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...
Hope

Hope

Advent begins this Sunday.  It is the church season of practicing waiting.  It’s a time of expectancy.  We are training ourselves to see the ways that Christ comes in to the world all the time.  It’s one of my favorite seasons of the church year because we are filled with wonder as we celebrate what God did, does, and will do.  There are so many seasonal traditions and ways of reminding ourselves of the beauty of our faith. The first Sunday of advent we focus on hope. We’re looking at Isaiah, and the suggested reading for the day is Isaiah 64, but somehow when we were doing worship planning for the winter, I dropped off the 4, so our reading is for Isaiah 6.  And you know what?  It’s perfect.  It is this story of how Isaiah was called to speak to the people in a time of chaos and uncertainty.  It is a passage filled with incredible imagery of angels and God’s magnificent mystery.  It is also super confusing because God sends Isaiah to a people who won’t understand or believe.  Why would God play that game?  This is part of what makes this passage such a good fit for us, because there is something to wrestle with here.  It’s not just a happy, easy, pat on the back that God will always offer us hope.  It’s more complex than that, we in fact don’t understand why God would want us not to understand. One of the most beautiful things about this parish model is all the ways we get to engage with the story of God. There’s...
Grateful for Rest

Grateful for Rest

This week of Thanksgiving I had a lovely break.  It’s been a stressful time of transition these past 5 months with adding Trinity to my portfolio and Amanda to leaving the Parish.  There are so many little and big things that need to be accomplished and it is vitally important to be present and connect with people. I’ve found myself in the shower thinking about the church budget or not realizing it was time to make dinner while reprinting the leadership roster.  I have to admit that I was wearing a bit thin.  So 3 days in Boise with my mom and sister were a great time to forget about the to do list and just be.  It was a time of laughter, hikes, great food, and lots of games.  We also shared those things in life that we see as great blessings.  I am so grateful for my job, for the work I am called to do in this neighborhood.  I’m grateful for an incredibly supportive church management and hierarchy that has allowed us to experiment with what church looks like over the past 5 year and who helped me try to readjust as things broke down with Amanda.  I’m grateful for the people of SFC and Trinity UMC who are willing to try new things and who I learn from every day.  I know life will get back to being busy these next few weeks before Christmas, but this time to give thanks and rest means I am ready for the work ahead and the beautiful celebration of advent....
When It’s Not Comfortable

When It’s Not Comfortable

Today I am feeling a little tired and out of sorts after a couple of very busy days.  As I began to work on various tasks that need to be completed I realized I had not done my morning devotional and that it was something I probably really needed to help me do my best today.  Instead of settling my soul however the scriptures I read stirred questions and tension within me.  And that is actually just what I needed. So often we go to God looking for peace, for rest for our weary, busy souls.  And so often God provides that hope and the good news of love and grace in the words of scripture and in our experiences of worship.  Yet sometimes what we need is to be stirred up, to be challenged from our complacency. The scripture I read from Revelation is about angels pouring out bowls of the wrath of God on the earth and then awful stuff happens like water turning to blood and people getting painful sores. And then the heavens rejoice.  Sometimes as I read the news and feel the fear of the brokenness of my own heart it seems like the chaos and pain of revelation is here, now.  And to think that heaven is rejoicing at our misfortune is so at odds with who I know God to be in my life.  What reading this scripture does is force me to engage with theologies I’m uncomfortable with. As I’ve learned from therapy, avoiding the negative feelings actually just makes them worse.  So after reading the scriptures today I spent some...
Stretching

Stretching

Being a new church start pastor means lots and lots of times when I have to step outside my comfort zone and and stretch beyond who I am to meet the challenges of the work God is placing before me. This week it’s been learning how to use word press plug ins to create a website.  10 years ago I was a whizz at dreamweaver, but technology has changed and so now I have to change too. As I began the website process my first step was to reach out to a friend who has way more knowledge in this area and ask for help. She came and spent an early afternoon with me for which I paid her in pad thai.  After she left I was able to begin work in earnest with all the new insights she had offered to me. The next step was to trust myself to try.  I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned something from each one, even if the lesson was don’t do that. And eventually after enough attempts I was successful. We’ll have a new website up here before too long. It would be easy to just stick with what I know. And after 4 years to stick with what’s been working.  God has other ideas.  I am constantly taking on new projects and trying out new things.  It is so tempting to stay with what’s easy, yet in my experience that never leads to experiencing the fullness of God.  And so I stretch.  I call in help and learn from others.  I try and I fail.  I learn...