Masks and sanitizer, greetings through windows six feet apart. We have all become untouchable. Moms that are still with us, aren’t. Moms that are not with us are worlds away untouched by time in our memory. And then there are those moms who cannot escape, cannot get away because love chases them into the bathroom and down the halls into the make-shift-office-room zoom calls. Pandemic Mother’s Day is complicated for moms who wanted to be and could not no matter how hard they tried and tried and cried whose bodies couldnot wouldnot become what we wanted them to be. And the dads who are better moms than our moms could ever be, mothering isn’t just for moms. Some moms just can’t. For the lucky ones whose love dripped down the sides of our faces like ice cream, their joy overflows like spilt milk on the countertop next to the oreo cookies. We can still feel their touch and the kisses in clockwise directions on our faces filled with laughter or tears, over the years, those kisses fade into the photos on the wall. They are now missing from our minds. Gone on this day. But for the grannies and mimis and granddaddies and pattis and tathas and pappas and mammas that make life just a little sweeter with drive-by birthdays and package deliveries, the complications of Mother’s Day are no match for unbridled love. Boundless expressions of joy cannot be hid by the hand sewn masks and poster board signs hurriedly colored while tears fell making rain marks on homemade cards. You can see a smile with your heart, if you try. And so we do. We try. We forgive. We remember. We regret. Our mothers. And those who wish our mothers were something more than they could be, we sigh and breathe in one more day. Mother’s Day has always been complicated, but this year more of us understand why.
“the valley of death isn’t nothing but a shadow”
Poverty is the Pandemic
We are not in the same boat. We are not in the same storm. In fact, an economic storm has been raging all along and we have left many without a boat or paddle to weather the most recent epidemic to hit Rock County, Wisconsin. Continue reading “Faith & Fault-lines in a Pandemic”
Angels and Prophets
What is the difference between angels and prophets? Both have a message from God, but with one very important difference. It is a little bit like the secret every grandparent knows—one gets to give the kid back, the other has to raise the kid up. They angel brings the good news and. then leaves, the prophet must stay and walk with the community in through all their ups and downs. We have had our ups and downs over the years, and even in this last week together.
So, which would you rather be?
An angel or a prophet? One is loved, the other often thought of as inconvenient, and often criticized. Me too, I would rather be angel too. But since I haven’t learned how to grow wings…
Our Prophetic History
Over these past 5 years together I have spent time reading our history, studying the stained glass windows, walking the halls of every room of this church and I have listened to what the angels of this church have been telling me about you, and about the legacy that has been handed to us, here in this very place. A place where worship has been going on uninterrupted for 175 years—more than 6 generations of people have learned what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and to love God with all their heart…in this place. And you are among that great legacy of faith.
What I have learned, is that this church has a strong prophetic tradition—a tradition that has produced great community leaders who did not accept no for an answer, who believed they could make a difference, and even if they didn’t, they knew that they should try because they believed in hope. Rev. Hiram Foote, the first called pastor after the founding was a national figure in the abolitionist movement. Willing to take a stand on freedom of all people. Fredrick Douglas, a. black freeman spoke here in support of abolition of slavery. Rev. Hiram Foote helped to establish this church’s call toward justice.
Most recently, I have learned of a remarkable woman, and member of our church, a prophet in her own right, Rhoda Lavinia Goodell. You might know that she was the first woman who accepted to the Bar of Wisconsin as a lawyer. What you may not know, is that she spoke out on many subjects, including the appropriate place of women in the church—in the pulpit. Hear her words from 1872…
“Miss Smilie, preaching in the .. pulpit, seems to have shaken ecclesiastical authority… it is amusing as well as instructive to observe upon what general principle the objection to woman preaching is based. ….The reason that woman must not preach is – not that …it is incompatible with her other duties, … not that she lacks any intellectual or spiritual qualification – simply and only that this would be coming out … and asserting equality.”
My mother died 1 year ago this month, on our daughter’s 16th birthday. As a pastor I have often counseled people through the stages of grief and know that grief can take many twists and turns along the pathways of our life. Grief may walk beside us when we loose a parent, a spouse, or a child—these are journeys people notice. Continue reading “Remembering Well, Grieving Well”
Happy New Year Yall!
Thanks to everyone who viewed my blog in 2015. The biggest news is that I was able to join in Ministry with http://www.JanesvilleUCC.org as their new minister. My installation service is January 10th, 2016. Wish me luck.
My hope for 2016 is to integrate the fabulous work we are doing there into posts for this blog.
In Good Faith,
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.
Getting Out the Door
We have a rule in our house: always wash the dishes before we leave on vacation. This may seem ordinary enough, I’m sure many of you may do the same thing. But for me, the mere act of getting out the door on time is difficult enough—you can’t imagine how tempting it is to say, “leave it, just leave it. We will be back soon enough.” But the person who leaves the house is never the person who returns to it. We become a new person because of the journey and nobody wants to come back and clean up someone else’s mess.