Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013 prayer

One of the things that I appreciate about small towns in Iowa is the love that we have for our veterans.  This morning I attended the Waverly community Memorial Day Observation at our high school.

I was greeted at the front door by a whole slew of smiling Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, as I entered the auditorium I saw pockets of veterans and their families, on the stage the band was playing Sousa marches.  A younger veteran sat over in one corner with his service dog.  At 10:30 the color guard entered and the program began.

One of the gems of our community is retired Rear Admiral Alvin Koeneman.  At one time Al was Chief Chaplain for the entire Navy.  He is a graduate of Wartburg college and he spends part of the year in our community, he also serves as chaplain for the VFW.

This morning Reverend Koeneman shared this invocation:

Lord God of all, who gives meaning to history, purpose for today, and hope for the future; we gather to memorialize those whose lives have been given in service to others.

As we honor these today, 
past and present, 
living and dead, 
but especially those who on the altar of human conflict laid their sacrifice for the sake of those who love freedom, and cherish liberty; we seek assurance from you that their sacrifice was not in vain, nor given for empty cause; but rather spent in the service of causes larger than self and for reasons greater than life itself.

We implore you in behalf of our nations committment to the causes of peace across the globe, and for those who work for peace and justice here at home.

We pray for the success of our mutual quest to discover the way to a kinder, more gentle nation for ourselves, and the family of nations around the world. 
Where there is dignity and pride, 
and justice for all people, 
especially the poor, the homeless, 
the divided and oppressed for whom today has not meaning, 
and the future holds little hope.

By your Spirit, Lord God, link together in one common goal those who are veterans and those who are not, that from this day forth we may be rededicated to the instructive words of your servant Micah;

to love mercy, do kindness, and walk humbly with your God.  Amen.

Nearly12 hours later his words refuse to let me go...this is why I am posting Reverend Koeneman's prayer.  I'm not a veteran, but I have worked with and for veterans and their families most of my adult life.  On behalf of their sacrifice, I am going to seek to live more deeply into this prayer - to be a person of peace, hope and justice here in Waverly and wherever God may send me.  Won't you join me?

in Christ, together,

Monday, May 6, 2013

morning walk

I woke up early, I'm gonna blame my mom alarm, because my first thought was that we are out of milk, and today is a race day.  On race days I make breakfast, because I know Ethan won't each much the rest of the day.

So off to the store for milk, and bananas and orange juice.  It was such a beautiful morning that as soon as I came home I decided to go for a walk.  I do have xx pounds that I'd like to lose before Hannah's wedding in two months - yikes!  Well, as soon as I grabbed my sneakers Toby started looking at me with expectation, and so in dog took me on a walk this morning...

His striving at the leash reminded me that I am often wont to do the same, I fear I have a tendency to focus on something, put my head down and steam right on through till it is accomplished.  While his pulling at the leash did quicken my pace, in doing so, he missed a few things along the way, like the deer in the tree line, the birds flitting about, the trees budding out and the beautiful sun rise.

can you spot the deer in the tree line?
As my arm started to ache from his pulling on the leash I was reminded of this passage in Psalms... "I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."  (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV)

As hard as it may be, with everything that is swirling around at home and in my vocation, I have to remind myself to 'lift up my eyes to the Lord,' or else I could be consumed by the work of the day.  Not that it isn't good or important work, its just that the reality is my hope does not come from getting it done.  I tend to think that life is more about the journey than the destination.  It is good to be reminded of this in tangible ways.  Especially when the schedule for my week is already slammed, and its not even 8am Monday morning.

And so, I say to myself - take time for God moments, and trust that God is present and in the midst of it all!

Here is the rest of Psalm 121.  This time the Common English version:

I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
God won’t let your foot slip.
Your protector won’t fall asleep on the job.
No! Israel’s protector
never sleeps or rests!
The Lord is your protector;
the Lord is your shade right beside you.
The sun won’t strike you during the day;
neither will the moon at night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
God will protect your very life.
The Lord will protect you on your journeys—
whether going or coming—
from now until forever from now.

Amen.  May you rest assured in God's love and grace as you journey today, and if our paths cross let's make some time to visit and enjoy the moment.

in Christ, together,