Category Archives: Uncategorized

which truth.

“Jesus said, “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.'” John 18:37

Hours before Jesus bore the weight of the sins of the world, dying on the cross, he’s engaged in conversation with the one who presumably can free him from this burden. One is bound, the other is free.

Did you say you are a King, Jesus?  That’s what you want to call me.  Well, are you the King of the Jews?  I am here to testify to the truth.  So what is truth?  

Who is bound, who is free?

In light of these days, discerning the truth is difficult.  The truth is, it’s hard to hear the truth. We are bound up in fear, sadness, and hopelessness when we turn on the news, talk to a neighbor (6 feet apart), or chat with our family on Zoom.  This truth is binding and can be debilitating. But I hear Jesus say I am Truth.  Do not be afraid for there is no fear or sadness, or hopelessness in me. You belong to me – the Truthand the Truth will set you free.  

This is the Truth I am called to listen to. This is the Truth that sets me free.   Let me hear your voice, dear Jesus, let me hear your voice.  Let me hear the Truth. 

Be Well. Be Safe. Be Hope.prL

no matter the cost.

I did not preach this Sunday as it’s often Passion Sunday and we let the Word – the story -speak to us.  However, under the circumstances, I decided to do a Palm Sunday with a bit of Passion in it….reflecting on the beginning of this final journey to the cross.  I invited several folks from our worshiping community to reflect on this question:

“How do I follow Jesus, no matter the cost?”

Here is a link to Palm Sunday Worship with the people of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Denver Colorado. 

another word for silver lining.

“Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance.” Psalm 89:15

“Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.” Ephesians 5:8-9

We all know people who exude light.  They’re the ones who’s glass is always half full. They’re the ones with a skip in their step, a smile on their face, a whistle on their tongue.  They’re the ones Matthew’s talking about who give the coat off their backs.  Each day, more and more, the light is growing as people are doing selfless acts of kindness and love to help another through this pandemic.  Yet, each day, admittedly, as numbers of cases and deaths grow, so can our anxiousness grow.  When will this end?  Will it make it’s way into my family and the ones I hold near or has it already? Will I have a job?  Will I lose my home?  Will my retirement disappear? Is there enough to eat? And sleepless nights are creeping their way into our lives as darkness permeates.

Yet, the verse before the Ephesians text above reads this:  For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. “once you were…but now…you are…” What comfort this sweet sentence gives! Through the darkness of the cross to the empty tomb, comes the light of the Resurrection.  We are the children of light, now and always because of what Jesus has done for you and me and all the world. And people, the light is growing.  Catch it. Bask in it.  Be drawn to it. Spread it. For there you shall find solace, peace, joy, and love – all that is right and true.  Some call it the Silver Lining….. I call it HOPE. 

Be Well. Be Safe. Be Hope. prL

seeing God.

“Simeon took the child Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation.'” Luke 2:28-30

Simeon’s dreams of a lifetime had been fulfilled.  He got to hold the God-baby in his arms.  He got to see God with his own eyes. He could now live in peace.  We should all be so blessed…. Oh, but we are….

Yesterday during our Zoom Midweek Worship, we talked about what it means to Do justice, Love kindness, and Walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)  as it related to the covenant promise in our Baptism: To strive for justice and peace in all the earth.  Around the Brady Brunch ( if you know what I mean..) folks began to share the gratitude they have for those on the frontlines of this pandemic who are not recognized for the work they are doing, nor do they seek recognition.  Like the grocery bagger or stocker, the mail carrier, the bank attendant, and of course all in the medical profession and those that keep the hospitals functioning. I heard a nurse (one of many who would say the same thing) when asked how she keeps going, and her response: “I took an oath and I am called to be here” (and I might add..for such a time as this). These are the ones who walk humbly with our God.  And through them, we have seen God.  May God bless them, and keep them safe… so that we might be safe. and blessed. 

Be Well. Be Safe. Be Hope. prL

 

one of those promises.

Jesus said to the disciples, “So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16:22

It’s hard to be a disciple.  It’s easy to say these words….(you have pain now, but not forever) These words may even be fairly easy to hear… But not easy to live.  This is one of those promises that we Christians know in the heart of our hearts – it’s the promise that if we can bear to hold on to, gets us through those really tough spots.  It’s also the easiest to let go of when the pain is too deep..

And then there’s joy.  The promise is that there will be joy! I learned a long time ago that joy is not necessarily happy. Happy is the sensation you feel when you’re experiencing something good, things are going “right.”  But joy, I’ve come to believe, is that deep resonance of contentment that I think, comes from surrender.  All might not be roses and sunshine, but there’s this knowing that God’s got this.  Perhaps all we can muster up is a feeling that “this too…. shall pass.” And when I”m there, in that space, leaving it all to God, that’s enough.  Enough to bring joy. And no one can take that from me.

namaste.

“In Jesus Christ you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”       Ephesians 2:22

You did not hear from me yesterday because I spent my quiet time in yoga.  My words found themselves expressed in movement.  Although DEFINITELY not a dancer, body movement has always spoken to me – it’s the part of body-soul-mind that equally fills me. I’m a “yogi” at heart – though I don’t engage in movement of the spirit as much as I’d like these days.

At the end of each spirit-filled time, we come together and bow in honor of the spirit that we acknowledge we see in each other – Namaste. Yesterday’s “Namaste” was especially sweet for me.  Because of COVID-19, my old yoga studio two states away is offering online sessions.  And so a dear spirit friend and I decided to connect and “yoga” together through the airwaves (just like old times, though then in physical sacred space together).  Afterwards we FaceTimed with a cup of tea to get caught up on families life and love (bless you S for blessing me 🙂 ).

We all are beginning to see the blessings of this time “at-home” – though glimpses that they may be in the midst of groans and mourning to deep for sighs.  Being at-home physically does not separate us from dwelling together spiritually. In fact, I want to believe that it just might be bringing us closer together as Paul prayed for the Ephesians. So from my dwelling place for God to your dwelling place for God – Namaste.

Be Well. Be safe. Be hope. prL

reset button.

Sermon. 3.29.20. Lent 5. Lazarus. John 11: 1-45

Another Holy Encounter with Jesus that defies all pain and suffering and death and calls Lazarus to rise and come out of the dead tomb.

There are two things I want to emphasize about this text:

The first is the notion that Lazarus was given a 2nd chance. Second chances usually mean that something wasn’t right the first go-around.  So we’re given a second chance.  But what if Jesus , this death-defying Son of God, in the midst of grief and despair, raised Lazarus so that he might testify from the depths of the grave?  To give witness to this God of grace who gives new life?

In the midst of a pandemic that threatens our very existence, sending us in to a tailspin of fear and hopelessness, we might feel like we are in the depths of the grave. So much is changing in our world, moment by moment. While most of us, I pray, are safe in our homes, the world around us groans and mourns in pain:

If you would only have been here Jesus – If you would just take care of this suffering, loss, and pain we are currently experiencing…we know that you can…

But it is precisely here, that Jesus comes to us and says, “Wait! This isn’t it…. There’s more to life…and death.. than this!  Death and loss do not have the last say… Through the waters of our baptism, we die daily to our sin and are raised to new life! We are given a second chance – a new hope with which to testify to God’s unfailing love and mercy.

So, can we rise above the depths of the grave to see the life-giving work of God in our lives and in our world?  Can we let the waters of our baptism remind us that through death and dying, comes new life?

Maybe it’s like pressing a RESET button.  Many have viewed this time we are experiencing as hitting the PAUSE button.  I invite you, if you haven’t thought so already, to consider this time as a reset.  The council met last week, and we talked about roses and thorns in our new normal.  While is the midst of pain and suffering expressed, there was this over-arching theme that there was more – more quiet, more time with family, more time to sleep, more time to pursue other interests, more time to reconnect with friends and family both present and on the airwaves, more time to help the neighbor across the street. More time to hear God.  Perhaps this can be a reset time for you, for your family, for our neighborhoods, for our communities and for the world.  A second chance, if you will, to reset our lives where less gives more.

Now, ironically speaking because of the situation we find ourselves in, I don’t believe we can do that alone – the second thing I want to point out about today’s gospel.

When Jesus raises Lazarus and he comes out of the tomb, did you notice that he is bound? And instead of Jesus unbinding him, Jesus says to the community – You unbind him.  Our ability to live free to be who we are created to be, depends on the bod of Christ.  We need each other.

In our current state of staying – in- place, we all might be sensing this is a very real way. While I’m sure there are those families with kids who are experiencing life together 24/7 and are beginning to be a little stir crazy –  I think particularly of those who are living alone with no human touch – whether you’re young and vibrant, or well-seasoned.  We all need touch.  As the body of Christ, we are not complete until we are all together. So let us find new ways to be together.

My prayer for all of us in this time of RESET, is to embrace it – the good, bad and the ugly.

Look for new ways to see this death-defying God at work in this world in the midst of this pandemic as we are all experience death in one way or another.

Look for ways to get creative in reaching out to each other, sharing God’s love with a phone call, a card, a digital happy hour or coffee time with friends or your pastor!

May we together, unbind each other from our own confines of fear and despair, and look to the promise of the resurrection.

Be Well. Be Safe. Be Hope. prL

heart guard.

“By this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:19-20

By this…. These verses are in the middle of 1 John’s message on Love.  Love that’s not a feeling, but Love that’s an action.  More than being IN love. Instead, BE love.  That’s the “this” above. Not so much in words and speech, the author writes, but in truth and action.  And then, the author writes, when we DO the love thing, we will know our hearts are rooted in God.

Our dog takes a medication once a month called “Heartguard.”  It guards her heart from diseases she might contract while being a dog, frolicking about God’s world.  I’m pretty sure I have a guard standing at the door of my heart, particularly as I’m frolicking about God’s world. It’s pretty protective of who and what gets in. Except it can be persuaded easily when it wants to be. I know this, because my body heart mind and soul are pretty connected.  And when something’s awry, my gut knows it – fear, anxiousness, guilt – when my heart knows something’s not right, my body kicks into high gear.  Then my mind wants a piece of the action and we all start negotiating. It can sometimes take days/weeks, months/years to settle the things that originate in the heart.   But here’s the thing, God is GREATER than our hearts! When all those things of dis-ease want to take over the all-of-me, I imagine a God who’s holding my heart in God’s hands, protecting, guiding, opening, and showing me truth. What reassurance.  What love. What hope.

Be Well. Be safe. Be Hope. prL

soul touch.

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”  1 Peter 4: 8-10

This morning our doorbell rang and looking out the loft window I saw is was our daughter and good friend.  She was observing social distancing and standing 15 feet down the steps from the front door.  I opened the door and there was a bouquet of flowers and strawberries.  Today’s my birthday and dipping strawberries in sour cream and brown sugar is my favorite birthday dessert tradition! We spoke briefly, then they got back in her car to drive 40 minutes back across town to start her work day, using tele-health to treat PT patients.

Continue to show deep love for one another…. in these challenging times of fear and uncertainty, loss and hardship, we are beckoned to continue to love deeply.  This morning I realized just how much my heart yearns for touch.  Physical and emotional – soul touching.  I need you, we need each other.  Now more than ever before, we are called to learn to love – soul touch -in a new way.

Ironically, the next verse calls for us to share our homes and a place to stay!  In this time of staying-in-place alone, I choose to hear those words as the home that’s in my heart.  Know that I hold you in my heart and that you have a place to stay in my heart.  May God teach us to continue to love deeply…..

Bless you, Bear, for loving me deeply. For you touched my very soul where no social distancing can keep us apart.

me.60th.flowers

Celebrating 60!

Be well. Be safe. Be Hope. prL

dressed with humility.

“All of you must clothe yourselves with humility.” 1 Peter 5:5

There’s that word.  That’s the first thing I thought when I read this verse this morning. There’s that word.  It always gets me right in the gut.  I hate being reminded of the things that I I know I am called to be but seldom am. My human response is often not one of humility.  I would have to say, rather, it’s one of defensiveness.  Whoa is me… So, God’s got me where God wants me today. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re all worked up – conjuring up all the words of defense that you’ve got (all sentences starting with “But I…”) and then God enters.  About face. Oh…right. Clothe yourself with humility, Libbie.

So I’ve been sitting here talking with Jesus.  My Spiritual Director during my Silent Retreat a few weeks back, would say to me when I expressed how I was feeling, or what I was grappling with, “Have you said that to Jesus right here?”  or “How do you think Jesus would respond to that right now?”  Not the WWJD campaign, but, really, “What would Jesus do?” What would Jesus say?  The Ignatian way of Spirituality is one that seeks to know Jesus’ presence in me, beside me, around me, right here, right now. (That’s my layperson’s definition in a nutshell). So here’s the thing.  When I let Jesus in, I don’t have to clothe MYSELF with humility, Jesus does the dressing. Jesus is saying to me, “I’m clothing you with humility. Now love with humility.”  May I be humility today.  May I be Jesus. May I be hope.

Be well. Be safe. Be hope. prL

 

 

 

 

Humble Master, there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Therefore, take away our pride and false securities so that we may humbly trust in your guidance and care. Shape us into who you would have us be. Amen.