Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Next Day

Morning Meander January 20, 2009 Today I’ll take down the photograph of the president I’ve prayed for each morning over the past eight years and put up the photo of a new president. I’m thinking about using the striking mosaic offered by The Washington Post online edition this morning. At first I wasn’t sure about it, and then I realized that the composite wasn’t of viewers but by viewers. As it came into conceptual focus I was struck by way the image conveys all the myriad of perspectives we witnesses bring to this extraordinary, regular changing of the guard. Some of us are moved to our marrow. Some of us are nervously willing to give it a chance. Some are already rolling up sleeves and pitching in while others are practically paralyzed by the roiling socio-economic landscape. All of those perspectives make up our nation and emerge from our own community. Yet because we believe that we are better together than alone, because we believe, in a way that finds expression every day, that we are our brother and sisters keepers, we can and must share our ideas and hesitations, joys and fears. It didn’t take long before an inauguration controversy emerged around who was praying when. I was kind of confused when I got multiple questions around the community about "the controversial preacher giving the benediction." The benediction was given by Joe Lowery, who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with MLK, highly controversial in the 1950s and 60s, but now, not so much. (The Christian Century has a great article about the real designated lightening rod, Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren, that should be available on line next week, ). I love the questions because they open conversation to different ways of looking at things, place us in that great mosaic instead of trying to hide behind it. We need ways to share our richly diverse ways of seeing with each other, prayerfully and in conversation grounded in God’s word, or we perpetuate the isolation that breeds pride, undercuts trust and cuts us off from others in our family of God. So share what’s going on in your life and through your mind. Share it with pew pals who may see from other angles. Share authentically, share lovingly, share constructively, and share in the hopeful presence of the living Christ. Let all who do justice and love mercy say amen and say amen. In the Joy of Seeking and Serving Christ with you, Karen

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

snow tracks

Morning Meander from Karen January 14, 2009 This morning the wide backyard view, framed by generous parsonage windows, is a smooth and sun lit white. One measured line of tracks cuts straight across the snow. Ignorant of animal evidence, I imagine a deer crossing at sunrise. But it could be the trail of a neighbor’s dog since that yard edge is where it begins and, on closer look, seems to return further out. The two lines converge on the rise, one extending to the cemetery border, the other joining it on the way. The early morning hours are as pristine as this landscape. Uncluttered by work left to rest the night before. Perhaps that’s why so many pilgrims of faith claim it as “quiet time.” We have a choice of hitting the floor running, or claiming the space as the gift of sacred time, to put one foot in front of the other and see where we are going into the new day that is, if only for these few moments, clear and uncluttered. May you find this space for God’s grace wherever daily moments of clarity beckon to you. And may you love it as the gift it is, one that disappears in the blink of an inattentive eye. Psalm 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Meander, 1-05-09 The headline was a heartbreaker and a headshaker, “Herman Rosenblat's Holocaust memoir of love is exposed as a hoax.” A love story meant to inspire hope in the harshest circumstances, the Rosenblat’s tale could have been just the grace note needed in a tough time. But in a time when distrust rules and people are craving the truth, Herman Rosenblat’s children’s book was doomed. I don’t mean to imply that the Rosenblats were right. Facts matter. The “principle of veracity” recognizes that trust depends on truth telling, especially in a context as important as the Holocaust. I’m just saying that I sympathise since some of the tales closest to my heart have certainly grown with the telling. Was that childhood Christmas really as white, as witty, and as wild as you’ve told your children? I don’t think the Rosenblats had bad motives. I just think they are bad historians. Had they told the tale as a work of fiction inspired by the immensity of their love, it would have hit the bookstores with no problem. But it does make me wonder about other powerful stories that have been sentimentalized. Is St. Valentine’s love more powerful when offered in candy boxes or when it includes his martyrdom? Is Christmas’ love more powerful when, as the song goes, Said the king to the people everywhere, "Listen to what I say! Pray for peace, people, everywhere, Listen to what I say! The Child, the Child sleeping in the night He will bring us goodness and light, He will bring us goodness and light." Or does that love take on a new power, when we read Matthew’s account of a ruthless king who kills infants in order to hold onto power, and come to understand that the infant Christ embodied a loving God’s determination to show another way? In this new year, may we enjoy the lovely yarns we spin but be moved to loving action by the realities we see through God’s eyes. In Christ’s Joy, Karen