Tag Archives: faith

Home Coming

Researchers say the sense of smell holds the longest memory.

I believe it.

This weekend, I enjoyed a long walk down memory lane.

I exited my vehicle and stepped into the dusty parking lot, exhilarated at the prospects of sitting in rocking chairs alongside old friends and disconnecting from recent stressors.

Registration went smoothly as a familiar face greeted me with a hug and issued my cabin assignment and name tag. I was ready for a Camp Team Member reunion.

I walked around the grounds with a million thoughts competing in my mind.

I smelled the musty chapel and was instantly transported to 26 years ago when I first entered this space as a tween girl. Stained glass windows are present no longer (and are missed) but the clear glass replacing them enhances the natural beauty and I accepted the change.

I caught the fresh, fishy aroma of Lake Griffin and breathed in deep.

I entered a cabin (#3) and caught my breath in the delightful smell of old carpet and mildew and plastic.

I was home.

Other senses caught me, too:

The rustling of the plastic mattresses, easier to clean than to rest comfortably.

The sight of the beautiful cross on the lake, newly lit with LED bulbs that glowed blue at night but still somehow felt the same.

The feel of the itchy grass, mosquitoes and wind in my hair.

The camp food: predictable salad bar, mystery meat (Chinese style) served on spaghetti noodles with a garlic breadstick?; breakfast waffles and bacon.

They were all served on classic trays and don’t forget to “Stack yo’ dishes!!”

The camp snacks: Zebra cakes and chilled root beer from a glass bottle. And the nacho bar and ice cream sundae bar because I think I must still be a teenager who doesn’t need to count calories.

Every step I took, I sunk into Camp a little more deeply.

I set foot here and am instantly filled with a thousand memories of people I met, people I loved. Of looking for God and peace and purpose.

Veggie Tales. The Fruits of the Spirit song. (I can still sing it!) Indiana Jones’ Leap of Faith. Caedmon’s Call.

I see the ghost of my past self, sneaking out of my cabin just once, trying desperately to appease campers and fellow Team members. And getting caught, scared to death I’d be sent home.

Going to breakfast on Monday mornings in pajamas because there were no campers until the afternoon. 100 team members piling into busses for Wet’n’Wild water park, Christian concerts and Sunday morning church. Garfield’s restaurant where we colored on the paper tablecloths and Chili’s for Saturday dinner where we obnoxiously sang their baby back rib song.

We listened to morning devotions as the sun rose over the lake, shining directly into our faces as we tried to pay attention to the speaker.

I sense the spirits of those who have been before me; those who found Jesus, their Calling and for some, even their spouse here.

I see in my mind the empty chapel before me filled with children and teens worshipping, laughing, crying, dancing.

Silly and obvious dance motions to old camp songs.

Pharaoh, Pharaoh”, anyone?

Bare feet behind the altar, leading worship on the keyboard.

Makeup free fresh faces, pony tails and messy hair, sweaty bodies grateful for the roar of air conditioning, arms raised praising God.

Praying for our campers, and for each other.

Weekly communion–with big loaves of Hawaiian bread. Savoring the blessed leftovers; grateful for the late night snack.

This sacred space whispers of peace, joy, Love.

I feel time becomes different, shifting from chronos to kairos. Linear to circular. Human time to God’s time.

My daughter begins to learn 4 square here. I explain the rules and demonstrate the proper serve.

“Mom, are you crying again?” she observed several times over this weekend.

And then I find the prayer room–now housing stacks of chairs–where I remember earnestly praying that I would someday have children who would be as blessed as I in this space.

I am reminded: God keeps promises. Faithfulness is a standard God has demonstrated first by example.

I had forgotten the intensity of God’s love somehow. This Love that passionately calls to those who have been cast aside, marginalized and considered afflicted.

Camp is a place where God reveals through nature and through other flawed, spirit filled humans consistently:

You are loved. You are special. I want you. You are Mine.

Welcome Home.

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Immigration Reform

Chain link fence

Who can still say they support what’s happening with the treatment of immigrant people on our southern border?

This cannot be a party issue.

How we treat people seeking refuge is a human rights issue .

We cannot be so polarized between us and them that we lose our humanity.

Numerous articles are reporting what is happening and I, educated and literate, with access to unlimited news sources, can scarcely believe it.

Children stolen by the US government and locked up in cages. A breastfeeding baby taken from her mother’s arms. People told their babies are just going to get a bath–and then not returned.

Refugee children in a Texas detention center must file past a picture of our sitting president with the quote in English and Spanish for their reading pleasure, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

The Department of Children and Families would never allow this treatment in a private home. But it’s just immigrants, so apparently it doesn’t matter?!?!

Snatching babies from their mothers is evil.

Pure evil.

How can good people, who I know, say they support tearing apart families? Whatever happened to “family values”?

I am sick of the legalism standpoint “it’s the law”, and the argument “they’re just pretending to be parents.” That’s your response?! They might not really be the parents?! There are ways to quickly and efficiently ensure the children are actually with their parents. Interviews and DNA samples to start if that’s really the concern.

The justice department is using babies as pawns to deter refugees. I don’t care who started it or which party did what. I care about the thousands of children missing their parents and distraught parents terrified for their children.

Desperate people don’t risk everything they have and take their children in treacherous journeys for a “better life.” They do it to SAVE their lives.

They fear for their lives and the dangerous unknown is better than known starvation and murder from where they come.

Where is your compassion? Your Christlike heart for the widows, the orphans, the aliens, the poor, the needy?

What would Jesus do?!?! Not sit on a pile of money behind a gun, stealing children, that’s for sure.

“I pay enough in taxes. I don’t want to pay for those people.” Shame on you. Live in luxury. Enjoy your big screen tv and comfortably large lonely home on earth. Because the Kingdom of God is bigger than and better than this. You can be part of the kingdom here and now!! Do you think your luxurious empty life is contributing to making someone else’s life better? What is truly pleasing to God?

These are humans. These are babies. Traumatized children fleeing danger with loving parents exchanged for more trauma and separation from their parents. Jesus be with them as their parents cannot.

And Americans stand sanctimoniously protecting our wealth, our land, our luxuries–while our souls sicken and die. “Well, they’re breaking the law.”

God help us.

What do we do?!

Here’s a way to contribute money and time for justice work being done through the non profit National Justice for Our Neighbors, a United Methodist immigration ministry. They provide high quality immigration legal services to separated families.

Catching Up

Do you ever feel like you’re playing catch up? Breakfast dishes are still in the sink at 6pm and your kids are hungry and you’re wondering where the day went?

Sometimes I have such careful plans that get derailed by a Sick kid. Or a client with unexpected urgent needs. And sometimes it is my own lack of planning that kicks me at the end of the day.

today I realized a Bible study I had decided to start never got started. I was 11 days behind. I got overwhelmed just looking at how many days I had to go to catch up.

i logged into the settings and there was a button called “catch me up.” I hesitated because I thought it would double or triple the days to get me to where I thought I should be.

Imagine my relief when it simply reset the timeline.

Talk about God’s grace! I don’t have to work double or triple. God wants me to walk with Him and listen to Him daily. I miss out on the richness of life with God if I don’t.

But I’m not penalized when I run to Him. He meets me exactly where I am and pushes that lovely “catch me up” button.  And all is right again.

💜

 

 

 

 

 

Gold and Faith

Matthew 25:14-30

I’ve always struggled with this passage. I didn’t understand why the one who buried his Master’s gold (called a talent) would be punished. In my mind, he kept it safe, not taking chances with it. It’s like keeping “Mad Money” stashed in a secret drawer like my previously mentioned Grandma. In my mind, I likened it to depositing in a bank, because I didn’t think (or honestly, care) about the Roman financial system of the time.

It seems like responsible behavior. How could that be wrong?

So here I am reading this passage, and some things struck me.

The man who didn’t invest wisely, first of all was only given 1 bag of gold to start.

His master didn’t expect much from him.

It says in Luke 12:48 “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” Had the man “failed” in his investment, it wasn’t a huge portion. The Master didn’t trust this man with a large sum to begin with. It was an opportunity to grow and multiply and the man didn’t take it.

The man who didn’t invest wisely was afraid of his Master. He didn’t understand the expectations. He saw his Master’s bountiful gift for prosperity, “harvesting where you have not  sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid. .  .”

The man did nothing. He sat on the gold. He buried it.

Is it possible the Master didn’t communicate his expectations? Or is it the man who didn’t listen with the intent to understand?

I feel like that man sometimes. I’m given “talents” of shepherding, service, music, teaching, fellowship, connection, intuition, love; and I’m terrified to use them. I don’t use them in small ways, I don’t use them at all. I hide them. Because what if I use them wrongly? What if I displease God with those uses? This parable makes it pretty clear that it’s better to invest them even a little rather than not at all.

The master admonishes the man, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”

(Note: Oh! Banks did work then as saving accounts with interest!)

Is this story really about using our “talents”?

Or is there something bigger happening?

Is this about faith?

About being assured of our Master’s ability to reap blessing from nothing?

About a willingness to take a risk because we know our Master can redeem the possible failure?

The Bible repeatedly refers to faith in God as something that can grow exponentially and as something with precious value.

Faith is the hallmark of Christian salvation. It is the only method of salvation, in fact.

So when the master says “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

This issue isn’t about wasting a talent.

It’s about a lack of faith.

The man’s condemnation springs from knowing some things about the master but not believing in the Master’s ability to redeem and save.

Do you know about the Master? Do you KNOW the Master? Are you willing to trust the Master? What are you struggling with? What are you called to do that you don’t want to do?