Saturday, November 26, 2011

Isaiah's Dump Truck Christmas Ornament

I wonder what the prophet Isaiah would put on his Christmas tree. I am thinking he'd have a dump truck Christmas ornament.

When I read Isaiah 40, I hear "Every Valley" from Handel's Messiah resonate in my mind. How incredible that the prophet spoke words of longing for a Messiah using road construction images. He speaks of making a highway in the wilderness, making the path straight in the desert so that every valley is lifted up and every mountain is made low, the rough places made smooth. He beckons us to get out the tractor and the shovel and make a way for the coming of Christ.

In my tradition during Advent, we have a Chrismon tree with symbols of Christ on it in the sanctuary. Maybe we should have an Isaiah tree, too. It could have hardhats and shovels and bobcat ornaments. We could hang dump trucks and cement trucks from the branches, and let's not forget the little leveling tools with the green bubbles in them. Those would be cute!

Advent is a time of clearing the way for Christ, the true WAY, to come. He yearns for a place in each of our hearts. He longs to bring love and justice to a broken world. We don't have to go find Jesus or get our hearts right before him ... these teachings are a remnant of many painful versions of ancient moralistic heresies. We don't go get Christ, Christ comes to us in pure grace. That's what the incarnation is all about. That's what Christmas is all about.

Maybe road construction is what Advent is all about. We don't drive to Jesus, but our part is to make space for him to come.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What I'm Learning About Life from Mountain Biking

As I've been enjoying my new hobby, I've been thinking about what it has to teach me about LIFE. Here's my list so far.

1) The trail is not hard. It's the rocks, roots, limbs, logs, sand, and trees that are hard.
2) You never know what's under those leaves, but you're gonna find out.
3) This is not my trail. Others have worn the path. I am joining in an ongoing adventure.
4) I will fall. This is not an option, so I might as well be ready. That's how I learn my limits.
5) There is no such thing as a comfortable seat. It hurts the first few times, but later you don't even notice.
6) Gear is important, especially the helmet. But gloves and padded shorts sure feel like a close second.
7) There's no shame in stopping or walking. I need wind and water. Rest is part of the adventure.
8) When you meet other travelers on the trail, greet them and make room.
9) Keep your eyes on the trail ahead of you, not on the obstacle right in front of your wheel.
10) Take the bridge. It might look scary but it's better than the alternative. There's a reason somebody built it for you.
11) Either roll over the log without fear, or find a way around it. Those are the only two options.
12) Sometimes I lose myself in the experience and become one with the trail. This is the best part.

This is what I'm learning about life ...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blessing of the Toys Liturgy Published in Interpreter Magazine

This is an article published in the Interpreter Magazine about my "Blessing of the Toys" liturgy. I created it last year since Sunday was the day after Christmas, and plan to use it this year since Sunday lands on Christmas Day.

What a serendipity that they found this online, called me, and wanted to highlight this in their magazine. I'm honored and hope others find it helpful. You can read the article by clicking Children Enjoy Blessing of the Toys .

You can also download the liturgy for use in your congregation by clicking the Blessing of the Toys Liturgy .

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moses by Steve West

What do you hold in your hands? Two Sundays ago, I shared a dramatic musical rendition of "Moses" by Ken Medema in worship. Click the link below to see it.