Friday, March 29, 2013


The word for today is far.
My eyes are darkened by my tears; For he is far from me that comforted me.
See O all ye people, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.
O all ye that pass by, behold and see if there be any sorrow like onto my sorrow.
Tranlsation of "Caligaverunt oculi mei" by Tomas Luis de Victoria


Thursday, March 28, 2013


The word for the day is cup.

In remembrance of Me eat this bread
In remembrance of Me drink this wine
In remembrance of Me pray for the time
When God's own will is done

Do this in remembrance of Me
Do this in remembrance of Me
In remembrance of Me

Ragan Courtney and Buryl Red

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


The word for today is help.
The picture for today doesn't really portray my thoughts about the word "help," but I thought a cross was appropriate.
This morning I dropped a plastic cup of ice on the hallway floor.  It was an annoyance.  As I was cleaning it up, a retired Conference staff member came by.  She said, "Oh, let me do that."  She's a lovely lady who is almost 85 years old.  There was no way I was going to let her clean up the ice -- in fact, I was worried that she might step on an ice cube and fall down.  Even so, later, as I thought about the word "help," I was reminded of her, and of the two other staff members (younger ones) who came out and provided the needed help.
Help is pitching in, sacrificing one's time and serving.  Mary understood (the retired staff person) -- not only that, but helping is part of her make-up. 
Servanthood may be the way we were created to be.  We ignore it, we set it aside, but perhaps service is part of our make-up, too.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


The word for today is light.

I've written about light before (probably more than once), but here is an early (in the life of the blog) post about light.

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Monday, March 25, 2013


The word for today is rejoice.

It's kind of an odd word for the beginning of Holy Week.  Tulips, symbols of new life, might be an odd picture for the beginning of Holy Week.  I even feel guilty about posting them.

We haven't yet shared the last supper, or witnessed the trials, or overheard the conversation with Herod, or walked the road to Golgotha, or felt the pain of the crucifixion, or the known the loss of Holy Saturday.  Why post tulips?   Why even whisper the word rejoice?

Because we live on this side of Easter, and even the experience of Lent does not separate us from being post-resurrection Christians.  It's a gift to us that no matter how dark it as, how much pain we anticipate, or how many trials are coming our way, we are still children of the resurrection.  Tulips are our flower.  Rejoice is our byword.

God is with us.  Even in the darkness.  Rejoice and anticipate new life.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013


The word for today is blessed.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.


Saturday, March 23, 2013


The word for today is restore.

This not-so-great image is of a carnation and a rose on our church altar. The carnation is for the birth of a baby and the rose is in memory of someone who just died. I'm not sure why the juxtaposition of the two reminded me of the word restore, but isn't there a restoration of hope when we consider a birth in conjunction with a death?


Friday, March 22, 2013


The word for today is alone.

The picture is of my Kindle. One of my favorite things to do is to go out to dinner and a movie -- alone. Don't get me wrong -- I love to go with other people, too, but I enjoy alone time. I usually take my kindle so that I can read during dinner.

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I'm usually not lonely when I'm alone. I'm much more likely to be lonely in a crowd than when I'm by myself.


Thursday, March 21, 2013


The word for today is home.

This is a bridge in my hometown.  Our town is right next to a river.  The river and the railroad have played a huge role in the development of our economy.

What is home?  Is it a place?  Is it a feeling?  Home is where your heart lives.  My heart lives with those I love -- that is home. 

Tuesday we came home from vacation.  I love traveling, but there is something wonderful about coming home.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The word for today is beloved.
This is mine.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


The word for today is dream.

This isn't an image of a dream, but it reminds me of one.  Don't dreams sometimes have that weird, out of focus, quality to them?


Monday, March 18, 2013


The word for today is rise.

This morning we drove to the top of the ridge between the states of Tennessee and North Carolina.  We were over 5000 feet above sea level.

Once at the top, we couldn't see a thing.  The whole mountaintop was covered in fog.


Sunday, March 17, 2013


The word for today is new.
This is an image of a sunrise.  Isn't there something wondeful about the newness of a day?  Isn't there a great sense of potential?
What will your new day bring?


Saturday, March 16, 2013


The word for today is surround

We are spending the weekend at a hotel called The Inn at Christmas Place.  All year long the hotel is decorated for Christmas.  We are completely surrounded.

I wouldn't want to live surrounded by Christmas decorations all the time, but it might be a delightful experience to be surrounded by the celebration of Christ's coming into the world all the time.

Are you surrounded by Christ?  Can you surround others with Christ?


Friday, March 15, 2013


The word for today is temper.

Do you have a temper?  Do you think of it as something bad - something that isn't in your control?  Do you lose your temper?

Did Jesus have a temper?  There are so many, I think, who think of Jesus as meek and mild.  That is the Jesus who welcomes children, who has a patient conversation with the woman at the well, who invites Peter to a fish fry on the edge of the water.  It's hard to imagine that Jesus has a temper.

But then there is the Jesus of the marketplace and the Jesus who becomes impatient with his disciples.  Did Jesus have a temper?

What is temper?  There are many definitions at  I think we often think of "heat of mind or emotion: proneness to anger." 

I'm not sure that Jesus had a temper, but I think there were times when he became angry, so maybe that's OK for us, too.  (As long as you understand that when I say that, I'm not saying that all anger-motivated behaviors are OK -- they are not).

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Thursday, March 14, 2013


The word for today is go.

Part of the joy of my job is when I get to "go."  Going out is when I connect to the ministries that we are serving -- to the people who give -- to the stories that we share.  Going is how I grow roots in what we do, and how those roots nourish the rest of my ministry. 

I always look forward to going  (although usually I come back with a better picture -- sorry).

I wonder if the disciples felt that way when they were told to go.   Do we look forward to the opportunites and ministry of go?


Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The word for today is water.

This was a tough choice.  I have tons of pictures of water -- ocean, river, puddle, baptismal -- I love to photograph water.

There was something about this one, though, that caught my eye this morning.  It's precarious.  Balanced.  It feels like an entire world could be in that drop of water.

Scientifically, the surface of water has tension.  Molecules of water are polar -- one end has a negative charge and the other has a positive charge, so they stick together.  You've probably seen the surface tension of water if you have filled a glass up past its brim.  The water might dome up, ever so slightly.  It sticks together.

Water is cleansing.  It washes away the dirt and grime in our lives.  We need to be cleansed.

Water is necessary for life.  Our body runs on water, and without it, our entire system becomes non-functional.  Dehydration is a real danger.

Is it any wonder then that baptism is a sacrament?  The life-giving, cleansing, sticky water of baptism marks us as children of God, claimed by him.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The word for today is silence.

I chose this image because often the quietest place that can be found in the empty Sanctuary or Chapel in a church. 

When I need a quiet place to pray, this is where I like to go -- not this church in particular, but an empty Sanctuary.  When I pray in a place like this, I often hear the words, "Be Still" in my mind. 

Be still, and know that I am God.  It's easier to quiet my mind in a quiet place.


Monday, March 11, 2013


The word for today is happy.


Sunday, March 10, 2013


The word for today is ate.


Saturday, March 09, 2013


The word for today is faithful.

This is Calvary United Methodist Church outside of Lewisburg.  There is something about a church with a cemetery that says faithful.  People are baptized here, worship here, and die here.  A faithful life.

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Friday, March 08, 2013


The word for today is find.

This is the Bible that was used at the 1939 unification service of the Methodist church in West Virginia. 

What can you find in the Bible?


Thursday, March 07, 2013


The word for today is no.

How many ways do we say no at church?  How many people are turned away, even though we think we create a welcoming place?

Isn't there more that we can do to bring church to people?  To welcome people into God's church? 

Isn't there more that we can do once someone breaks through and crosses the threshold to bring them into the actual church, instead of just the building?

Isn't there more that we can do to be inclusive?  Loving?  Hospitable?

Isn't there more that I can do? 

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013


 The word for today is shadow.

The first picture is the one that came to mind when I thought about shadow.  I found the second one as I looked for the first, and both of them seemed appropriate -- so two pictures for today.

As I was thinking about shadows this morning, it occurred to me that we only have shadows because we have light.  Without light, we only have darkness.  No shadows.

The problem is that sometimes we rest in the shadows instead of in the light.  There is this placed between right and wrong that sometimes feels "right enough," so we rationalize our choices to stay in the shadow. 

Don't get me wrong -- I don't think the "right" choice is always the one that is on the "right" side of the rules.  There are gray areas, and sometimes that is the place where grace is found.

What I mean, though, is that shadowy area where we think we can justify ourselves.  We say things like, "It's OK if I don't forgive that person; he'll never change."  Or maybe, "What I'm doing isn't stealing; I've earned what I'm taking."  Or the ever popular, "Half a brownie has no calories."

These shadowy places invite us to stay.  The good news is that God is with us, in the light, and God's light will allow us to see the shadows -- if we will look.


Tuesday, March 05, 2013


The word for today is night.

If we are called to be the light of the world, when is that most needed?  When is God most visible?  Is it during times of darkness in people's lives? 

I love how the light reflects in this picture.  We need to make ourselves available to serve others in their darkness. 


Monday, March 04, 2013


Today's word is bless.

This is a sun catcher in my office window -- a gift from a friend.  I'm not sure if you can see the writing on it or not, but it says, "Let your light shine."  We have been blessed to be a blessing. 

The word prompt is a verb.  Bless.  I could have photographed blessings, but those are nouns.  I wanted something that conveyed the action of bless. 

Let your light shine.  Go, bless.

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Sunday, March 03, 2013


The word for today is thirst.

One of the things I picked up this season as a Lenten discipline was abstainance from soft drinks, so I've been drinking alot of water and iced tea. 

I miss my Diet Pepsi, but my thirst is to draw closer to God.  Every time I order an iced tea, I'm reminded of why I'm doing it.  God comes to mind, and, as Martha says, "It's a good thing."


Saturday, March 02, 2013


The word for today is leave.

This is a picture of Steve and me leaving the church after our wedding.  In this image, I like the juxtaposition of leaving and beginning.

We were leaving the church to begin our lives together.  Sometimes it is necessary to leave in order to start.


Friday, March 01, 2013


The word for today is prophet

I think our first reflex when we see the word prophet is to hear the word fore-teller -- someone who tells the future.  It's my opinion that when reading the Prophet books in the Bible, we should instead see them as forth-tellers -- tellers of truth.  They are reflecting back to the reader what the see in the people around them -- and what God sees in the children he has created. 

So, for me, prophet means reflection.

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