Surprising Peace, llvl

Sometimes you surprise Peace. Sometimes Peace surprises you.

Tuesday’s ruling was a surprise. Even though I’d been seeing rumors, I hadn’t really been able to allow myself to hope. Could it really happen? Could such a thing be true?

For years, I’d thought what I’d heard, this will only happen when the Federal Government acts against all state bans. The work, in this state, was against the thousands of small villages and townships and cities and their codes that specifically allowed discrimination in housing and workplace. Enough small changes were made that SB & HB 300 are finally in the legislature and look like they have a fair chance of passing. Even our antediluvian governor seemed predisposed to sign this.

But then, boom. And there was dancing in the streets. It’s only now, a day or two later that the wonder sneaks in. If you have witnessed the pain of elder lesbians and gays, years of solid relationship under their belts weeping at young couples’ blithely assuming the right of hallowing their relationships, laws be damned, it doesn’t seem real or possible that, just like that, life is different.

The surprise isn’t lessened when you’ve tried to make your life a Prayer and a Witness for the change. It’s only compounded, I think. So many people for so long have lived in fear or at the very least been forced to accept their position as less than.

Here in a state where the assumption was that Life and Possibility could not stretch that far. and yet they have. Grace. Peace. and overwhelming Joy. Thanks be, to the All that Is!



Dance Peace, LLVL?

So the big question is will we do it? Will we dare to be silly? Will we offer that option to everyone else around us? It’s a little town, we know lots of people, and they know we’re wacky. Are we going to be found at 2 pm on a Saturday, dancing it up?

We’ll have to see… It’d be awfully fun. You show up. You dance. Dance as prayer, dance as being present, dance as a ridiculous wonderful thing!

No one needs to worry what they look like. all you need to think about is will we laugh?

Dance Challenge… making it up and down the street… Some days it’s the little things that build Peace. (and let you have fun, fun, fun)!LLVL12Mar21


Rest. Peace. LLVL

I never realize how important it is to have time off until i finally take it. Too often my time off is doing “things.” Hanging with friends, shopping, getting those chores done — in-house and out. But sloth, slow and beautiful, it’s not often we allow ourselves that.

And it changes you. After a day of not moving it charges your batteries and gets you going. What could be more lovely than an entire day of being present to who and where you are. A day of prayer and quiet.

We must pay attention to the rhythms of our bodies and our mind. And every once in a while shut the systems down for a day for repairs. And then?

Back to work. Back to Peacemaking. There’s a world of choices for ways to use your talents… Hello, I must be going! Enjoy your day.


Neighbors in Peace, LLVL

When I lived in New York, right after college, I had interesting glimpses of my neighbors’ lives through their windows. I would see people cooking, or getting ready for bed. There was the naked lady, the man with his little boy, the woman with the three barking dogs. But I didn’t know anyone except the people in my building. We were an exception to the rule because we were all small town girls and boys in a small walk up building.

I later found out that my Swedish sister and I lived on the same block for two or three years and we never ran into each other. (and there was no email and fb!)

Oakland was a little different. Aileen Street was a real neighborhood. As renters Jenn and I were part and not part of what went on. But Jenn had Legos, so she was pretty much Aunt Central. And we wormed our way in since we were willing to sit on the stoop and nod and chat as neighbors walked by. All these years later, she’s still there.

And then back home to little Pennsylvania towns where you wake up and the guy down the street is snow blowing the 8 inches of heavy snow off the entire block and walking the machine around our cars that had just been plowed in. That left me to dig out what he didn’t get. Participating in one another’s lives. Being kind. I’d gone out that morning expecting to spend several hours digging through to the street. I was back in within 1 1/2 hours. It was a lovely gesture. Most mornings I love the shoveling — snow as prayer. But so far this year the snow has been light and easy to push around. This was not. This was not meditative snow. Gratitude abounds.

When you live where you are, live in the moment and in your village, you live next door to your neighbors. Being a good neighbor is part of the job. It’s part of the Joy. It’s part of the Peace. and beside that? Snow! Happy Winter, my friends.

And we can’t forget that while I’m reveling in the sweet white stuff, 800,000 people are without power in the cold (and dark). Prayers for them and for the folks working on the downed lines and non-functional equipment.



Patience and Peace, LLVL

If there’s anything Winter’s got to teach us, it’s Patience. Slow down. You’re going to anyway, you might as well accept it and go with the flow.

This “things take more time than I’m willing to admit” thing is a good lesson for me. I’m not altogether sure I can allow Winter to leak this into my brain, but it’s helpful. Things take more time in the winter.

You’ve got to dress more warmly and figuring out what’s going to keep you warm takes time. Your car is going to need attention, a bit of time to warm up and more time to scrape off the ice barnacles.

If you’re not prepared you’re going to be late. (or in ann’s case, later… sigh). Living in la vida local also means living in the moment, being self-reflective enough to understand what happens and how long it takes, and then planning for it.

Peace isn’t a hurried process, and you don’t know what important detail you will rush by when you’re slamming about trying to accomplish your end goals with no passing thoughts to the steps that get you there. not gonna work. Peace be with you, and the Patience to enjoy the journey. If your life is to be a prayer, then you’ll want to pay some attention to each part of it, won’t you…


Vulnerable Peace, LLVL

When you live where you live, and when that place is a small town, you have to get to know yourself, because other people will know you well — sometimes better than you want to know yourself.

But it’s never a great idea for someone else to know you better than you know yourself, so it behooves you to keep looking.

I’ve been tired, emotionally up against my physical boundaries. It’s a wonderful privilege to do the work that I do, but sometimes it’s very demanding. You can’t always tell the demands to take a hike. or rather, you can’t always tell all of the demands to take a hike. Sometimes when you’re a minister, people need you. So you show up.

But it’s important to pay attention. Sometimes you can pass things off… And when you can, you probably should. For a lot of reasons, but two big ones. Those you love need to know you trust them to be as big and powerful as they are. And you need to honor what’s too much.

I love sermonizing. (ya think?) This week I had set myself a high bar. I was headed toward a more researchy sermon than I normally do. But post Charlie-memorial and post Jean visits in the hospital, there really wasn’t any brain power left. I finished the sermon. sorta. And went to bed, because bed was what was needed.

The next morning, as the poem says, I watched the river. And something about that flow reminded me. I wasn’t alone in this. I certainly wasn’t alone in mourning Charlie. I wasn’t alone in my fears for Jean, now, thank goodness somewhat allayed. And I am not alone in my ability to chew up a bunch of ideas and get something out of it. And this is a crowd who trusts me to love them.

One of the places that people get ministry wrong, I think, is when we don’t trust them to love us back. And there’s that awful hubris where we think we’re the only people who can… you fill in your own blank. Ministers could be the only people who have that problem, but I’m not taking any bets. So I went to church said, I’m going to give you my premises and my research… see if you can help… lots of thinking happens in the heads of my community… so there was a lot to be said for that. And in the end… it was a great sermon, jointly preached. I was supported and they were grateful to be asked. And the next time? I’ll do my stuff…until I need help again.

Ah, the timeless, sacred river… encouraging me to show up and be present, facilitating the moments of reflection, forgiving (even encouraging) the vulnerability, and offering the Peace of being right where you are, in this place, in this moment of time. Living la vida local has lessons I hadn’t any notion I might want to learn. ah, that darned praying constantly thing.


Expect Advent Peace

What if we just did that? What if we just expected it to be Peaceful and then acted as if it had happened? How would the world change?

This isn’t like wishing for a pony for Christmas, this is expecting that you will care for all ponies because ponies are needful.

This is an expectation of yourself that you will be Peace. In Advent, in the sacred season of coming into being… This is an unwillingness to expect any less, not only of yourself but of others and then loving yourself and your neighbors when we fail and encouraging us all to try again.

Expect Peace. The world needs you to ask the very best from it, to not settle from less. Part of expectation is going back again and again and again, and asking for more. Advent: Hope. Love. Joy. Peace. The hard work of Advent is expecting all of that. C’mon, I have great expectations of us.



Honor, Love, Advent Peace

Honoring our own path. It’s a big claim, isn’t it. That what I do is worthy of honor?

I was talking with a friend last night about having spent a bunch of my life written off as “cute.” There are worse things, you think, but really, cute is not what you want to be. Cute isn’t taken seriously. Cute doesn’t take itself seriously.

It’s been a long journey from cute to competent. Hell, it’s a long journey from anywhere to competent. But this? Is the time we have. (Even puppies grow out of cute to be fine old dogs if we’ve let them.) It’s not easy to grab that bull by the horns and say, I’m going to be competent. I’m going to be kind. I’m going to be a Peacemaker. I’m going to make a difference. And I will be not only respectful of the way I do it, I will esteem it.

For that to happen, I must be willing to do my best. Every day, one foot in front of the next. Does that mean there’s no time off? No. It may mean there are more. Because when you’ve decided to honor your work, it means you don’t phone life in. And that demands that you give yourself some down time so that your on time can be just that. It’s not just being present. It’s making your life a prayer, one of thanksgiving for your gifts and promise for your possibilities.

I will honor myself. I will honor my path. I think (I hope) I do better at honoring your path. Namaste, I honor all that is good in you… which is seen by all that is good in me. For me to be able to say Namaste, I must honor myself. So, Namaste, I think you’re wonderful. And I am doing a job that is worthy of my skills and talents and passion. Today. and I promise you, tomorrow. How about you?


Appreciate, Hope, Advent, Peace

Appreciate. Esteem. Honor. To know the worth of and to value. To understand the implications of. To take seriously.

Hard work, all of these. Tricks of the trade too infrequently brought into play. We rarely even use the words, let alone exercise the skills….

For example, to appreciate Nelson Mandela is not simply to see who he was as he died, but to understand who he was to become that man. There’s such trash on the internets at the moment, decrying his early actions. Really, do you not understand how a man has to be someone spectacular to grow through everything that happened to him to become the man he was?

After two plus decades of hard labor he chose to leave bitterness and hatred behind. To appreciate Mandela is to esteem him, but it is also to understand those implications. He made space to transform himself and to be transformed. In that space he transformed his people, his country his world.

I appreciate his courage Peacemaking. I appreciate his journey. Not fully, I’m sure. Nothing has ever been that hard in my life. I pray that nothing ever will. And I pray that lack of hardship doesn’t limit my ability to pour myself into Peace. I pray it doesn’t hinder you. Let us Hope.


Believe, Hope, Advent Peace

How sad. A man who represented the best of Belief and Hope in my life is gone from this world. Generation after generation has found a hero to lead them. Mandela was a man for our time, and as the president said, for the ages.

His words about leaving his hatred and bitterness inside the cell he was leaving ring… We have to notice the evil, accept that it has happened to us, forgive ourselves and if we can “those who trespassed against us,” anticipate that the world can be better, believe in a new world.

My church choir is currently working on an anthem, entitled “You Are the New Day.” (words by John David. It’s a beautiful song about the impending nuclear holocaust and the hope that we can be the difference needed.

And isn’t that always the question. Can we be the difference needed? Those of us who lived with Mandela’s shining example, can only answer yes. We don’t really get to whine, “it’s too hard,” when you know that this quiet, dignified man underwent the greatest degradation and hardship. And through it all, he believed.

Mandela was not the only miracle maker in South Africa. Many other people did their work and lived in great dignity. But he was no less great for that. He accepted what happened and moved to make it better… through it all he believed. Shocking and wonderful. And shows us a way. Maybe in fact it was his Belief that transformed him and the whole world.

What do you believe in? And how is that Belief going to help you to make a difference? Because that’s the real question to ask of Belief. He believed in Peace and he led us all there. How do we, you and I, get to Peace…