Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Little Bird

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:26 

This verse is one I know by heart. I love to sing the song, "His eye is on the sparrow", and, as a born worry wort, I repeat this verse frequently to myself as a reminder that I'm not supposed to worry, God has it all under control. And yet I’ve never been comfortable with the fact that the little bird doesn't seem to be doing any work. I usually find myself asking what happened to the verse, "God helps those who help themselves?” Especially in this area of the country, we are used to working hard to invest our gifts, receive a profit, or fulfill our responsibilities. Those who don’t worry about tomorrow and just live for today are seen as reckless or irresponsible. Doesn’t God want us to be prepared? Doesn’t God want us to be good stewards of the blessings that we have received? Aren’t we called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? “Exactly,” I hear Jesus saying back to me. “The little bird does keep busy, but she rejoices and enjoys each leap, each dive, each climb. Sometimes she heads out seeking after the gifts of God, other times she sets at work looking for what God is calling her to build, daily she listens for whom God is calling her to care for and daily she sings praises of thanksgiving.” As we see the trials ahead of us, as we find ourselves in difficult situations, Jesus says to us, “Don’t get lost in your work. Look for my work, join in, and you will discover treasures you had never imagined."

If you look close enough at my singing bird on the branch, she only has one leg. I drew this bird during preparation and reflection for a memorial service for one of our dear members, Bernie. She lost her leg to cancer, as a young, busy, strong willed wife and mother of two boys. Her sons said she never let them help with dinner or the dishes, because she didn't need any help. I could choose to define her by all of the struggles that she overcame in life, but I will always remember her as one of the most sincerely happy people I have known in my entire life. When I sing with our choir, I stand next to her pole which was mounted to the ground to help steady her later in life. She had a beautiful voice and was known as one of the funeral "sisters" who were frequently requested to honor their friends and community members at their services. Even more dazzling than her pure voice, was her gorgeous smile. Such a lovely, gracious and joyful bird, may we all find such joy with Jesus in our hearts.

Monday, January 19, 2015

3D Labyrinth

 This Sunday we took a 3-Dimensional Labyrinth based on the Temptations of Jesus as he is sent into the wilderness following his baptism. We provided both a walking and seated version, but I have heard that the walkers got the most out of it. I know I've gotten in all of my 10,000 steps in the past two days, walking through it, setting up, so it was a good "food for the body, mind and soul" kind of worship service. I have been asked to share it, for friends far and near, and congregation members who were unable to attend. Please feel free to use these ideas to create your own "3D Labyrinth", but until then, open your heart and your imagination and join us for the journey. This is how we began.
Instructions if walking: take at least 40 steps between each station. After you finish the third station, walk back past the second and first stations, remembering what you did there and looking to see what others have done. Remember how you answered the questions, and consider what God has revealed to you in this journey. Return to your seat after you pass station 1 for the second time.

Instructions if seated: Use the circles on the image posted above to symbolize the three stations. Take 7 deep breaths to symbolize the 40 steps between each station, and imagine yourself going up a hill. Use the circles and a crayon or pencil for completing the activities. After you complete the third station, take another 7 deep breaths and imagine yourself descending the hill. Remember how you answered the questions, and consider what God has revealed to you in this journey.
Station 1: The Baptismal Font

1. Baptismal font
The devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’*”
  • What would you be tempted to turn these stones into? Take a stone, wipe the water away and write down what thing of this world you want to satisfy your hunger? A stone may have several words written on it.
  • How might God be providing for that hunger in a different way then you are wishing/praying for?


Station 2: The Choir Loft
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ”
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’*”
  • Take a marker and write a word on your hand to remind you of a time when you were hurt and God did not send his angels to prevent the pain. 
  • Take a band-aid and place it over the word. (If you are doing the seated version and would like a band-aid, simply raise your hand.)
  • How has God provided healing in the midst of this pain or through this pain? Write a word on the band-aid to remind you of your healing.

3. Front steps
"Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’*”
  • As disciples of Jesus, we are called to go into the world, loving one another as Jesus loved us. Use the chalk to write a word or draw a picture of how we might serve one another in our community instead of “ruling over” it and “taking control” as the devil suggests.

Monday, January 05, 2015


On Christmas Eve I shared an exploration of a new character "Rebekah, the Shepherdess". This time I included several of my modern art pieces (mostly designed in Canva) to help create the atmosphere and add to the story. My genius video editor (the distinguished Robbie Collins) added them to the video below, so that you can experience the story as well! Enjoy!