Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Prayer for Memorial Day

Gratitude Note: For a Memorial Day Prayer from the "Book of Common Prayer" -- a marvelous resource in the Episcopal Church.
O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

One of God's "Other" Creatures

Gratitude Note: For a visit from one of God's "other" creatures. It was just a week ago that I saw a Blue Bunting on the feeder outside our bedroom window -- a great start on my week. Well, this evening we were watching "Friends" on Netflix when I heard a sound outside the same window. Sure enough one of God's "other" creatures was standing on the bushes and having a birdfeed dinner. I mentioned to Lynda I would have to get the live-trap down from the attic and take care of him. Her response was quick, "No, he is so cute!" I am having trouble saying, "Thanks be to God." At least the Visitor made Lynda and Lord Mason happy -- he likes barking at most anything, but especially any of God's "other" creatures -- cats, raccoons, squirrels, neighbors or whatever. Oh well.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Graduation with an Extra Plus

Gratitude Note:  For high school graduations with an extra plus.  All graduations are important and reasons to celebrate.  St. Luke’s had five graduates cross the stage tonight.  I am very proud of them and happy for their families.  There were no surprises – all of this was in their plans for years – this was the fulfilment of the expected – wonderful!  So what is a graduation with an “extra plus?”  Well, I know of a senior who walked across the platform at graduation to receive a diploma and was cheered by two parents with smiles as big as a full moon, shouts heard in the Osage Hills and tears of joy and love overflowing.  Their graduate accomplished what proved impossible for them many years ago.  Neither of the parents graduated from high school – for whatever reasons it didn’t happen.  Life is much better now.  They have their GEDs, good jobs, strong faith and now a graduate in their family.  I am so happy for them – what a night for this family– truly a celebration with an extra plus – which I pray help sustain each of them on the journey forward.  I am certain they would join me in saying “Thanks be to God!”

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Surprise in the Window: A Blue Bunting

Gratitude Note:  For a surprise in the window – a Blue Bunting.  We enjoy birds of all kinds and have four feeders – quite a budget for the birds.  The Finch feeder hangs from a tree just down from our deck toward the woods.  We enjoy yellow, green and red Finches on a regular basis.  We rarely see the Blue Buntings.  Last Monday was going to be an extra busy and challenging day.  As I was putting on my collar, I looked out our bedroom window and there he was on a regular feeder just three feet away – a Blue Bunting – wondrously beautiful – what an amazing sight!  Indeed a glimpse of God to start the day. 

A Holy Dinner Party

Gratitude Note:  For a Holy Dinner Party.  Well, not exactly.  Tuesday evening we had St. Luke’s Altar Guild in our home for our annual dinner.  There were twenty-two women.  I have worked with most of them for almost twenty years.  Their ministry of the Altar is a sacred work involving arrangements the celebration of over two hundred Holy Eucharists each year – not counting weddings and funerals.  As was evident Tuesday evening, they are not only faithful in their responsibilities, but they love and enjoy each other.  They talked and laughed – ate and drank – special relationships and holy work.  Toward the close of the evening they stopped long enough to talk about and pray for one of their members who is dying with cancer.  As you can tell, these ladies are special to me – co-ministers with me.  As I was preparing the food on Tuesday afternoon, I was aware this was the last time for one of our dinner parties.  I visualized each of them one at a time and thanked God for them.  I am a priest most blessed and so very grateful.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Getting Real About Suicide

Gratitude Note: For a clarifying word from my friend, John Adams, regarding suicide. This is worth the read.
Can't say it enough...Many people think that a suicide attempt is a selfish move because the person just does not care about the people left behind. I can tell you that when a person gets to that point, they truly believe that their loved ones will be much better off with them gone.This is mental illness not selfishness. TRUTH: Depression is a terrible disease and se...ems relentless. A lot of us have been close to that edge, or dealt with family members in a crisis, and some have lost friends and loved ones. Let's look out for each other and stop sweeping mental illness under the rug. If I don't see your name, I'll understand. May I ask my family and friends wherever you might be, to kindly copy and paste this status for one hour to give a moment of support to all those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune. Hope to see this on the walls of my family and friends just for moral support. I know some will!!! I did it for a friend and you can too. You have to copy and paste this one, no sharing. To copy simply hold your finger on the text and the copy option will appear. Click on it. Then click on your status and paste will appear. Thank you.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

For My Friends in Need

Gratitude Note:  For a prayer some friends really need right now – a gift to me and now to you.  This comes from Jack Levison’s book, 40 Days with the Holy Spirit.  The format may not work on Facebook, but the message is worthy and centering.

Holy Spirit

            I’m not asking to cause life or death to disappear

                        Hardship or distress to vanish

                        Persecution or peril to evaporate

            But you can settle fears with this soul of mine

                        The panicked heart

                        The anxious spirit

Holy Spirit

            Banish the Unholy Spirit

                        As real as you

                        But unwelcome

            You can quiet my qualms

                        Anxieties that dog my steps by day

                        Forebodings that haunt me by night

Holy Spirit

            I’m not asking you to cause death or life to disappear

                        But to hearten me with the love of Christ

                                    With a love for Christ