all saints

dad paver

Every year the church pauses to name the saints who are no longer physically with us.

This year we will be shepherded into and out of worship by bagpipes. The blast of sound will serve as a musical rupture of the thin veil separating the living from the dead.

The service is so very alive. We name church members who have died in the previous year and project their faces onto our screen as we savor the ways they have blessed and changed us.

This year our church has been changed by 20 deaths. While the grief around their passing is so very real so too is the pleasure of saying their names and remembering their being.

The seminary that I attended offered an opportunity to memorialize beloveds through buying a paver for a newly finished chapel courtyard. Since my father was for a time adjunct faculty at UTS and since my heart longs for places and times where his name can be in the hearts of the now, it felt so good to create a reminder that once he was, even as he still is in the hearts of many.

And of course during this thin veil time, I wonder about my own death and the day when it will be my face on the screen, my name on the lips, my being bookended with birth and death dates.

Poet Mary Oliver asks : “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Tomorrow we name those who answered that question every day they were given.

And so it comes to us.

How is it we plan to enter fully the wild and precious gift that is life?

Mindfully or no, we live our answer.


My phone rang at three this morning.

On the line was my daughter, sobbing.

Most times that combo platter would strike terror in my heart but not last night.  The tears sprang from joy.  After months of leaving full time work to phone bank and organize for the defeat of the marriage amendment, after spending months with her partner gone to the trenches of voter ID battle, Leah heard the voice of her beloved state speak.

What she heard was that in Minnesota, we don’t countenance legislated barricades to full inclusion.

That is a voice the world and our state sore need to hear.

Tears indeed.  Gratitude and wonder and hope live.

Here in Minnesota, they live.


fear and trembling

While on pilgrimage in Ireland, I fasted from news.

I didn’t log on or pick up newspapers.  It was intentional.

I’m invested in this upcoming election.  Beyond the electing of the President and others running for office (no small thing) are two issues that seem to me to define who we are as Minnesotans in community:  the (anti) marriage amendment and the effort being made to restrict access to voting.

Should Minnesota voters vote “yes” on either issue, the numbers of people who will be uninvited from living in community is staggering.

I cannot comprehend that the love of same gender persons who make family together is so  “dangerous” that Minnesotans must contort our Constitution to legislate oppression.

I cannot comprehend that Minnesotans would willy-nilly make it more difficult for anyone who stirs themselves to care about our public life to make their voice heard at the polls.  Reading the fine print of implications of this voter restriction is essential.  The people affected are the young, those serving our country, the elderly and the disproportionate numbers of non-whites who do not have a photo id.  The statistics concerning past voter fraud are laughable.  There are few cases proven.  There is no sinister band of folk seeking to rig an election through voter fraud.

There does seem to be a move afoot to “protect” the state of Minnesota from those who are not straight Scandinavians.

See what I mean?  I’m concerned about these issues and the impact the vote will have on our sense of who we are together.

Already I’m making plans for where I will be on election night.  It feels immense, this time of casting of votes and defining of values.  I am checking in with my children, each of whom is phone banking and door knocking as the day of casting ballots nears.  I want to be sure they are in good company on election night.

As for me, I’ll be at the home of dear friends.  We will eat jello and share the decisions made by our neighbors.

In the meantime, I’ll remember the ten day news fast as gift and as reminder; the world commences without my heart being pummeled by newspapers and defining votes.

And, I’ll bring my heart and my voice into conversations and prayer for the opening of hearts here in Minnesota.