The Pastor is In

Well, I’ll admit it: I’ve never pastored through a pandemic before. I know, I know- it’s shocking.

What’s more: they never teach you about this in Divinity School either.

When should a church close, when technically the governor can’t make you? How much are you willing to risk as the pastor when you know that 70% of your congregation falls into the high-risk category? And yet many tell you you should never close, and feel deep disappointment when you do.

How do you transition from a community that thrives on hugging one another, sitting together for an hour each week, singing together, greeting one another, sipping coffee together… To a community that has to find digital ways to connect, even though perhaps half of your congregation does not use social media or the Internet?

How do you fulfill your calling: to share hope, to inspire courage and faith, to insist on trusting God when you yourself are scared for your parents? When you are overwhelmed by your kids out of school, and intimidated by the requirement to shift everything we do about ministry for an unknown length of time?

They don’t teach you any of this.

But-here we are. Today was the second Sunday we created an online worship experience. We burned DVDs and set them out in a box at the church doors for anyone to pick up that cannot watch our service on the Internet. I’ve been anxious, insecure, and exhausted.

And yet, all day, I was sent images of Dixie cups with juice and cheez-it’s set out for at home communion in the living rooms of church members. I heard from congregants who finally attended worship with their cats or in their pajamas. Even one who decided to enjoy a mimosa while watching. Church is springing up in new ways, creative ways. And this strengthens my soul.

They don’t teach you anything about pandemic pastoring, or preaching, or social distancing when your whole job is to draw people together. But we’re making it, one week at a time.

One new addition to my shifting ministry role in the midst of this pandemic will include 20 slots for connecting with church members and friends of the church each week on the phone, through Zoom, or FaceTime.

We can talk about anything you want. We can catch up, share scripture, share laughs, it’s your time to design as you wish.

If I don’t have anyone sign-up during a particular time I may call you out of the blue to just check in.

The best way to sign up for a time slot is to send me an email STaylorpeck@northcantonccc.org

I hope to hear from any of you. I posted the times available below.

Know this: my heart is with you, my prayers are with you, I’m blessed to serve at Community  Christian Church.

Love, Sarah

Available times each week:

Mondays:

9:00am

9:30am

10am

10:30am

Tuesdays:

12:00noon

12:30pm

1pm

1:30pm

Wednesdays:

9:00am

9:30am

10am

10:30am

Thursdays:

12:00noon

12:30pm

1pm

1:30pm

Fridays:

9:00am

9:30am

10am

10:30am

 

Vision: Sermon March 15, 2020

The vision for you (and the whole world)

Sermon, March 15th, 2020

Rev. Sarah Taylor Peck

+++John 9:1-21, 24-25 As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.

8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” For the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

+++

Well, here we are. The third Sunday of Lent, this holy time where we come to church more, where we take on spiritual practices, where we fast or pray or come to church more- and look, I am in an empty church, and we are worshiping in a new way because COVID-19 is making it’s way through our community. And I bet this is a disappointment to many of us.

Why can’t we go to church? Why can’t our kids go to school? Is this an overreaction? A punishment from God to our community? Is there a reason, or a logical explanation?

I want to tell you a story. In the spring of 2010- 3 months before my wedding, Andrew and I went for a food tasting at our reception site with my mom. This is a typical fun outing for those who are having a big wedding like ours. We went to the Harvard Faculty Club, which is where we were to have our reception, and we were given a preview of the wine and food that would be served to our guests.

It was an incredible night. Penne pasta with chicken parmesan, three different salads to taste and choose from, tasting a few passed appetizers to decide between mini egg rolls or fried asparagus with dip. We tried different wine options- it was a treat.

My mom and I came back to my tiny Boston apartment that night, remembering the fun night out. But then, after we went to bed, I heard my mom getting sick in our one bathroom. I thought to myself: oh, she had too much wine.

But twenty minutes later, I too was feeling sick- and we were like a circus taking turns in that little bathroom.

One thing was for sure that next day: we could NOT serve any of the food we tasted at our wedding reception- none of us could stomach it.

But then, we got a call from the Harvard Faculty Club, and we learned that they had an outbreak of the norovirus, and they were closing down the faculty club indefinitely to disinfect, clean, and let the virus die.

My first thought was about my own wedding reception. They couldn’t do this to me! We had waited a year to get married, to find the right spot to celebrate, to send out invitations and do tastings and start to think about decorating.

But after my own gut reaction passed, I started to realize- they were doing what they had to do for the community, to keep everyone safe. To protect the people of our community.

The norovirus kills 200,000 people worldwide each year, and 50,000 of those are children under age 5. It spreads quickly, and it just isn’t worth the risk of hospitalizing people for dehydration, risking the heath of our older and younger populations.

Whatever inconvenience it was for me and anyone else planning an event there, it was worth it because we had to prioritize community health over individual health.

And the same is true today.

With the COVID 19 outbreak, maybe many of you are thinking some of these thoughts: why does MY church have to be cancelled, can’t we all just be extra cautious and thoughtful, can’t people who aren’t feeling well stay home? Won’t God just protect us and keep us safe because we are worshiping?

People have been trying to make sense of human hardship and assign reasoning and logic to what we face for generations.

We try to draw lines where there are no lines, we try to make meaning where there is no meaning.

Haven’t you done the same thing?

In our scripture reading from today, Jesus wanders into a little town and meets a man who has been blind from birth.

Immediately, people begin to question Jesus saying: Who sinned to make this man blind? Him? His Parents?

It’s as if they are asking Jesus: why him? Wouldn’t God just protect him if he was faithful?

It’s important for all of us to realize that Jesus refuses to answer their questions. Jesus puts no attention, no merit and no investment in this kind of thinking. He does not allow his followers to draw lines between our own missteps and the suffering of the people we love—or our own suffering.

By omission- Jesus is tearing down that old cliché phrase that ‘everything happens for a reason’ because, often, it doesn’t.

Then, Jesus heals this man from his blindness, and the man goes out and shares the good news of Christ with his neighbors.

When the man’s community realizes he has been healed, instead of celebrating- they become fixated on the strict regimen of the religious law saying: Jesus did not observe the Sabbath! We have certain traditions and expectations for what we do and how we do it on the Sabbath- and Jesus broke the rules!

They can focus on nothing else: as if religious rules and law are the only hope they can cling to…

Today, we are taking about vision. You might think that this theme is about the blind man receiving sight- perhaps you read the scripture today and thought to yourself: ah ha! I already know what this sermon will be about!

But you would be wrong.

The blind man in the scripture reading today received his sight- and it was a blessing and a surprise and a miracle- but it is not the point of the story.

Plenty of blind people in Jesus’ time did not receive their sight. Throughout all of history- we know that many children are born blind and very few receive the blessing of their sight again.

The vision that God offers God’s people in this text is reminding them where to look for the holy. God is talking to all of us.

Christ says: do not make a connection between hardship and brokenness or sin. It is not our actions or mistakes that create hardship- instead: the world is just hard sometimes.

Children are born blind. Pandemics sweep across the world sometimes. We cancel school and church and we engage in social distancing because the world has hard things and difficult situations that we have to navigate with care. Heartbreak affects us all at different times and in different ways: but this is not God’s work.

Instead: look for signs of God among our hardships. Begin to look beyond school and church closings, and instead focus on the gift of a few hours with the ones we love, the opportunity to draw together as a community.

Instead of fixating on our interpretation of religious law, or focusing on the importance of physically coming to church the way we always have: savor moments of God’s light and hope seeping through in the in-between time. Look for God in the knitting together of community, the savored moments with friends…

Christ also models to us what is important to him. He goes outside the lines, outside tradition, and outside routine to bring healing and health the community.

Jesus puts healing over tradition.

Jesus shows us what it looks like to lead with love. We heal, protect, and preserve the well-being of our community before we worry about the religious traditions we are used to.

We are not worshiping together this morning, and that is difficult. I wish we were all in the same room and I wish we could do church and sabbath the way we always have.

But you are doing the work of God by protecting your neighbors and the least of these- the most vulnerable, the ones who need healing and strength. We are engaging in healthy social distancing to do the work Jesus modeled for us: protecting the vulnerable, prioritizing healing, and working for the good of our community.

Thank you for doing this difficult work, it is the work of God. My prayers are with you until we can meet in person again. Amen.

 

Important Pastoral Update

++ Matthew 3:3 This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” ’ ++

Dear Community Christian Church,
We have known since Ash Wednesday: Lent is a time in the wilderness. Today, the wilderness takes new meaning. With prayer, thoughtfulness and discernment, the Leadership of Community Christian Church decided to close CCC for the safety and protection of all of our members. This will be a time in the wilderness for our congregation.
The leadership team will re-evaluate our decision each Thursday for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak and we will communicate with you as we go.

I realize this is disappointing. CCC is a place of connection, relationships and fellowship. We love to be together. I wish our circumstances were different. I wish we could gather together. But we must follow the guidelines of our governor and the health department. We are bigger than our building, and bigger than our worship. The church remains strong and connected in new and creative ways.
Here is what I need you to know:

1) The church will be closed March 15th through March 19th with all worship, rehearsals, activities and gatherings cancelled. Church leadership will communicate each Thursday to make a decision about whether to open the church the next week.

2) We will record worship services and upload them on to our Facebook Page and our Website each Sunday morning that we are not able to gather. For those who do not have internet access, we will also create DVDs that we will have available in a box outside the main doors of the church starting Monday morning. Pastor John, Pastor Cheryl, Luke, Marcas, Steve, Debbie and myself are working together to create meaningful worship even if the building remains empty for a time.

3) Each week, we will offer at-home worship and devotion materials for you to pick up and use as you wish-including prayer guides, some books we have to give away and other materials- if you wish to stop by the church, please pick up what you need in the box outside Door #3 (double doors).

4) Our staff will be working creatively, sometimes remotely, to continue the ministry of the church. Each staff member is committed to their area of ministry and the bringing together of our church family. Shari will be in the office to take your calls with any questions, and we are working to forward the church phone to my cell phone after hours so that we can stay connected.

5) We hope to continue to pay our staff during this time and invest in our outreach ministry as well as the necessary maintenance of our building, so please consider continuing your pledge to the church. Please contact Jack Hartley with information about how to maintain your pledge in these strange times: Jack Hartley Mobile – (419) 307-4400, email: jackwhartley@hotmail.com

6) All meetings, events and use of the building except by staff will be suspended. We have deactivated all door codes so please refrain from coming to the church to protect the sanitation efforts we are making to stop the spread of germs.

My prayer for each of you is that we remember we are a family. Families take care of each other, protect each other and find ways to be a family even if social distancing keeps us apart. Call one another to check in, pick up materials at the church or drop them off for someone who may not be able to get out of the house, watch our recorded worship and sing with us, break bread with us, and pray with us.

We must remember that God is always with us even if we experience God in new ways, even when we are in uncharted wilderness. We are the church because we love one another and serve one another and pray for one another–not because we all sit in the same room on Sundays.

May you find peace, assurance, and hope even in these strange times.

Love,
Rev. Sarah Taylor Peck

Stickers, Ashes, and Lent

 

I have an adult sticker chart.

It all started last summer.

After watching my children transform their habits and their lives through the motivational power of a sticker- I began to wonder, could this happen for me too?

For my children, stickers represented peeing on the potty, listening to mommy, and going to bed on time. I witnessed long standing arguments about when to use the toilet and when the lights need to be off disappear with the simple motivation of a fun sticker on their chart. It seemed like magic.

The last few years, my focus has been on survival- for me and my family. Let’s keep the kids alive and the house standing while remaining employed. You know, simple goals.

But I missed reading books, getting enough sleep, and taking care of my body. I missed carving out time for friends and exploring new recipes. So in August, I created a sticker chart for myself. Why should my children have all the fun?

And just as I hoped: it felt like magic. The things we will do for a gold star.

I started prioritizing my own bed time and going to the gym. I began to think more about what I ate and how I spent my money. By the end of 2019, I saw changes emerging- real habits and self-care practices taking root.

Today is Ash Wednesday, and I created a new sticker chart.

In my congregation, we will gather for bread and broth and scripture. We will pray together and learn together as we share a meal. At the end of the night- I will mark the foreheads of each person while whispering the holy, prophetic words “you are dust, and to dust you will return.’

And then it begins.

For me, Lent is about letting things die so that the best parts of us can live. The ashes remind me that this life God gives us is fleeting and holy, short and important. Soon, we will all be dust again. How will we spend the time we have?

Christians often fast during Lent. Historically, this meant eating only one meal a day and giving up meat and fish. But the indulgences that distract us today are different.

I intend to let my obsessions with Facebook and Starbucks die for the next 40 days. Less time looking at a screen and more time noticing the daily, tiny changes in my children. Less time waiting in line to buy coffee and more time lingering over breakfast while making coffee. I want to drink more water and give up wine, get more sleep and give up Netflix. Read more books and eat less sugar. Write more reflections and less status updates.

All of these trade-offs aim at the same goal: savor this one wild, holy, precious life. Let the trivial things fade so the true things may emerge.

Some might suggest this is a cliché. Giving up Starbucks and social media and wine are small sacrifices. And yet, it feels important to experience the long, old tradition of fasting.

Lent is a season to let go. To plant seeds. To take an honest look at how we spend our time and our hearts. We are dust. We are but a glimpse, a blip, a passing moment on earth. How will we shine our light in the world? I hope to be more present and reflective.

Even if it takes the simple motivation of ashes and stickers to begin, perhaps it will end with the complexity of transformation. Here’s hoping…

 

 

Oliver’s Obituary: A Farewell Letter to my Cat

+Job 12:7-10 But ask the animals, and they will teach you… In God’s hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all humankind.

My dearest Oliver,
We said goodbye to you this afternoon.

My heart is broken.

You were a witness to my adulthood, my prayer partner and my confidant.
You were a soft, gentle, warm spot in my life.

We met when I was 22 years old.

I had just moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts for graduate school and I was anxious. One night I had a dream that a cat jumped up on the foot of my bed, rested on my chest and I was finally able to sleep. The very next day I adopted you. I remember calling my roommate on the drive home, you in my lap, asking “how do you feel about cats?“

The shelter grilled me the day I brought you home. They told me “this is a 20 year commitment.” And I still resent it. 14 years feels too short when they promised me 20… though I would never be prepared to say goodbye.

You were a source of comfort. I’ve cried so many tears into your fur, holding you at the end of long days, and in the midst of stressful times.

You were my first family member to meet Andrew, and you liked him. Your endorsement meant everything. You let him hold you and you would purr when he came around, I knew he was a keeper.

In 2010, three weeks into my first ministry calling, the vet diagnosed you with cancer and said we had three months. We took extreme measures, far more than the average cat mom would do, I’m sure. We amputated your back right leg and put you through chemo. Everyone thought we were crazy, they probably still do. But that bought you eight more years with us. It was worth every penny.

You met my children. You allowed Felix to explore your fur and tug at your ears. Bless you. You were always so patient. You let Zora squeal with delight as she watched you. You forgave us for displacing you when a bassinet came into our bedroom, and when our attention turned to the care and feeding of our babies. Thank you.

Letting you go has been excruciating. We were told in February that you had acute kidney failure, and that we should prepare to say goodbye within weeks. For the last six months we administered subcutaneous fluids to you, sometimes twice a day. Everyone told us we would know when it was time to say goodbye. But Oliver, I never knew. Today feels like the worst day.

For your companionship, loyalty, your spirit of calm, your non-anxious presence, and most of all-for the strength you gave me: thank you.

You taught me how to love. You opened my heart. I will remember you always, you handsome fellow.

It’s an honor to love a pet like you. It reminds us that unconditional love is possible. Pets teach us that it is worthy and right to care for those who are smaller than us, who depend on us. You help us make room for the tender, soft, warm things of the world.

I believe that all of God’s creatures have a place in the choir. So I picture you on percussion, purring to the rhythm of God’s heart, and tapping your tail to the music of the heavenly hosts… waiting for the day we will be reunited. I promise you eternal snuggles when I find you again.

Rest well, my love.
Sarah

 


.

Families Belong Together

Dearest Felix and Zora,

When I dropped you off at school this morning, you both struggled to let go of me. Zora- you tightened your tiny fists around my shirt and wailed when your teacher lifted you away. I could hear the echo of your cries in the hallway as we walked to your brother’s room.

And Felix, when we stepped outside into the beautiful courtyard of your classroom, filled with cars and tools and a water table waiting to be used-you didn’t want to play. You wrapped your feet and arms around my right leg like a monkey and wouldn’t let go.

It’s as if there is a fear of separation in the air. Maybe you both sense the painful separations of families at our border. Perhaps you can pick up on the heartbreak of children taken from their parents when seeking refuge or asylum in the U.S.. Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families under the zero tolerance immigration policy.

I want to tell you a story.

A few weeks ago I had both of you at a rundown grocery store in a part of town we usually avoid. Felix, you were sitting in the seat at the front of the cart and Zora, you were in your car seat filling up the cart itself. I tucked three father’s day cards around you and a bag of grapes, a bunch of bananas, and a box of Benadryl. We were headed for the checkout stand and I paused to look at a magazine. The next thing I know, a man is standing between me and the cart- offering to help me hold one of you while I check out. I said no thanks- but he ignored my request. Felix: he started to lift you out of the cart and he reached for Zora. Everything felt off and I immediately panicked. I shouted “Stop!” and rushed out of the store, piled everything in the car and drove home fast.

I realized I had stolen $42 worth of groceries. In Ohio, shoplifting that amount is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. But I’d do it again if I felt it would keep you safe. Any parent would.

I went back to the store on my own and paid my bill. And today, I will pick you up from school today and we will be together again this evening. But there are children who do not know when they will be reunited with their families because their parents committed a misdemeanor by crossing the border illegally. This is unacceptable and wrong.

And parents fleeing their homes to protect their children isn’t new. Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with baby Jesus to escape Herod. They were refugees. They were immigrants. They sought asylum.

When I read scriptures from Romans 13 (a biblical reference used by many today to justify harsh laws separating families at the boarder) it says:

Romans 13:9-10: The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Here’s what I know:

-when in doubt, loving one another and acting out of love is the greatest law of all

-Mothers from every culture and community would break a human law to protect their children

-Families belong together

My darlings, in these troubled times, I can tell you we are paying attention. We are going to do all we can to help children just like you who need their mommies and daddies.

To work for change, we can give money to organizations working to reunite families like this one: https://www.theyoungcenter.org/stories/2018/5/8/young-center-announces-the-immigrant-child-and-family-rights-project

We can call our representatives (find yours here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members_) and demand action (find a script for the call if you need it here: https://www.aclu.org/issues/call-senators-stop-dhs-separating-children).

You inspire us to work for the good.

Love, Mom and Dad

 

 

Parenting in the Midst of Valentines and Violence (A Confession to my Son)

Peace

Dearest Felix:

On February 14th, you came home with your arms full of Valentines-small red and pink papers covered in finger paintings and stickers. You and your classmates exchanged these cards during circle time. In the very moments that you exchanged gestures of love and sweetness with your peers- students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida witnessed one of their peers kill 17 people and injure dozens more.

Today, a little boy at our local middle school took a gun to school and hurt himself in the bathroom.

You are 2 1/2, so you probably won’t ask me about this sad event today or what happened last Wednesday. But soon, my sweet child- we will have to have the talk about what to do, what to think, and how to respond when such horrible events happen.

I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to talk to you about this.

As a parent in 2018, when our country averages 3 school shootings each week- I live with such fear. How do I protect your innocence and still prepare you for tragedy?

When you hear “pop” you think of Pete the Cat and his groovy buttons popping off his shirt. But I think of the way the students in Parkland described the sounds of gunshots.

When you say “Crash, bang, boom”- you mean to imitate the sound of a front end loader building a road from your A to Z construction site book.

When I hear “Crash, bang, boom”- I fear the sounds of an attack, and I shudder.

Your eyes light up when we talk about heroes and yet I want to teach you how to hide behind a desk, and how you don’t need to be a hero for me, you just need to survive.

Darling boy: please forgive me-forgive all of us- for letting it get like this.

These are broken times, and I do not have the words to begin to explain to you how we got here, or why there is so much to fear.

But I know this: blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

I know that you are made out of love. And so is everybody else.

I know that you are a source of light and you were made to shine that light. And so is everybody else you meet.

I know that things can be different, and we are going to work together to change them. I will teach you how we can work for change.

In the meantime, we will continue to be kind and gentle with everyone we meet. We will practice building people up. We will build bridges instead of walls and extend welcome instead of exclusion.

And every day- I’m going to hold you close, remind you I love you, and encourage you to be the good we wish to see in the world.

Love,

Mom

A Letter To My Kids After The Las Vegas Shooting

image

Dearest Zora and Felix,
I just tucked you into bed after hours of rocking on our front porch chairs and singing 13 verses of “the wheels on the bus” at the dinner table. In our sweet little nest, it seemed like an ordinary evening.

Zora-you showed off your cooing and kicking on the baby gym.

Felix-you splashed in the tub and practiced counting to 14.

We shared a few family hugs at Felix’s request.

Then, as we turned out the lights, I sang our usual night night songs.

We honored all of our family traditions at home and it seemed like any ordinary Monday. But, my darlings, inside- my heart was aching.

Because last night, other families were trying to have an ordinary evening of singing songs together and sharing food at a country music concert – but a gunman opened fire and hundreds were wounded, dozens lost their lives.

It feels like the ordinary has become unsafe in this broken world.

How can I let you go to school tomorrow? How can I let you out of my sight?

How can I sleep knowing other mothers, just like me, lost their children last night?

How can I rest when it seems the news is always reminding me to be afraid, to shield you from the outside world, to keep you all to myself – which is the only way to be sure you will never see terror like our country saw last night in Las Vegas?

But then, I remember the wonder that lives in your eyes.

You both carry such courage and such hope in your bright faces. You long to learn and grow. You have an openness to the world.

My job as your mom is to foster that courage. Because you, my dears, will be the change I wish to see in the world.

I promise you I will do my part as you are growing up.

I will vote for smart gun laws and I will pray for peace that passes all understanding. I will teach you to be leaders and bridgebuilders.

I will cling tightly to the good in the world, and I will make sure you have eyes to see it too.

On a night like tonight, as our community grieves the violence and terror we saw in Las Vegas, you remind me to help. You remind me to advocate for change.

I wish I could take away the threats of the world. I wish I could stop these horrible events from happening. But even though I can’t wipe away this sorrow and tragedy, being your mom reminds me that I’m obligated to do something.

So tomorrow, we will all get up and go to work and to school.

We will all show kindness to our neighbors and compassion to those who are different than us.

We will show patience and understanding when conflict arises, and we will offer forgiveness and gentleness in the midst of frustration.

This is how we shine a light when the darkness comes. This is what we can do in our own little neighborhood. This is how we stop fear from winning.

Tomorrow, we begin again. One step at a time, one spark of goodness in the world that needs it so desperately.

May it begin with us,

Love, Mom

 

 

 

Finishing the Forty Bag Challenge

image

There it is.

The last trunkful of my Lenten purge. I had to go back to the places I’d already cleaned out to get here.

The last 6 bags and big items came from one more tour of the kitchen cupboards, one more look in my closet, one more scan of our son’s toys- and more.

One this Holy Saturday- I drove the trunkful of items to a donation center, and unloaded every last bag.

We still live with abundance. Truthfully- some of our closets and drawers are still cluttered. I encountered belongs that we don’t use that I still couldn’t part with.

This Lenten journey was a starting gesture in a life’s worth of work. I hope to continue to look through our home while asking the question- what do we really need? And what could bless others?

As Easter comes tomorrow- I look forward to experiencing the renewing hope of this holiday- the reminder to us all that in the end: the tomb, the rock, and the burial cloth were all left behind. It’s the call to love, the urgency to hope and the challenge of living by faith that we take with us. Happy Easter.

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