Saturday, December 29, 2007

lingering moments

as snow falls
during this deepening of winter
I yet linger
near a manger

with the simple heart of a child
and aging bent knees of surrender
in adoring awe
to gaze upon the face
of God

I wonder at this God
who would so risk
entrusting himself
to the care of man

wanting to go and tell
yet unable to move
I am captivated by this heart
beating in a tiny naked chest
and can only burrow deeper
and deeper
into these silent moments
between mystery
and revelation

Friday, December 28, 2007

blessed moment

blessed is she
with children
like olive plants
around her table

Thursday, December 27, 2007

lily moment

snow and ice
hold the earth imprisoned
somewhere it seems
a lily is shedding its perfume
how strange
for it is winter
and lilies
do not bloom
in the snow

dwell moment

dwelling in the ground of my soul
where God joins me

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday moment

there is a constant yearning within me
to seek the hidden places of my world
to find a place where I am really alone with God
where my human horizons are somewhat limited
so my spiritual horizons might grow without distractions

a place where I am there
not for myself
but for others

a place where closing the wings of my intellect
opens the door of my heart

the silence strips me
the Lord of this silence also strips me

I come because I am tired
and desire only to rest on the breast of my Beloved
for to touch God
I must touch humanity
and there has been much human touching this season

the silent stillness comes to greet me
and lead me further into advent
to the expected one
the child in the cave
the child who is God

there is a stillness
holy stillness in these moments
and I
I am cocooned within this cradle of stillness
into which the Word
who came from heaven
comes to rest

the stiller the water
the more perfect the reflection

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

advent moment

God's astounding
and radical intervention
in our human history
cannot be contained in the tame
and timid
displays of Christmas lights
catchy slogans
or the exchange of gifts

advent confronts us once again
with God’s unparalleled effort
to communicate the message
that all humankind is embraced
and held close
by a God of love

Jesus Christ has come
is present with us
and will come again
in final victory
when all darkness
and evil will be no more

Monday, December 17, 2007

hug moment

offer hugs
to those who look as though they need them
even more important
listen to their stories

Thursday, December 13, 2007

explaining moments

it is in the wondrous
silence of God
I come to know who God is
where I learn of God Himself
through God Himself
for me
I must continuously find a place
where I can enter into this silence of God
and meet His Word
in that silence
where I can wait for that revelation
and not rush
or force
or tear at the hem of His mystery
where I wait for God
to explain
whatever it is
He wants to explain

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

answer moment

I have been asked what God is doing in heaven.
I answer;
He has been giving his Son birth eternally,
is giving him birth now
will go on giving him birth forever.
The Father
being in labor,
as a woman
giving birth to a child,
in every virtuous soul. -
Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

truth moment

the wolf
will live with the lamb
the panther
lie down with the kid
fat-stock beast together
with a little boy to lead them
the cow and the bear will graze
their young will lie down together
the lion will eat hay like the ox
the infant will play over the den of the adder
the baby will put his hand into the viper's lair
no hurt
no harm will be done
on all my holy mountain
for the country will be full of knowledge of Yahweh
as the waters cover the sea
Isaiah 11:6-9

Monday, December 10, 2007

faithful moment

a good man is not a perfect man
a good man is an honest man
faithful and unhesitatingly responsive
to the voice of God in his life
John Fisher

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday moment

conviction of sin
is the threshold
of an understanding of God

it is through panging pains of repentance
crashing into man's respectable goodness
the door opens into the Kingdom

the Holy Spirit
producer of these agonies
begins the formation of the Son of God in the life

dare we pray for the gift of tears

Friday, December 07, 2007

Bethlehem moments

God of December darkness
and Christmas light
deepen my longing
heighten my expectation
make pregnant my hope
I know that within my heart is a Bethlehem
a place where light shines
with tender memories
a place where angelic voices sing
loud and clear
a place of wonder and awe
delight and calm
God of December darkness
and Christmas light
journey with me during these days
so that I may know
and prize
my Bethlehem moments

Thursday, December 06, 2007

family moment

was spent with my brothers
has been spent with my sisters
family is a wonder
being a part
of a whole
there are no words really
just a knowing
of belonging
of loving
and being loved
no competition
simple acceptance

Thursday moment

I went for a walk very early this morning
silence and stillness enveloped all
winter solitude
in a world of one color
only the sound of wind
in my ears
in my heart
I am in love
with this Wind
of the sound

Sunday, December 02, 2007

foot washing moment

the basin
filled with the water of His willingness
to suffer
for us
whose feet are dirty

this same water
in the basin
is available for us to use for one another
to offer to another who has been exposed in a weakness
or who has offended us personally

too often we sling mud
rather than humbling ourselves
with the girding of a towel

Saturday, December 01, 2007

prayer moment

prayer is not words
moments of feeling holy
prayer is the moaning of all that is unanswered
unfinished in us
prayer is the ache
of the unbreathed breath

Friday, November 30, 2007

battle moments


for a soul

for a life

for a family

for three girls

our weapon is worship

our strategy is a pillar of fire

our commander is all powerful

our armor is in place

the troops are rallied

the kneeling army in place

shoulder to shoulder we stand

and in the midst of the battle
we will find rest
at His feet

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

mystery moment

your mystery
is woven around me
like a shawl
that invites me to rest

Saturday, November 24, 2007

careful moment

if you pray for humility
be careful
humility is learned
Russian proverb

morning moment

two things bring us to God

Friday, November 23, 2007

hand moment

all of us are like the prodigal son
needing more desperately than anything else
the strong and gentle embrace of the hands of God

we must be those hands for each other
not someday
but today. …

let us be gentle with each other

let us touch each other

let us touch even those
who seem in some superficial way to be different

for we are all of us sons and daughters of God

when we invite Jesus into our heart
His response might be that
He wishes to bring all those we consider unlovely
with Him

Thursday, November 22, 2007

snow moment

ministry moment

ministry is a cup
that cannot be sipped

this cup has to be emptied
right to the very bottom

the fizz
the surface
the first sip
is one thing

but the entire cup
including the dregs
is something else entirely

I stood alongside my brother
as he drank the entire cup
right to the bottom

the cup was his to drink
standing alongside was my choice

it was drunk well


drop by drop

there was a weight to this drinking
that caused a bending over
a weeping in the spirit

deep longtime friendship was in this cup

the mantle of authority accepted
and worn well

shoulders drooped in sadness
even so
the mantle was worn well

I will never forget
this moment of drinking
the cup

the cup
offered by a pierced hand

and accepted
by one who walks
with a limp

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

parting moment

last evening there was a dinner
a surprise dinner
for a most amazing couple

this husband and wife
stepped away from their lives in England
stepped away from their home
their children
and their ministry
to serve in a foreign land

they came to Canada
for three months
which became six months
which then became ten and a half months

I met them the day of their arrival
in the snow
and the cold
and we instantly fell in love with one another

they had their first walk on a frozen lake
and discovered they loved walking on water

we slid together
on our backsides
down the long hill
that leads to the house

we have shared many laughs
some tears
lots of firsts
tons of hugs

I have learned so much
I have grown so much

my life has been deeply enriched
and my heart greatly enlarged
by this beautiful couple

and last evening
we had our final dinner together
our final hugs
our final laughs
and some tears

right now
they are airborne
flying back across the pond
to their family

to say I will miss them is a huge understatement
to say I will be forever grateful for knowing them
doesn't even scratch the surface
to say I am looking forward to seeing them again
is wonder-filled

they have been
and will continue to be
a gift
not only to me
but to everyone who meets them

au revoir Ginny and Martin
safe trip
thank you for all the kingdom seeds
you have planted in this land

see you soon

Monday, November 19, 2007

yesterday moments

my table was full again
and it was very very wonderful!

laden with food
rimmed with bodies

every dish
every cup
every glass
all filled and refilled

we gathered shortly after noon
and parted shortly before midnight .......

it was soooooooooo good

some serious talk
some tears

meeting one another
in the midst of communion

meeting God in one another
in the midst of communion

we had church

we were the church

we are the church

Thursday, November 15, 2007

coming down moment

my tree is coming down
as I type this

a humungous truck
orange hard hatted men
flashing lights

the quiet of the morning
filled with raw sounds

it is as if a friend has died
and is being taken away

for 30 years
this tree has sheltered my front window
and robins
and cardinals
and nuthatches
and chickadees
and squirrels

and within moments
it will be no more

down to the ground
roots pulled
as if it never was

too much coming down in my life
too fast




Wednesday, November 14, 2007

solitary silent moments


a place where we are freed from the victimizing compulsions of the world
a place of great struggle and great encounter

solitude does not mean privacy
but a quality of the heart that cannot be disturbed
by the needs of others
an infinite space into which anyone can be invited

silence makes solitude a reality

words should be born out of silence
and lead deeper into silence

the Word of God
born out of the eternal silence of God

the Word of God does not break the silence of God
but rather unfolds the immeasurable richness of His silence

silence teaches us to speak

much can be said
without much being spoken

remembering moments

November 13th
would have been my mom's birthday

as we gathered 'round the table
of bread and wine
with our friends last evening
it was good
very good
to speak of her
give thanks
and share her last moments
whom the Lord sets free
is free indeed

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

acceptance moment

take now thy son
Genesis 22:2

not presently

the sacrifice is worked through in will
before it is actually performed

Abraham did not choose the sacrifice

God chose the cup for Abraham
Abraham accepted
and moved forward in his acceptance

it is in the drinking of the cup
we learn to know God better

Monday, November 12, 2007

authentic moment

“I like stinky old people who have nothing.
Simple lives.
People with nothing to prove.
People who are not complicated.
They are authentic.
That is a great word: ‘authentic.’
Whatever it means."
Ethan Hubbard

Friday, November 09, 2007

bruised and smoldering moments

a bruised reed has a certain numbness
numb and hurting in their spirit
desperate in their loneliness and rejection

reeds grow on the river bank
it is a delicate task hollowing them out
to make a musical pipe

our hands
often clumsy
we easily bruise the reed in the process

when bruised
it is considered useless for making music
and is thrown away


God delights in taking these bruised reeds
and making them into fine tuned instruments
for his orchestra

the song of God among men
was a bruised reed

a wick floating in oil
gives light
if the oil runs out
the stench of the burning wick is obnoxious
and one is quick to throw it away


Jesus takes the smoking remnant of a life
and makes it into the light of the world
he will not extinguish
a burning wick

there are some who sit on the edge of life's craters
and inhale the sulphur of defeat
and sin


it is a bruised reed
that plays the strongest song of grace

it is a bruised reed that will be fitted
to minister grace to the lonely and wounded
giving them the grace
deeply received from God

those who have been wounded
make the best healers

many times the broken reed
we throw into the river as useless
is the very instrument God uses
to bring his grace to us
in the moment of our need

the fact is
God lives in my wounded brother

so many bruised reeds have experienced
their friends falling asleep
when they needed them
to just be there

it is not necessary to give answers
simply stay close
and pray

Ezekial had no answers
but he was willing to sit
with the captives
in their despair
for a week
with his mouth shut
this afternoon
with no answers
and my mouth shut
I sat
on the edge of the crater
with a bruised reed
a smoldering wick
I can only pray
there will be one
who will stay awake with me
should I be bruised
and left smoldering

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

sabbath moment

for everything there is a season
sometimes on the Sabbath
all you can do
is settle into the soft body of yourself
and listen to what it says

listen to the exhaustion
that is deeper than tiredness
the hunger
that is for more than food
the thirst
that is for more than drink
the longing for comfort
that is more than physical

on the Sabbath
body and soul reach out for time of a different sort
time that is full of space rather than activity
time to watch the burning bush in your own back yard
the movement of the wind among bare branches
the last leaf that clings to the branch
before its final letting go
letting go is hard
letting go of that which no longer works
that which no longer brings joy and meaning
that which is no longer full of life
it seems cruel
that something that used to be so beautiful
should fall to the ground
sinking into the earthy mud
along with everything else that is dying
no longer recognizable for what it used to be
it seems cruel
but it is the way of things
one generation gives its life
for the next
one season slips away
so another can come
one crop of fruit falls from the tree
so that more can be borne
one wave recedes
while another gathers strength
to crash upon the shore
it seems cruel
but it is the rhythm of things
and rhythm has its own beauty

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

arise moment

most of us fall
and collapse
at the first
grip of pain
we sit down on the threshold of God's purpose
and die away of self-pity
and all so called Christian sympathy
will aid us to our death bed
but God will not
He comes
with the grip of the
pierced hand of His Son
and says
enter into fellowship with Me
arise and shine

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

how moment

how did it happen
that an academic gown
is the official garb of ministers
that one of the main criteria
for admission to the pulpit
is a
university degree

stone moments

why is it
so many hands
within the body of Christ
hold a stone

or are reaching
for a stone

for some
the stone
has been held for so long
the hand has formed around it
wombing a stone

and what is the finger of God
writing about this
on the tablets of our stony hearts

Sunday, October 28, 2007

wondering moment

although absolutely ecstatic about the 4000
who gathered last night
to pray and worship
the One True God
it has left me wondering
why double that number
are expected today
to listen to a counterfeit
when will we wake up
and when we do

will it be too late

Saturday, October 27, 2007

nugget moments

while attending a teaching seminar
over the last few days
there have been some gems
some pearls
dropped at our feet

in the quiet of the land
there are watchers
those who wait

the Eternal One had a new beginning
at the time of incarnation

Jesus comes
not pointing a finger
but with nail pierced hands

too often
we hide
behind the stuff of our lives

we are baptized in the tears of obscurity

an encounter with God in obscurity
changes the way you walk
leaving one with a limp

the wilderness is our place of transition -
when all that is familiar is behind you
and all that is before you is unknown

Jesus makes an entrance in the storms of our life

listen for the voice of humility

in the time of choice
we often go after our own cravings .............

Friday, October 26, 2007

holding moment

John Gebhardt in Iraq

This little girl's entire family was executed.
The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also
and shot her in the head...
but they failed to kill her.
She was cared for in John's hospital and is healing up,
but continues to cry and moan.
The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down,
so John has spent the last four nights holding her
while they both slept in that chair.
The girl is coming along with her healing.

We cannot control the Wind but we can adjust our sails.

ministry moments

the stuff of ministry is
sometimes hard
sometimes lonely
sometimes earth shattering
sometimes filled with wondering
sometimes absolutely glorious

as was yesterday

a room filled to overflowing with shepherds
standing shoulder to shoulder
heads lifted
eyes focused beyond the hills
on the Creator of the hills
worshiping together
one heart
one voice
one God

and then
kneeling at one another's feet
sometimes weeping
sometimes laughing
sometimes silent
sometimes loud

and giving thanks
for one another

moments like this
hugely soften the hard times

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

title moments

there is a huge sadness in me
when seeing
those who would seek position
seek being noticed
seek a title

the hole inside their heart
must be so big
their loneliness
so huge
when never discovering
their true identity

the effort it must take
to continually climb
and never rest
in contentment

I was struck
the other day
by the colors of the opposite shore

the blending
the distinction

one brilliant red tree
standing alone
is amazing

but when standing
shoulder to shoulder
with the greens
and all that is inbetween
perfection is seen

within the body of Christ
there is so much striving
to stand out
to shove aside the other colors

a huge scrabbling of stones
eventually causing the whole house to tumble

mercy moment

there is this deep yearning
to be so fully aware
of God's great mercy
that life itself becomes a ministry
where there is hardly any difference
between doing and being

Sunday, October 21, 2007

overflowing moments

this is one of those weeks
when every bed in the house is full
three blow up beds full
a body on each couch

the table groans under the weight of the food
chairs snuggled tight together so no one is ever left out

laughter floating everywhere

and at times not so quiet,

I am missing the piano
but grateful for the fingers
that strum the guitars

constant gurgling of the coffee pot
and whistling of the kettle

it seems someone is cooking something all the time

there is so much love in every room
every corner

so many hugs
even tears have a deep sweet fragrance

all the little noises
in the quiet of the night

life is very beautiful
and so much more so when lived in midst of people
who love each other

I am deeply blessed by these moments

Thursday, October 18, 2007

asking moment

are you willing
to step outside of your day
away from your disappointments
your fears
your dashed hopes

are you willing
to come up here
and see things with Me

are you willing
to step away from all that is easy
all that is familiar
all that brings comfort

are you willing
to step aside from who man has said you are
from your giftings
from where you have been

are you willing
to come higher
and see what I see

are you willing
to lay down all that has been given you
to exit places you have entered
to be hidden in new places

are you willing
to climb to the top
and step out with nothing underneath
but My arms

are you willing
to have all your props removed
and only My promises to hold you up

are you willing
to step out from under the robes of deferred hope
that have become so familiar
and easy to wear

are you willing
to soar
to run and not grow weary

are you willing
to dream My dreams
to sing My songs
to let go of everything
but My hand

are you willing
for me to untie
the laces of your boots
that have become so heavy

are you willing
to remove the clothes of man
and wear the robe I have for you

are you willing
to open your hand
and release it all

are you willing
to die
in order to live

are you willing
to not even consider the cost
as you let go

one by one

as your hands open

as you climb the ladder of praise
with your feet on the rungs of worship
step by step
speaking My Name

are you willing
to discover


Monday, October 15, 2007

choice moment

we have nothing to offer God
except our choice to be with Him
and that is a choice
that no one but Him
is likely to put any value on

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Enoch moments

thinking of Enoch

walking with God

was it
to get into step with God

and then
to keep pace with Him

that means too that Enoch
must have been easily willing to rest
when God rested

we seem to have lost the art of resting
of even seeking rest

how wide is the stride of God
how fast is the pace of God

how wonderful it must have been
to simply hear the laughter of God
and join in

did they rub shoulders as they walked

did they help one another up steep hills
or to cross a creek

did they ever lack for words

was there immediate understanding of each other
or the need for questions

I have gone on prayer walks
with some who are much much taller, wider, higher, stronger than I am
which, for me, necessitated a half run half walk pace

is this how Enoch kept up with God

I so desire to absolutely learn the rhythm of God
and move/live/rest easily in it
for the remainder of my walking days

Friday, October 12, 2007

hand moment

God asks
what is that in your hand
surely he knows
so why does he ask
could it be to simply draw our attention
to the very thing within our reach
granting an opportunity to lay it at his feet
our ability
our treasured possession
all at his disposal

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

silent moments

I had absolutely no idea so many people
take the time
to read my stumbling words .....
I am sorry I have been silent for a bit
thanks for your calls and mail .......
your care and interest
have helped to reweave the tattered fabric
I am
or rather will be
just traveling a road
of unravelling
one thing I have learned
when you ask God to expose everything
that needs to be exposed
you should also ask Him
for preparation
to deal with all that will be seen

Monday, October 01, 2007

awake moment

our world overflows
our narrow measurements
and begins revealing the dimensions
of our God

we may ignore but we can nowhere evade
the presence of God

the world is crowded with Him

the real labor is to remember to attend

in fact
to come awake

still more
to remain awake

C.S. Lewis

Saturday, September 29, 2007

positioning moment

what position
do you assume
face to face
with a serpent
in your own garden

Friday, September 28, 2007

crack moment

I had a vision of a house.

Every time a crack appeared in the wall
I dashed out to repair it as quickly as possible
like most of us do
so that the inside of the house
was protected
and kept safe from the weather
and the storms.

and the Lord said to me

this is what your Christian life is like
whenever any cracks appear in the wall
that has been built up about you
over the years
by the world
and by yourself
you dash out
and fill in the cracks
so that no one is able to see what is inside

But I want the world to be able to see what is inside

I want to be able to come in
through the cracks into your life
and I am not going to fill them up either.

I am going to flow in and out of these cracks.

So when you see the cracks appear in your life
do not rush out and fill them in

Let Me come in.

David Mattches

Thursday, September 27, 2007

breakfast moments

early this morning
80+ shepherds
ventured out of their individual pastures
to break bread together

worship together

pray together

be together

all these individual houses of prayer
became one house of prayer
inside a house of prayer

the most wonder-filled part
was that no one wore a name tag
and so
no one wore a title

no one dressed in the robes of leader

all wore the shoes of a servant

as the bread was broken
and shared
one with another
hearts opened

the hugs were tight
and genuine

we took a moment
touched one another

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

silent moments

only in silence
do the tongueless speak
the wind

only in true silence
do the rocks cry out
and the bread whispers
break me

only the silence
can hear songs
hidden in the dust
and bear the laughter
of the awakening land

Monday, September 24, 2007

cap moment

just who is this wildly imaginative God

who carefully designed a cap

for each acorn nut

Thursday, September 20, 2007

ark moment

who decided to make a new cart

who is touching the ark

how often in the midst of a circumstance of life
in our nervousness
do we put our hand up
to steady the ark

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

wordless moments

yesterday was .............

it was orchestrated that I would spend some time waiting
in a waiting room
a room designed for waiting

lots of waiting

soft colors on the walls
padded chairs
thick rug
piles of magazines - current ones at that
soft music - Perry Como would you believe!
nearby washrooms

the only thing missing
was a percolating coffee pot ............

this is not a room where you choose to wait
this is a room where you wait
after you have already waited
in other waiting rooms

and so
when looking around at the others who are waiting
there is the stark realization
that we are all somehow in the same boat
and no one seems to have a firm grip on the rudder

we are all sailing round and round
on the winds of emotion

I turned to the beautiful tender lady next to me
and simply asked if she wanted to talk

the floodgates opened
and she only needed to cry
to stop "being strong"
and let it out
while being held
in someone's arms

the night before
I had been called
and asked to visit with a family
during the afternoon

a lovely home
manicured lawns
spectacular gardens
even the doorbell had a charming song

inside though
there was palpable tangible fear
and grief
and guilt

and a lovely pain ridden fifteen year-old girl
her mom
her dad

for several months
this child had been complaining of a sore neck

weeks of visits to the chiropractor
had not provided relief

they went to the family doctor
when it was discovered that cancer
had eaten into the neck bones

after further testing
it was learned
this was a secondary cancer
leaking from the kidney

and then they found more
and more

and the choice was offered
to surgically fuse the neck bones
and hopefully prevent paralysis

massive immediate chemotherapy
and radiation

if the surgery was undertaken
any other treatment
would have to be postponed until healing
of the fusion had taken place
and this might mean weeks and weeks and weeks
of letting the cancer spread even further

and so this dilemma

and most of their friends knew a little at least of what was going on
most of their church community knew
and yet

no one was visiting
simply because no one knew what to say

why do we think we must have answers
and if we have no answers
then we must stay away

I have been on the receiving end
but also have been on the guilty end of this scenario

yesterday afternoon
this broken family and I
sat together
and held hands

no words

no platitudes

no false hope

just touching one another

and then the tears came
and the loneliness was expressed

and we have agreed to stay together
to walk this through together
to cry together

and I am positive
there also will be times of laughing together
of rejoicing with one another

take a moment

touch someone

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday moment

while preparing for an appointment this morning
praying my constant prayer

help me

I am struck
by the fact
that Jesus stepped out of his glory
to wrap himself
in my clay

Friday, September 14, 2007

remembering moment

a wonderful woman died early this morning
she was my friend
she remains my friend

she was and remains a friend to many

her best Friend called her home early today
she simply left the arms of her husband
and entered the arms of the One who called

she was quiet
loved to laugh
tenderly strong
an overcomer

a worshiper
and lover
of her Lord

I will miss her deeply
I already miss her

many others will also miss her

in her own gentle way
she gave strength to many

we all are richer for knowing her

her life counted
she lived well
she died well

but there is a hole of lonely sadness in me
no more hugs
no more laughing together until we fall down
no more raising eyebrows at each other across the room

she was a beautiful gift

here for a moment
there for eternity

she was a good woman
and while mourning
I celebrate her life

Thursday, September 13, 2007

identifying moment

too often
there is a moment
when we come to identify
with the clothes
used to cover
our nakedness

Thursday, September 06, 2007

withdrawing moments

many times
Jesus withdrew from the crowds
so they would not be able to
force their agenda upon Him

how often
I wonder
does He withdraw Himself
from our churches today
for the very same reason

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

peace moment

this has been a stunning weekend .......
this ending of August
and beginning of September

one by one
motors stopped
boats disappeared

one by one
docks were pulled out of the water
like raising drawbridges
that enabled man to invade the water

one by one
cars were heard exiting
crushing dry leaves
that littered the road

as man left
ducks and loons returned

the water stilled
the air was thick with peace

during the night
hoots of the owls
competed with calls of the coyotes
and the whippoorwills

dawn brought the thirsting deer
back to the water's edge

turkeys trotting across the road
and through the fields

mink swimming unimpeded

conscious of the deepness of the quiet
this morning
while slipping the kayak into the lake

paddling along its edges
it was wonderful
to see the bare face of the shore again

only rarely was there smoke
rising from a chimney

my favorite time of year
swimsuits during the day
flannelet and wool socks at night

and the peace

the peace

the peace

in a few days
six of us
all women
will be spending four whole days
mostly in silence
in this silence

we have agreed
to only speak
between 7 and 10 each evening
while serving one another communion
and sharing a meal together

six women

will it be possible

I think so .............

Friday, August 31, 2007

alignment moment

the key to unity isn't in one another –
it's in our relationship with Him

the degree to which we will walk in unity
as a body of Christ
is the degree to which we will first recognize
the Headship
and Lordship
of Jesus Christ
and come into alignment with Him

David Demian

Thursday, August 30, 2007

garden moment

last year
a friend gave me a stunning plant
for the garden

beautiful colors
amazing fragrance
strong stem
easy multiplication
was sure to pop up every summer

it looked and seemed happy
last summer
while sturdily blooming

I waited and waited this season
for it to poke its head through the soil
but there was just an empty spot
in the garden

then last week
a little late
seedlings appeared
many of them
fat and healthy

the challenge is
they have appeared
in the grass
not the garden
and are in constant danger
of being mowed down

if I attempt to dig up and transplant
there is a strong chance
roots would be damaged
and perhaps the seedling killed

what to do?

I had a friend given to me
a few years ago

this friend had an amazing aroma
was very beautiful
and brought everyone much joy

after a season or two
this friend pulled up roots
and went into the ground
leaving an empty space
in the garden of my heart

only lately has there been
the hesitant
now and again
of a slow emerging

the challenge here too
is that the emerging is taking place
in an unsafe spot
in impure soil

I am concerned about the soil
the intermingling of roots
which determines the strength of the stem
the brilliance of the flower
and the health of any fruit

what to do?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

unity moment

What is the key to corporate unity?
I believe it’s when we realize
that true unity is not found in collective human strength
or giftedness
but from collective death
and humility
and brokenness
that brings us into a place of submission
to the Lord
and to one another.
David Demian

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

poustinia moment

I introduced my three and a half year old grandson to the poustinia last week -
when he caught his first glimpse through the trees he became very very quiet -
instinctively taking off his sandals at the door, he slipped inside to sit on the cot-
he remained absolutely quiet and still
after some time I asked him what he was thinking .........
his response was
shhhhhhhhh I like the singing
I have never heard the singing .......
but his little ears and heart were filled with it

Sunday, August 26, 2007

sunday moment

as I was leaving church this morning
after a tender wonder-filled service
my beautiful pastor pulled me aside
and asked


at what point
does faith
become fiction .............

I remain arrested by those words
and their wondering

Friday, August 24, 2007

friend moment

there is something a little sadly weird going on


emails fly back and forth between "friends"
who have the choice to respond
or not

if a "friend" was sitting across the table and asked a question
we would respond
or at least acknowledge the question

so why is it
when a question comes via email
we feel we have the right not to respond
or even acknowledge

and now facebook

what exactly does "friend" mean

I get requests from people I have never met
to accept them as "friend" - what is that all about

they know nothing about me
I know nothing about them
and yet
they ask to be a "friend"

why are so many only comfortable
having a relationship
with the distance of the internet between

have we lost the desire to touch
to see
to hear
to wipe the tears from another's cheek
to offer a shoulder
to simply silently be with another
in good times
and not so good times

what happened to the hug

to looking in one another's eyes

if the eyes are the window of the soul
is there a log in the way
so we try to hide from one another
and stay hidden
in the ether of the internet

I admit
I love to touch
and be touched

but the impersonalization
of this whole phenomenon
saddens me

something very valuable
and rich
is disappearing from our lives
and we are less whole in its loss

take a moment
touch someone

Thursday, August 23, 2007

in stone moment

a church in Shiraz, Iran
has the following words
carved in stone
above its door

where Jesus lives the great-hearted gather
we are a door that's never locked
if you are suffering any kind of pain
stay near this door
open it

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
islamic philosopher and poet

Thursday moment

what do you seek

where do you abide

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

son moment

there was a season
when fathers trained their sons
in the family business
by letting them watch
and participate
in what they were doing

the father initiated
and the sons followed

children were not called sons
until they could do what the father was doing

children had not yet learned
to work under the father's authority

we become sons and daughters
by obedient responses to the father's voice

sonship implies a level of maturity
that has learned to submit
to the father

it is still the same
in this season

Friday, August 10, 2007

listening moments

listen to me ........

consider the quarry from which you were mined
the rock from which you were cut

listen to me ...........

what good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling

you must go
and speak
and don't be afraid of the people
for I will be with you
and take care of you

what do you see

i see a pot of boiling water
tipping from the north

my heart is broken
because of the false prophets

the land itself is in mourning ........
its pastures dried up
for the prophets do evil

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

peace moment

woods that have been left alone are quiet
there are birds singing
and the wind sometimes roars through the trees
but there is a special deep peace in those woods
if you walk through them long enough
some of that quiet gets absorbed inside

when nature whispers beauty
I do not always respond well
feverishly I want to get inside
I bang at the glass
it is so beautiful
it is too beautiful
only rarely do I feel calm
equal to the occasion
then I am
S. Russell

Monday, August 06, 2007

pressing moment

one of my great pleasures while at the lake
is walking the roads
alongside the lake
and through the woods

six or so weeks ago
I pulled some grasses to press
thinking I might be able to use them
at some point

this afternoon
realizing it was now time to store them
I opened the press


the aroma was stunning

an amazing sweet fresh scent filled the room

and I realized anew
that it is indeed in the pressing
the fragrance is released

Sunday, August 05, 2007

pot luck moments

there was a potluck at the lake

because I am home now for a few days
I considered whether or not
the four hour round trip drive
was worth it

felt this pulling to go

this is our fourth summer on the lake
and although we have made valued friendships
with some neighbours
we had yet to meet those on the other side of the lake

and so
pot in hand
we decided to attend

the weather was perfect
the hosts were wonderful
the fellowship was rich

there are about 80 cottages on the lake
and my best guess is
40 or so families were scattered on the lawn

there was an abundance of food
a huuuuuuuuge pot of coffee
tubs of beer, wine and pop

in the middle of the groaning table
was a chocolate fountain
surrounded by fresh fruit for dipping

met some absolutely fascinating people

there was one gentle man
who looked like grizzly adams
a massive barrel chest
plenty of hair on his cheeks, chin and in a pony tail
hands like baseball gloves
there was a moment
when beer in one hand
dripping garlic buttered skewered shrimp in the other
tears in his eyes
he simply asked
have you seen the herons dance

another lady
recently widowed
in her early 80's
came over
laid her head on my shoulder
and at that moment said
thank you for praying for me last week
I called my daughter
she is coming to see me tomorrow
and bringing my grandchildren
whom I have not seen for five years

another man overheard me talking about the kayak
and said
have you kayaked during dawn
and at that moment
we agreed to experience the beginning and the ending
together in the middle of the lake
(he too wishes for a coffee cup holder in his kayak)

and in another moment
two more kayakers agreed to join us

another couple drive every Friday night from New Jersey
to spend the weekend on the lake
they spent 3 years building their cottage
on a piece of land
the highest point of the shoreline
in a moment
we agreed to have dinner together in 2 weeks

another woman said she had heard I was on the lake
but did not know how to find me
and suddenly
in a moment
we were sharing dessert
and agreed to spend Tuesday mornings together

there was another young couple
sitting by themselves
under a tree
and in a moment
I recognized the weight on their shoulders
introduced myself
and quickly learned
he was a pastor
recently bitten by the sheep of his pasture

there were some off the wall moments too

accepting the challenge
to jump off the railing of the high deck
and somersault into the lake

and joining the kids on the trampoline
up and down
up and down
over and under

when saying good by and thanking our hosts
they mentioned hearing the singing from our dock
a week ago
asked if they could join us next time
and if he could bring his guitar

in a moment
it was evident
that the aroma of worship had crossed the lake
and touched hearts on the other side

all in all
I am very grateful
for the moment
we decided to go
pot in hand

Saturday, August 04, 2007

rising moments

vapor is drawn up by the sun
and as it gradually ascends
is rarefied
and made pure

the vapor's only contribution to this exercise
is to remain passive
and rise

Saturday's moment

if the Lord does not come into the house
and abide
only a servant will dwell there

Friday, August 03, 2007

singing moment

the woods would be very silent
if no birds sang there
except those who sang best
John James Audubon

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thursday moments

in every man lies a zone of solitude
that no human intimacy can fill and there
God encounters us
Brother Roger

one is always looking
perhaps finding is simply looking further

the building we call church,
merely a scaffolding of struggling souls

only the voice of God
can make the desert sands rejoice

why do we strive to get people to go to church
when we are the church

dying is seeking the inner freedom to let go
and trust something new will be given

dying is moving into life beyond life

the challenge is to live our wounds through
by letting them go into our heart
instead of thinking them through
to let them enter our silence
instead of talking about them
hear the deep strong inner voice of love
and let it lead beyond the boundaries of this life

because of our belief in community
we choose to have no superiors
or inferiors
among us
we choose to be a community of dance and song
in spite of the tendencies of our times
to despair and cynicism
Weston Priory, Vermont

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

invading moment

a friend recently wrote a short article
in which he included the following phrase:
"allow the Lord to invade the ordinary moments of our lives
with His presence"
David Demian

within moments of reading David's words
another friend sent me a note
and I realized he was living what David had written

tent tethered among jackpine and blue-bells
lacewings rise from rock incubators
wild geese flying north
and I can't remember who I'm supposed to be
R MacL

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

dawn moments

even as a young child growing up at the water's edge
there was a yearning to be fully present during the dawn moments
and I would slip out of bed to sit at the end of the dock
in the silence during the ending of night
and the beginning of day

now some decades later
that yearning has only intensified
and I still slip out of bed to sit in silence at the end of the dock
to be fully present during the ending
and the beginning
mostly alone
coffee in hand

it remains a deep privilege
there is a sense of holiness in the hush
as the land yawns itself awake
and the mirror calm of the water ripples in its stretch
to my ears this all takes place in deep silence
but I cannot help but wonder if the silence is only in my ears
does this all take place really with a shout and joyous laughter
dancing excitement
is there an explosion of sound as light bursts the fabric of darkness

a friend recently asked why I thought Moses was told to remove his sandals
was it so that not even a thin slip of leather would separate him
from the holy Presence on the land

and as I have been pondering that
sitting on the end of the dock seemed too far removed
from the ending
and the beginning
this morning
in the fog
I slipped into the kayak to sit in the middle of the lake
to feel its awakening stretch
perhaps tomorrow I might enter into the water itself
to remove the separation of the thin slip of the kayak's skin

Monday, July 30, 2007

wisdom moments

The wedding was beautiful—the happy couple joined together in marriage, witnessed by smiling and crying family and friends in a perfect setting.
Next came the reception and the bride, glowing with joy, had just danced with her father.
And now, the tall, handsome groom had taken me into his arms for the mother-son dance.
As he hugged me tightly he said, “Mom, you look great. It doesn’t even matter that you’re wearing a wig.”
Needless to say, all of the tears I’d managed to hold back so far flooded down my face and our dance became a special moment in time that I will never forget—as memorable to me as the moment this son was born.
But, months earlier, neither of us had been so sure—my son had been quite upset when he learned I would lose all of my hair before his wedding and I’d had plenty of misgivings of my own…
As I contemplate going to Kevin’s wedding in a wig I’m feeling kind of melancholy—running my fingers through my hair, looking at my eyebrows and thinking how I will miss them.
But I must trust that there are new lessons I will learn and share with others.
Every hair on my head is numbered—each one may fall out but God will still know exactly what the current count is.
And, when it’s gone He’ll know the follicle count and the number of hairs that will grow back. He’ll know the color and the texture and just as He knitted me together in my mother’s womb, He will knit me back together again.
This whole episode shouldn’t be about how I look—it’s should be about how much glory He can receive out of my life—it should be about how much damage can be done to the enemy as I stand firm in my faith…
And yet, the idea of no hair and no eyebrows continues to nag at me—this is appearance only, so why does it bother me so much?
I imagine it’s mostly because of Kevin’s wedding, and I want to look really nice.
I don’t want him to be negatively affected by my appearance, remembering for the rest of his life whenever he looks at one of his wedding pictures that his mom had cancer…
It’s interesting that it’s the hair that spurs feelings of not being in control—apparently this is normal because one of the cancer web sites suggested shaving it off before it fell out in order to maintain a sense of control.
Is there an issue of control in my life that needs to be submitted to the Lord?
I surrender all Father—I confess my total helplessness to manage any part of this situation—take all of my scars, including the impending hair loss.
I’d like to consider them as badges of honor, signifying that You have brought me through, and that in each incidence of weakness You were strong.
May each scar and each hair that falls from my body be a reminder to me that my life is not about what I look like or how I feel—let them instead be a reminder of how great is my God…Living without fear is one thing, but how will I handle living without hair?
This won’t jut be a “bad hair day”—it’ll be a “no hair day” that lasts for many months!
What is it about hair that is so important?
How can something with such an unglamorous definition as “a filament growing out of the skin” be so significant in our lives?
Click on a television for five minutes and chances are there will be a commercial for a hair product or a hair restoration method; and of course it’ll promise wonderful, manageable results. Walk into any drug store and observe the shampoos, conditioners, gels, dyes and sprays; combs, brushes, curling irons and hair dryers; hair clips, bands and bows—on and on, aisle after aisle.
Or listen to the lyrics from the hit song from the rock musical of the same name, “Gimme a head with hair; long beautiful hair…I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty, oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen, knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided, powdered, flowered, and confettied, bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!
There ain't no words for the beauty, the splendor, the wonder of my...Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair…”
It’s a given that our society sees hair as vital to our lives, but what does God have to say about it?
A search revealed ninety-nine references to hair in the NIV and a similar number in most other popular versions of the Bible.
For the most part, its significance seems to be as a positive image that implies health and beauty, but hair often symbolizes larger spiritual issues as well.
How could I apply these lessons to my own experience?
Time and again I took comfort in the familiar verses of Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Another passage in Numbers 6 speaks of the treatment of hair if a man or woman wanted to make a special vow of separation to the LORD, “During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the LORD is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long…Throughout the period of his separation he is consecrated to the LORD…Then at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the Nazirite must shave off the hair that he dedicated. He is to take the hair and put it in the fire that is under the sacrifice of the fellowship offering.” (verses 5,6,18,19)
By default this would be a time of separation from the world—I was just too sick and tired to go anywhere or do anything except cry out to God—so…
the only way I know how to deal with this illness is to offer it to God—right along with, I now realize, a possessiveness of my hair.
Father, I give you my hair as an offering of faith…
In prayer I felt as if I was at Jesus feet—like Mary—but instead of washing His feet with tears and drying them with my hair, all of my numbered hairs that fell out were mixed with all of my tears and presented as an offering to him.
Hair is commonly thought of as being symbolic of wisdom, so I’m offering Him all of my earthly wisdom—laying it at His feet along with all of my tears and my pain.
And, as my hair grows back, may it be representative of a new level of godly wisdom in me. Every hair that comes in will be counted, just as the ones that fell out were, and my prayer is that my new physical hair will be a physical picture of God doing a new work in my life.
My hair continues to come out—my eyebrows are almost gone.
I admit it’s hard to look at myself in the mirror sometimes.
I also admit that the upcoming 12 weeks with another round of chemo is not something I look forward to.
I can only continue this because of the certainty that the LORD is with me and He has a plan.
I honestly don’t know how people endure this treatment without God.
No wonder there’s so much fear.
But He is greater than any problem and I will continue to trust him.
I’ve been told the worst is behind me and I’ve made it through almost six months of this—another three and my hair should start coming back.
Lord, how I thank you for the bright spot of Kevin’s wedding in the midst of it all.
What grace and mercy—God’s timing is so perfect.
And He even let me keep enough eyebrows to be able to see where to pencil them in!

Barbara Parker