color and light

Ok, every season is my favorite.

But fall, maybe in particular this fall, is my favorite.

We ventured north for a two-day respite and were blessed with splashy color flung everywhere.  Our eyes couldn’t take in enough, particularly with the fall gift of amazing honey light. 

It seems as though during fall blue skies are more intense, the warmth of the sun made more precious for its waning power, and the smell of earth making earth the most delectable of nose treats.

I’m leaving for Scotland in two days.  While I find myself mourning the missing of fall in Minnesota, I am ajangle with wondering how fall sings in the land of my ancestors.

Color and light in a land beloved by kin, from generation to generation.  I travel from Minnesota to Scotland with pores wide open.

I’m ready!

a day in the life

One hundred and fifty people came to Richfield UMC today.  Each left with two bags of food, a birthday bag, a children’s book, and please God, a sense that the community of Jesus followers do more than talk about justice and grace.

We have come to know each other through the years of fourth Saturday food ministry.  We work side by side to unload the truck, sort food, bag potatoes and onions and today, briny hard-boiled eggs.  We communicate with smiles and broken English and while we spend this time together there is so much we do not know about the lives lived outside the doors of the church.

People leave with bags of groceries.  We feel good about that.  But as important for the privileged that call our church home, we have a sense of who the often unseen neighbors are who are made in the image of our creator God.

One woman told me today of her dying husband, her incarcerated son, her battered body, and her sense of impending doom as the months tick by before she has to vacate her home.  I watched English-speaking and Spanish-speaking youth work together to sort and distribute bags of goodies provided by the Richfield Rotary.  They had a job to do and savored the work and the gift of partnership.

Following the food distribution I visited a member of the church who has been in the world of dementia for years.  She had fallen and broken a hip, survived the surgery, and on the other side had begun to fail.  When I entered her room her daughter was there and her eyes lit up and while her words indicated her presence in another realm, her eyes communicated joy and life and oh, to be witness to the love of a daughter and the spirit of a woman some ninety years old.  I left blessed.

There are zillions of questions to answer, prayers to breathe, a sermon to write, chores to be done and wonder to be named. 

This life called ministry is rich beyond the telling.


There is a lot of it, this ache called “woe”.

Hearts broken, bruised, confused and searching.  There is a huge lonely that goes with the sense of woe when the world feels too much and resources too small.

Sometimes people in a world of woe find themselves at church.  It is a safe place for the hurt to be spoken and the lonely to be stilled for a time.  There are no more answers to be had, perhaps, in such a place.  But there is this thing called sanctuary where communion with God is sought and the people of God are leaned into and woe is not a solitary lonely.

My father, who was a man acquainted with woe and a minister of the gospel, said that he prepared his sermons for the one person in the sanctuary who dragged themselves to church on Sunday because they had nowhere else to go.

And so it is with every-day worship that is church.  Every day, not just Sundays, we exist for those who drag themselves to church because there is nowhere else to go.

We know woe; in ourselves and in others and we exist as community in Christ to vanquish for a time the sense that woe is forever.

We’re there when woe is.

moon dance

In a prairie sanctuary, my nephew Bud and his now-wife Tara brought together their hearts, lives, families, hopes and sacred primal beauty.

Their wedding was held in the rolling beauty of rural Wisconsin.  They made a weekend of it, with camping on site, bocce ball and beanbag challenges, trampolines and fire circles, and love love love love love.

They both wore the color of passion and life: red.  Their words one to the other were full of respect and wonder about the gifts they had found in the other and the ways they trusted that they would grow and unfold in grace and truth in the power of such love.  

Following the service we adjourned to tables set under a big top and dragged out into the September sun; we were family joined into the larger heart family that beat to the love of Tara and Bud.

We caught the beat.  As the sun set and the stars and moon took over the sky scape, the dancing began.  Full-bodied romping was shared by children and elders and who knew who your partner was when all present felt the bond of partnering with the witness to love.

I sat in the shiver of the fall evening with my 82-year-old mother.  We watched the fireworks and the launching of floating lanterns and I thought to myself that while we celebrate with Bud and Tara the gift of their love, we are welcomed by them to celebrate the gift of the reminder shared through them:  a reminder that love is red and hopeful and full-bodied dance-worthy and fireworks-sparkly and communal to its very core.

It was a marvelous night for a moon dance.


One of the Joseph Campbell quotes I love shares that life is not about finding happiness;  it is about finding and making meaning.

I am feeling meaning in these days.  I am blessed with work that engages, challenges, humbles and stretches me.  I am blessed with partner and children who love me, laugh with me, share pain with me, and grow with me.  There are more books to read than I have time, sunlight to savor, and hungers to notice and sometimes tend.

Happiness is often my companion, and I welcome her.  But she is not the reason for my being.   Muddle and layers and wince and delight and wonder walk with me in these days; a meaning making sort of meander.

And it is good.

in gathering

I have yet to serve a congregation that gets summer sloggy.  I hear from people that summer means slow-down, but not for me and the world of church.

We’re turning a corner tomorrow.  It’s Rally Sunday, the day when we welcome back the dispersed:  the cabin folk, the choir, the Sunday School teachers, the happy re-gathered  who make for the buzz of chaos and new. 

I love it.

In a world that has jettisoned ritual in ways that wound, we are marking new beginnings. 

At such times I marvel at the thing called “church”.  We come together, diverse of politic, age, longings, and passions, and we stop the scramble of life for a time to place ourselves in the melting pot that is worship of God.  We see welcome on faces and allow ourselves to know the good of being one of many dedicated to a vision larger than our lives.

On this Rally Sunday eve I am full of thanks for the Body that is church.  Tired as I am of all the muck throwing and fear stirring of these days, I’m blessed to throw in my lot with the hope filled, heart warmed, clutsy and beautiful followers of the message of love.

And there is popcorn, to boot!

the beat goes on

We bought our house at the peak of housing mania.  We were blending families and making new life and what we wanted was a house that could hold and make space for all.  We found an old beauty with lots of room and presence figuring that we could turn around and sell in in a few years once a new notion of family had been established.

Well, that was then.  Home sales have stalled and with it our blithe sense of being able to downsize.  For us, it is probably just as well because gone is the sense that we would only need the space for a few years.

Our children range in age between 20 and 28.  They come and they go and they come again and they stay and they go and they come back.

Turns out we need this space.  Last week we housed five of the six, provided a temporary idling place for in-between venturers, fed and slept and loved and savored the progeny the Holy one in all Her wisdom saw fit to send into our lives.

We send them out from this hulking blue launch site.  It is exhausting, for sure.  But being on the front lines to help them equip and venture is precious and rare.  The world awaits them.

And home is here to welcome them back.