Monday, December 14, 2009


As a follower of Jesus I am a person of hope. Today hope seems counter intuitive. Disasters of epic proportion lurk around every corner (and seemingly before the corners as well). Global warming, nuclear terrorism, epidemics, biological weapons, collapse of economies, ecological systems, food chains and more all appear likely in the coming decades.

This would seem like a great time for hope if we were all anarchists. But for followers of the Prince of Peace to stay firmly rooted in hope is apparently out of touch with current reality. It is. For my hope is not built on this reality, but one revealed in the birth, life, death and resurrection of a savior. In this event a different reality broke into our world. One which offers hope, not based on what I can do, but on God.

In this season I watch for signs and reminders of this new reality, the kingdom of God, slipping into our midst. It comes in unexpected ways.
One of my favorite Christmas stories is of the Christmas Truce in 1914 during WWI. John McCutcheon wrote a song about this event. Here is a link to a YouTube video about it. Christmas in the Trenches

Watch for the kingdom slipping in during this Advent season.
Hold onto hope. Live out of that hope.
Advent Blessings,

Saturday, July 04, 2009

My Prayer Companion Died This Morning.

June 30, 2009

My prayer companion died this morning. Each morning as I prayed, Sam faithfully and quietly sat with me, joining in my time of silence and meditation. This would not seem like much until you realize that Sam was our cockatiel.

Sam was a member of our family for almost 16 years. He came into our family one Labor Day weekend, after an extensive search for a hand tamed, hand fed cockatiel. He was the last one in the pet store. The pet store owner didn’t seem to want to sell him and tried to offer us a lovebird instead.

Literature described cockatiels having a sweet demeanor. Sam never read the literature. He was often loud, demanding and opinionated. He had specific likes and dislikes and wasn’t afraid to express them. He insisted visiting family members greet him shortly after coming into the house. He liked fruit, vegetables and pasta, particularly if it came off of your plate.

Each morning he sat with me as I ate my breakfast, drank my coffee and read the paper. When I prepared to leave the table and go to my home office, he’d recognize the signs and begin to lobby to be taken with me. When I would enter my time of prayer, he quieted down until I was finished. I think he prayed with me (or maybe even for me).

Sam believed he was a human. I think he considered us kind of slow, because we couldn’t fly. He loved to fly, including buzzing his grounded family members.

He liked his head rubbed by selected family members and was willing to sit on the shoulder of knee of persons he chose for that honor. He was content to sit in his cage in the room with a family member. When we’d forgotten this, he’d scream until we remember and brought him into our room.

He liked classical music and didn’t like Tobymac.

Sam died this morning and I’ll miss him. He was my longest living pet. But even more he was my different specie friend who was always glad to see me. His absence leaves an empty space in our home and in my life.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Traveling Adventure Near Miss

In the middle of the week, I decided to check on the bus schedule to Logan airport. I planned to catch a plane on Monday evening to Richmond, VA and attend the Extraordinary Leadership Training. (The name is a bit audacious, I admit. My goal is to become a good leader or at least a good enough leader.) This is my third and last year in the program. So I’ve made this trip seven other times. I’d purchased my plane tickets last October and had this date in my Palm for almost a year.

It was in the midst of checking the bus schedule that I realized something wasn’t right. In the past I’d traveled on Presidents Day. But my plans were to leave a week earlier. This led me to check my datebook, a recent email for the training and the website for the sponsoring organization.

Imagine my shock when I discovered I’d entered the date incorrectly. I was only a few days from another “traveling adventure” which would feature me standing at a retreat center around midnight with no place to go and no one to help me. I’m sure it would make a great story and glad I don’t get to tell it.

So why share this little story? I guess because I’m grateful to have missed this latest adventure. I wonder how many such near misses I never even notice.

Also I wonder about the opportunities I miss because I am not paying attention: opportunities for acts of kindness, for words of encouragement, for sharing my faith experience with someone else.

Maybe I’ll pay more attention this week so I don’t miss the opportunity to give thanks for near missed miss-adventures or to help someone else who wasn’t so lucky.