Today was the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. I have spent a lot of time in Charlottesville. It is one of my favorite cities in Virginia. I spent three months around campus while doing CPE. When Megan and I lived in different cities the year before we were married, we had date days in Charlottesville. And of course, many fall days spent there for the Virginia Film Festival.
It has been difficult today.
Watching social media and seeing the images coming out of Charlottesville, has been tough. I’ve walked those streets. I’ve been in those buildings. I’ve visited those spaces. And to see the hate, the violence, and the unthinkable happening feels like a heavy burden pressuring down on me.
This is a sermon I preached on Sunday, August 6, 2017 at Ebenezer United Methodist in Suffolk, Virginia. The text I preached on was Genesis 32:22-31, Jacob wrestling with God (or was it) through the night.
The other night, Toddler J was falling asleep. She was getting close, reaching that stage where the eyes roll back, eyelids close, and head hangs loose. Suddenly, her head popped up and said, “Daddy! Potty!”
I asked her, “Did you potty already?” “No!” she answered, “Potty!”
I scooped her up and headed downstairs. Once in the bathroom, we were on auto-pilot. The Minnie Mouse seat positioned just right, and the toddler, sans diaper, set on the Minnie Mouse seat. I was instructed to sit in my customary spot on the floor.
And we waited. . . . . and waited.
We waited until I was sure that this was simply a well orchestrated tactic to keep herself awake. I scooped her up, and got a clean diaper. As soon as her PJs were secured around her waist, the protest began.
“No diaper! Potty! No diaper! Potty!”
I heard the cry of my child, and we returned to the bathroom. Back on the Minnie Mouse seat, within seconds, there was the sound of a faint trickle.
So I ask, who is training who?
source: New York Daily News
quietly in the garden.
unseen. unheard. unknown.
as God breathed the breath of life into adamah,
evil slithered in the shadows.
muscles, skin, and bones walking around
breathing; sighing; crying;
placed in the beauty of the garden.
In the beginning
God spoke and there was
flowers to walk by
stars in the sky
waters that roll
creatures that stroll
the fish of the sea
and you and me.
Admit it, you have them.
You have those days where no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to work. Relationships aren’t on par. Work stress is so overwhelming it is blinding. The overall anxiety of society is enough to make you sick. Oh, yeah, and you have a toddler.
These days carry with them a vast amount of emotions from moment to moment. We experience anger, grief, sorrow all within five minutes. The chains of anxiety result in suffering. The shackles of stress issue depression.
by Rev. Beth Givens
This week I celebrated the sacrament of Holy Communion twice in 24 hours. That’s not normal on a non-Sunday, and for a good United Methodist like me, I’m up to celebrating 4 times this week.
Seems we are needing a lot of Jesus.
Tuesday night, when I celebrated, it was a part of Election Day Communion. Election Day Communion is a movement among churches of different denominations to draw people together amidst the divisiveness of an election season here in the United States. We offered Election Day Communion in our congregation.
“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” -Nathaniel Hawthrone
As I was preparing worship and a sermon for what would be my last Sunday at Peakland United Methodist as their Associate Minister, the communications coordinator, Kim, shared with me the bulletin cover she designed. It had a key verse from one of the scriptures I was using and a picture of a butterfly. It was perfect on all sorts of levels.
I hesitated to ask her to change anything. Finally, I asked if it would be possible to make the orange butterfly a yellow butterfly. She gave me one of those, “that’s an odd request” look, and then said, “Sure.”
Our favorite spot in the new house is quickly becoming the sunroom. This enclosed porch with sliding doors all around, gives us a postcard perfect glimpse of our backyard. It is more perfect when birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other friendly critters occupy the space.
It is a peace-filled space.
The other day while eating lunch on the sunroom, Toddler J and I watched as a squirrel hopped through the yard. As the squirrel started climbing the tree, Toddler J’s eyes lit up and a broad smile spread across her little face. She pointed up as the squirrel climbed the tree. When the squirrel was long out of sight, she was still pointing with excitement and mumbling what I believe was her attempt at saying,”squirrel.”