Archive for May, 2017







As the heady perfume filters into my yard from the lilac hedge next door, I am intoxicated with spring. The warmer weather (although not yet muggy), the happy (although expensive) trips to the garden store, the birdsong, the tulips flaunting their flowerhood… my favorite season by far.
However, the fatigue that results from the government’s antics the past few weeks in particular can temper the perkiest spring-like attitudes. The lying, the inconsistencies, the disregard of basic human rights, the narcissism, are all deeply troubling to many of us, regardless of political affiliation.
St Paulite F. Scott Fitzgerald told us, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
I’m floundering on the balance thing.
And I’m scared. (I have a pre-existing condition, for goodness sake!)
However, when you are a preacher by vocation, you’re not allowed to wallow much. The lectionary readings come into your life, often with stunning relevance, and you’ve got to put away the attitude and get to work.
Consider some of the phrases in this week’s reading:

“But they covered their ears and with a loud should all rushed together against him…” (Acts)
“Do not let your heart be troubled…” John
“No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John

We have a vivid description an angry mob, a tender reminder to calm down; and one of the most divisive verses in all of Christian scripture! AND it’s Mother’ Day, always a minefield in church because of the many intense and very personal feelings about what is involved. Of course the original Mother’s Day proclamation in 1858 was a way for women to protest war. Then Hallmark intervened, the political and moral statements disappeared, and the sentiment of the day changed completely.
Returning to the lilacs, I love this from the writer Patricia Hampl. She notes that lilacs were first brought to America by 19th century Czech immigrants and that the lilacs now seen next to a farmhouse on the prairie in Minnesota or Iowa may have been there longer than any of us have been alive: “With all that immigrants had to leave behind, they valued these bushes enough to make room for a cutting or two among their baggage and bundles … They’re immigrant flowers brought here by people who loved their beauty. They survived the journey and they thrived.” (Spillville).

And reading that, my heart is less troubled.
See you in church.


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