Showing posts from January, 2009

Ruby Gets a Bath

My car used to be red. Then January came with her snow and whipping wind. She sent temperatures diving and no one washed their cars, wore much make up or bothered to brush their hair. Or maybe that was just me. Deep cold is one of the reasons Minnesotans live according to the motto: Low expectations are always exceeded. In the moments of frigid tundra, we abandon style and grace for an extra blanket on the bed.

Today is somewhat mild. I did not line my jacket with layers of fleece and down. I left the socks that boast of scientific advantages in my drawer. Here in the hustle I realize that I've let things slide in January! I began with a car wash. The basic Blue Wash was $2.99 and, in this economy, it sounded free. I pulled my muddy, salty self into the wash and waited for the hurricane of brushes to bounce over me, releasing the scent of Clean Car and Winter Joy.

The CD changed and a new song came on, beating with the bath and singing, "All we can do is keep breathi…


I still live a few miles from Luther Seminary, but last week was an exciting homecoming. The Mid-Winter Convocation welcomed Walter Brueggemann, Terry Fretheim and a sold out crowd for three days of lectures and workshops. Many of my classmates were back in town from first call and we welcomed the opportunity to share stories and catch up.

Some serve in small towns and live in a parsonage near the church. Others are far from home and learning about new cultures and what it means to be a solo pastor. Seminary doesn't teach us much about business, balancing the books, or what to do when a member of your congregation calls you with her kitchen plumbing problems. People shared their embarrassments and victories.

It was good to hear these stories.

The keynote speakers captivated the crowd by bringing to life stories about Noah and the flood, Exodus and Pharaoh, Daniel and his stubborn identity. I could hear the revelation in the large sanctuary as we heard each of these stories with new e…

Drinking and Dancing

I was looking forward to this visit because she was a pastor and has a great spiritual curiosity I expected to keep us entertained. I unwrapped my layers and curled up in a dining room chair while she put the water on and eagerly shared about the tea we would drink. "We'll use wine glasses so we can watch them unfold." Our flowers were each unique and spilled out into the water like a beautiful lilly pad or a lagoon's secret corner. We wrapped our hands around the glass for warmth and talked all afternoon. The simple scent was healing.

A few days later, Matt and I went to my goddaughter's house for dinner. The little blond had energy to burn and danced wildly to her cd while we (shamelessly) laughed. Three year olds have trouble distinguishing between laughing with you and laughing at you when they're having too much fun to care. Don't we all? While most of her moves consisted of small, circular jogs, her hips moved every once in awhile. Her arms flailed a…

To Be Fed

Sundays can be busy. For a few brief hours, I try to touch base with hundreds of people with countless stories to share. During worship I'm in liturgical conversation with people, passing grace and mercy around the sanctuary like a giant beach ball from pew to pew. I get to tell people the plain truth - that , though our lives can be messy, our sins are forgiven and that this bread and wine is the body and blood of Christ given for you.

After worship I do a quick "costume change" and then bounce from table to table in fellowship hall. One group needs several copies of a list I've made for their informal meeting. Another needs a picture taken for an upcoming event. I hustle upstairs to open Sunday School with a tidbit and prayer. I come back to find my coffee cup and a few minutes to seek out visitors, to thank those who helped with worship and to hug those who need to know they're not alone.

Yesterday I watched the building slow down and gathered my things …