Saturday, December 31, 2005

p.s. moment

and in the marvelous ways of Almighty God
within moments of my posting the previous note
a friend who is staying with me
and who knew nothing of what I had just written
shared her morning reading
thanking me for touching her ...........

Touch, yes touch, speaks the wordless words of love.
We receive so much touch when we are babies and so little when we are adults.
Still in friendship, touch often gives more life than words.
A friend's hand stroking our back, a friend's arms resting on our shoulder, a friend's fingers wiping our tears away, a friend's lips kissing our forehead - these bring true consolation.
These moments of touch are truly sacred.
They restore, they reconcile, they reassure, they forgive, they heal.
Everyone who touched Jesus and everyone whom Jesus touched were healed.
God's love and power went out from him (Luke 6:19)
When a friend touches us with free. nonpossessive love, it is God's incarnate love that touches us and God's power that heals us.
Henri Nouwen

reflecting moments

it has been said,
by one much wiser than I,
that the glory of God is seen
when we learn how to touch one another

and so, these are some memories of being touched over these past twelve months -
these are chronologically listed -
each one no more important or less important -
each touch producing life.

a pastor and his wife -
leaving everything in their obedience to God -
paying the cost

Gordon - who so bravely fought, who so graciously brought me alongside and inside as he traveled the shadowy path of dying, who taught me so much about living, whose life was a song too beautiful to be heard for too long.
I miss you Gordon.
I can only imagine your song now

the first feel of my hours old newest grandson

the seventy-four year-old crusty Austrian who grabbed my hand with tears running down his cheeks insisting I tell him of Jesus

the hug of my son just moments before he said "I do"

another pastor, this one harvesting in the middle of nowhere -
a flock of 40 -
so wise -
so gentle

the One who spoke my name aloud while I was "alone" in the woods

an unsure lonely little boy dressed in a man's body

a friend living on the other side of the mountains
insisting I blog
saying my stumbling words and pondering thoughts are important to him

and there are some others .........
and yet I feel the need to let my words be few

you know

thank you for touching me

and for touching me safely



in abundance

I love you

Thursday, December 29, 2005

choosing moments

It was tough a season or two ago when it seemed that man was putting to death one of God’s dreams. This was painful to watch and harder to understand. It was during this time the Lord spoke to me through an experience from my past.

While pregnant with my daughter I was given the tender privilege of accepting another’s new born baby boy into my home. It was clearly explained and painfully heard that I would never be able to keep this boy – this new born simply needed arms and love to nurture him through the time until a permanent home was readied. This babe’s mother had conceived him, birthed him, named him, loved him enough to realize she simply could not care for him and so early one morning I was presented with this little one day old bundle – a beautiful bundle of life, all dressed in blue. Immediately he was in my arms, he entered deep into my heart. I rested this little one in the crib that had been prepared for my yet to be born babe. His language was easy to learn. His needs were easy to fill. His care was so natural. Soon he opened his eyes but even with his eyes closed, he was grabbing onto my finger and holding tight. I completely forgot that he was not to be with me forever, that I would never see his first step, never hear his first words. I just loved him and loved him deeper every moment. The feel of his face nuzzling my neck, his after bath freshness, his full tummy burp – all became part of my life. Around the three month anniversary of his arrival suddenly the life of my yet to be born baby was at risk. I was told I could not continue to care for the one who was already born without compromising the life of the one waiting to be born. I could not continue to hold both the one in my arms and the one in my womb. I had to make a choice. Both babies were loved. Both babies were wanted. And yet I had to choose. Agonizingly I chose to give up the one already born to save the one not yet born. Even knowing he would have a new safe permanent forever home the grief remains with me to this day. It is a strange grief – the joy, the treasure and the beauty of the life of my safely born daughter is immense, beyond words really – and yet still all these years I wonder about my momentary baby boy, what has become of him, is he happy, is he well, is he loved, is he loving?

Sometimes we are asked to give up something that has been born for something not yet born – something tangible for something not yet seen – the known for the unknown - our own hopes and dreams for another's. I find myself in that season again.

And it is no easier this time – hour after hour the choice silently screams – grief waits – but I can only consider the One who is asking me to make this choice and I must trust that there will be much beauty, much joy, much comfort in that which is not yet born. And because it is He who asks, I will choose again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

seeing moment

this summer I was introduced to the heart
of an emerging worship leader
his name is Godfrey Birtill
the words below belong to one of his songs
and this season of looking to the Babe
I am reminded again and again
that you cannot see the manger
without also seeing the cross
and so I share these words
I proclaim these words
I sing these words
over my family
over my friends
over this land
over the church

When I look at the Cross,
All I see is love, love, love
When I stop at the cross,
I can see the love of God.

But I can’t see competition
I can’t see hierarchy
I can’t see pride or prejudice
Or the abuse of authority
I can’t see lust for power
I can’t see manipulation
I can’t see rage or anger
Or selfish ambition.

But I can’t see unforgiveness
I can’t see hate or envy
I can’t see stupid fighting
Or bitterness or jealousy
I can’t see empire-building
I can’t see self-importance
I can’t see back-stabbing
Or vanity or arrogance

I see Surrender, Sacrifice
Salvation, Humility
Righteousness, Faithfulness
Grace, Forgiveness

Love, love, love (x 12)
When I stop at the cross,
I can see the love of God.

Monday, December 19, 2005

overwhelming moment

this past Saturday evening
we gathered
for our first Christmas dinner
in the dining room of
the National House of Prayer
once again I was overwhelmed
by the goodness and mercy
of our God Who faithfully provides
out of His abundance
this building
that was a house of prayer
and is again
a House of Prayer
I was aware of the great cloud of witnesses
who joined with us
as we ate, laughed, cried, prayed
and ate some more
there was time for reminiscing
for honoring
for blessing
for prophetic words to be spoken
the significance of being
in the shadow
of the Peace Tower
was not lost on anyone
there was also an awareness
of the heaving of the land
in the throws of its labour
but it was the ticking of the clock
signifying this eleventh hour
that rammed me to my knees
I literally could feel the soil
of this land Canada
shaking, quaking
under the footsteps of the Lord
as I pressed my face
into the freshy waxed floor
now wet with my tears
the wail from deep within
was no longer able to be contained
the fancy clothes forgotten
it was simply a moment to travail
there is a weightiness of these times
and I wonder
in the midst of the partying
will there be found room
in this inn
called Canada

Saturday, December 17, 2005

seed moment

I have been thinking a lot about the Christ child
and how before He was a child
He was one human female reproductive cell
made viable not by another human cell
but by the energizing activity of the Spirit of God
an integration of the human and divine natures -
the infinite eternal Son of God
confined to the potentiality of one cell

God stepped into the very heart of the human processes
He came through the very system which He Himself had created for us
He was not ashamed of us as He identified Himself with us
Emmanuel: God with us

God WITH us
not far away
not unreachable but down here inside the mess
within His callings
experiencing it all
for us
with us

this is the God
who gathers us to worship

this is the God
we are created to worship

this is the God
Who only asks that we love Him

will there be room in the inn this season

Thursday, December 15, 2005

angst moments

this is not neat and tidy
nothing grammatically correct
just laying out some thoughts, wonderings, ponderings and angst

has religion beheaded the church

what is the church
what is church

am I struggling with the wrong questions
should I be replacing all the whats with a simple who

when Jesus starts to press his finger prints on a heart, change starts from the inside
only after the inside is tampered with does the outside reflect that change

when Mary received the visitation from the angel, the change – this Almighty-containing seed – was not visible to anyone else for a bit although she knew that time would come
she simply pondered and carried this seed on the inside
only in the fullness of time was the change evident on the outside
only in the fullness of time did the birth happen
and even then, this was just a baby, right?
like any other baby
nothing profound for 12 years
and then only a glimpse causing more pondering, more wondering for another 18 years

the disciples – a slightly odd bunch – like the church of today?
some soft and quiet, some louder and pushy
jockeying for position
Jesus only once asked for help and he asked it of this slightly odd bunch
He simply asked that they would stay awake one night

they listened, waited and fell asleep
not once
but twice

later Jesus asked His friends to stay together, gather in a particular room and wait
some did
most did not
the waiting, the gathering they did not understand
did not quite fit their agendas and so they left, went outside

it is this waiting that seems to be a problem

Mary was willing

Moses built this huge boat in his backyard, took a long time
must have caused him to set aside his own agenda, his own dreams and hopes to build this thing
people laughed but he had heard he was to build

he built
he waited
and the rains came

I am the church
but alone I am not the church
the church is only seen when all the living stones come together accepting their positioning,
their placement by the pierced Hand

this present organization is not the church but it consists of the church
simply because I am in it

could it be that my purest, deepest, truest, worship is simply my submission to this organization, living in the tension of the knowing this organization is not church

but is it a womb from which church could be birthed?

if I close my fist around what I have been gifted with and leave
am I simply saying I know better, I like my dreams, my agenda better than yours

like a sulky child, leaving the game and taking the ball away

and if I stay in this organization that is not the church
will I lose the tension
will the tension become familiar
like an old elastic that loses its elasticity
stretch it and it simply snaps

who influences my decisions
who even influences my wondering
who reveals the tension
who is the tension

have to be so very careful here

who am I aligned with
who am I serving
who am I listening to
who am I submitted to

it has been said the glory of God is seen when we learn how to touch one another
there is favor on the touching this season

it is important, this touching, as one by one lives are being changed
hearts are being softened
hunger is being birthed
Jesus is being seen

all within this organization that is called church but is not church
but does contain the church yet cannot contain the church

Jesus entered our midst from within, from the womb of one of His made

if we all leave and go out how can we assist a birthing from within

I hear the 30 somethings expressing the same hungering angst I expressed years ago, even the old word paradigm has surfaced again

yes, it has been a long wait –
will I be obediently positioned and found in the right room, awake, when the wait is over

will my worship stand the test of the wait

Anna too waited a long time – and she waited in the temple

but the angst is good – just proves the tension of the Promise still holds

even in the wondering if religion has beheaded the church

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

taken by the hand moment

feeling surrounded lately
by events
hard to see
to find
a path through it all
and I suddenly remembered
a moment this past summer
when I had to trust
and take the hand of a stranger
this man who said
he knew a place
there was no trail
no path
and with some trepidation
I allowed him to lead me
because I knew I could not find the way myself
the difference today
is in knowing the Hand
that I must take
it is not a stranger
but my closest Friend
who will lead me
because know I cannot find the way myself

have you found it yet
come, let me show you

his steps were swift and sure

look carefully
learn to read the signs

he led me deeper amongst the trees
down a bit
over the mossy rock

I recognized the sounds
and feel
of a moment

suddenly my eyes saw
that which my heart had been longing to know

bathed in light
serene in its being

a poustinia

drawing near I hesitated
go in he said

opening the door
I entered the voice of my Beloved

I have been waiting for you

Saturday, December 10, 2005

letting go moment

slowly she celebrated the sacrament of letting go
first she surrendered her green
then the orange
and red
finally she let go her brown

shedding her last leaf she stood
empty and silent
stripped bare
leaning against the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust

standing in silence
wearing the colour of emptiness
her branches wondering
how to give shade with so much gone

and then
the sacrament of waiting began

the sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness
clothing her with silhouettes
they kept her hope alive
they helped her understand
that her vulnerability
her dependence and need
her emptiness
her readiness to receive
were giving her a new kind of beauty

every morning and every evening
they stood in silence
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting

few moments

a box

the tiniest body

sticking in the throat

screaming in their silence

God gives
God takes

we easily celebrate the giving
can we worship in the taking

a song has been written
to celebrate the moments of this life

this song will be sung this morning
as we gather

to honor
the Giver
Who has chosen
to take

what is this love
that the One who gives
could risk our response
to His taking

Friday, December 09, 2005

snowy moments

today it snowed

each flake individually made
falling one by one
released with love
from the Hand
of the Artist
of our life


as if God shook out a feather-filled comforter
and laid it over the earth
bedding us down for winter

this season
when everything sleeps
into the spring

a quiet gestation
in the womb of creation

a sacrament of waiting
for new life

Thursday, December 08, 2005

a thin line moment

such a thin narrow slippery little line
separating light from dark
good from evil

how many walk
carefully along this line
step by step
one foot
deliberately placed
directly in front of the other foot
toe to heel
toe to heel

doesn’t take much

just a little puff of the winds of life
to cause a stumble
a little slip
an off balance moment

with an immediate plunge deep into darkness

this thin narrow slippery little line

get off it!

don’t even try to walk it

move over
well over
miles over

into the light

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

name moments

I have been pondering names
my name
your name
our names

why are we given our name

is it the meaning behind the name
and when we discover that meaning
do we try and “become” our name

is it because the name holds a comforting memory
of some one
some thing
some time
some place

names given a baby
spoken like a blessing
like a caressing
like a signature

wrapping this new life
in the swaddling clothes of a name

is there a danger
of allowing our name to give us our identity

what if we do not particularly like our name

can we have so many names
they only cause confusion

and I think of Jesus
who was really named Jeshua
over the years we changed His name
to suit our tongue
but His mother named Him
as she was instructed

and I think of how His name is spoken
with awe

and in anger

often the name spoken
in total ignorance
of the man
the person
the child
who yet today lives and bears that name

and I think of Mary
who waited outside the tomb
her eyes clouded by
I am not sure all the components of her clouding

but this clouding caused her not to see
the One she had come to seek

and it was only in the speaking of her name
that her vision cleared

however it was not simply her name
but the sound
the tone
the love
with which it was spoken

I am coming to understand
it is not our name that is as important
as it is the mouth
that speaks it

the lips
the tongue
that our name falls from

your name
my name
is only safe in the mouth of a friend

our words
the overflow of all that is in our heart

you must be loved in a heart
to be safe in a mouth

whose mouth speaks my name

whose name is in my mouth

Sunday, December 04, 2005

free moments

the work of the hands of God
is a living person
a human heart
and this human person
can look at God and say
I love You
You are beautiful
this human person can freely enter
into relationship with God
they can speak together
they can rest in one another
they can celebrate together
the Maker and the made
can be in love with one another
Only God
the source of all life
can take this great risk of creation
for the "made" can say yes
but also

the fullness of the plan of God
known in its entirety only to God
but each person
generation to generation
is able to say yes
to the unfolding of this plan
a very little yes
but freely said

Saturday, December 03, 2005

best moment

someone asked me last evening
about the best moment of my week -
and I thought about what that meant

would that be a moment that
brought me the greatest pleasure
or happiness

or would it be a moment
when I gave my best

not performing my best
or receiving my best

just being my purest

the me
of me

and that would have to be
the moment of kneeling
and washing the feet
of those who presently live on the streets

some live there by choice
and some live there because of circumstance

some live there sober
and some numb living there

some live there alone
and some live there in a family of sorts

some live there hard
and some live there relatively easy

but each one is someone's son
or someone's daughter

and each one lives there openly
right in our midst
and yet unseen

to ease our conscience
we throw a loonie
or maybe even two

and we throw it
so as not to get too close
so not to have to look
so not to have to see

and it is these sons and daughters
who allow me to kneel before them
and wash their feet

one by one
toe by toe

to soften and ease
the crust of their existing

washing the blood
of life wounds

holding these feet
that walk a road I have never walked
and know very little about

and it is not even the washing of the feet
but the opportunity
to touch
with tenderness
with hope
with acceptance

to look up
directly into eyes
that see
but are seldom seen

to spend time
all the time they wish
and seeing

because of the stuff of their life
we are told to "glove up"
but I just cannot
it would only sterilize the touch

these sons and daughters
if ever
are touched

it is the touching that makes a difference

and the simple fact
that they allowed me to touch
was the best moment
of my week.

Friday, December 02, 2005

today's moment

so got all that out

and Monday
the thing comes out

actually slept a bit last night
although in the closing of my eyes
dreams filled my sight

pounding on a door
no one could hear
or was it
no one wanted to hear

weird scenes
weird people
weird sounds

didn't like it much
still don't

today is a treat

all morning booked
with this lovely man

so gentle
so pure in his seeking of his Lord

had it all
and then
had nothing

starting over
struggling to see
beyond the horizon of his past

understanding now the whys
of his fear of success

today is a treat

I can do this

Thursday, December 01, 2005

whammo moments

regular day, right?

full agenda

one by one
down the list

then whammo

an out of the blue
off the wall
out of all boxes


sounds amazing
seems to fit perfectly
tastes so good

is it what it appears
is he who he says

will it change
will he change

will it end
like the other

have I already been here
already done this

and when the cost
gets too high



leaving pieces

and while pondering all this

whammo # 2

does not look good
must come out
not tomorrow

this thing
suddenly there
where it had not been


is anything what it seems

is anyone who they seem

by flesh


and the point
of even thinking of a third is .............?