host a small group for a month in the spring. This is what I love about new start work.  That when someone is called or moved by what God is doing in our midst we have a culture of saying yes as they experiment with how to live out that call.  We talk about looking for the in-breaking of Christ. And this is a prime example of someone who found such joy in relationship and spiritual growth that she knows she needs to do something with it.  So we walk with her as she leads in this way. Those things that make our hearts sing are holy. When we are held in community that is both safe and challenging we can take that song and sing it out in joy....
Peace

Peace

Last week I was touring at the art museum. I like to get there early to walk the floors to just make sure all my art is in the right places.  The curators like to move things around and add new amazing art. It’s nice to be able to point out cool things along the way to my featured pieces and to think about what pieces on our route might cause questions or reactions among the students. I love the walk throughs because I am one of the few people in the museum that early.  This week as I was checking out some art on the 2nd floor of the contemporary building I heard lovely music playing.  My first thought was that it was really cool musak the museum piped in.  And then I realized that the museum doesn’t do that, and if there was music it must be part of an exhibit.  I was heading back to the meeting point to collect my students, but instead I turned around and started following my ears. I spotted some plants hanging over the balcony on the 4th floor and something about them made me think the music was connected.  Sure enough I wandered up to an entire gallery of amazing pieces that are part of a new exhibition working with different artist collectives in the city.  The music was coming from a movie at the back of the hall.  As I stood in front of it, I couldn’t believe that I had heard the song all the way down on the 2nd floor. Standing there it seemed to be playing...