"Easter is Easy"

Sunday School Lessons can really stick! They inform; they empower! In the hands of a three year old they can create a  precocious theologian who announces on Holy Week that she doesn't understand what all of the fuss is about!  You see I, um...she, understood Easter; Easter is easy for a three year old.  “Jesus got dead.  They put him in a hole, and he got away.”  Out of the mouths of babes… 
Perhaps this is an example of why Jesus said we should have the faith of a child (Matthew 18:2-4).  Yes, there are subtleties about HOW Jesus “got dead.” Was he not really dead? There have been crusades over who “they” might be and how did they put him into “a hole.” Where was the hole?  Then there is the argument/discussion about how “he got away.”     What did Jesus look like after “he got away?”  There is childlike humility in hearing the "what" of a story and living into it.  
Don't get me wrong! Those are important questions to consider as we dig deeper with faith and learn…

Directional-ly Impaired

My family and friends know that I am a little bit directional-ly impaired.  I’m  fine as long as the smart phone battery hangs in there, but if I forget to recharge…I could be circling 86th street for quite a while!

Life can feel like that sometimes.  There are distractions, obligations, self-imposed expectations, and competing priorities that can take focus away from the joy of a life lived in God .  Could that be why Lent is one of my favorite times of the church season?  Yes, I love the pageantry of Easter and the Christmas music, but there is something soothing and comforting about Lent that reorients me.  Often people give something up for Lent as a sign of self-denial.  One year I had to have jaw surgery and gave up talking for Lent.  (Really!) I have friends that give up chocolate, shopping during the week, and even social media. However, one of my favorite things to do for Lent is to “take on” a practice rather than to “give up” a treat.  
The practice came from a bulletin …

Holy Promise People...In the Beginning

Covenants are important and life giving moments in our lives as Christians.  They are moments of promise and faith.  They are moments of action and attention.  They  are important moments that have a unique beginning.

These promises are not chores to check off or dates circled on a calendar; they are holy promises that begin with God.  They all begin
with God choosing us and choosing to be in a relationship with us.  In return we are loved, claimed, and wanted.  This gives us the freedom to respond with truth, kindness, caring, and service to others. We learn about truth when we read God's book of hope and good news.  We care for God's people both our friends, neighbors and ourselves by participating in  Sunday School, Choir School, or VBS. We serve others by living as a people of promise.

How do we live as  promise people?  We do it by remembering that we are HOLY PROMISE People  and lived the truth that so is our neighbor.  This means that we treat everyone the way we would…

Where is the Love--Guest Blogger Rev. Caroline Dennis

(Spiritual Practices for Families: Giving Thanks)

Where is the Love?

In December, amidst the wrappings and the shouts of glee, we found a quiet time to come to the manger and contemplate the great Love that God sent, wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Here, as sparkling Christmas lights give way to snow and rain and ice, as gathered family gives way to bill paying and schedule keeping, how might we hold on those manger moments when we embraced the Love that embraces us? In these more ordinary days, can we still see the light that leads us to Bethlehem, to the ordinary extraordinary places where Love shows up?
Here is my invitation to you, and to your children:  Pause... in the middle of your "what's next" life... to see, hear, touch, smell, taste... all the amazing that is right here and now.  Point it out to one another like we might point out the twinkling lights on a Christmas tree.  Give thanks... for the warmth of the sweater, the wag of the dog tail, the strawberry jam s…

What shall I give Him, poor as I am...

We made it! Christmas is over!  Well, not quite yet, it isn’t.  There are those pesky twelve days of Christmas.  The celebrating could go on and on, if we let it! Goodness, the tree is looking dry and empty without a load of boxes and bags underneath it. The ornaments that were hung with surprise, joy, and fondest memories now look somehow out of place. 
Can we for one moment stop, and think about this?  Think about that first rush of joy when a new child is born, when you first really felt the presence of the living God in your life?  What about the first time a young Sunday School class looked at you in awe of the wonderful stories you were telling them?  That moment sparkled with hope that was bursting with possibility!  Here and now in the “bleak mid-winter” of post-New Years, to borrow from  Christina Rossetti and hymn 144 in the Presbyterian Hymnal Glory to God, we find ourselves in the sleep deprived, post-adrenaline rush, visitor dispersing moments of Christmas.  Epiphany is j…

Let's not be the INN Crowd

Be a Stable People The very best people                     Have the very best seats. The very best people                 Have the very best beds. The very best people                 Have the very best clothes. The very best people                 Have the very best, don’t you know?
You see, they are the INN crowd                 Who were not sent away. They are the INN crowd,                 Who have somewhere to stay. They are the INN crowd,                 Safe and warm in the night. They are the INN crowd,                 But they might miss the light

O Come Let Us Adore Him

Ask a small child to arrange a nativity scene and you might get something like this…
My daughter did something similar to this during her first “active” Christmas Holiday season.  That's the 1.5 year old Christmas where she was making meaning and learning faith stories as fast as her church family and I could tell them to her. She helped me set up our family nativity set minus Jesus; we did this  because we wait until Dec. 24th after church to find Jesus in the manger.  She looked at each piece and named them.  Explaining the story as she went through the box of precious figures, she placed each one with care.  When she finished all I could see were the backs of the shepherds, sheep and camels.  I couldn’t see Mary AT ALL!  It was all wrong. 

As a young mother is want to do, I explained gently that the set should be set up in a “V” so we could see each individual piece. As an almost two year old/who thinks she is an adult will invariably do, my daughter  explained with exasperat…