My mother died when I was 22 years old. Her death was hard for me because in addition to being my mother, she was also my best friend. That was not always the case. We had great difficulties during my teenage years and it was only after I moved out of the house at 18 to go to school that we had enough space between us for our love to grow and to flower into the beautiful thing it became. I grew up with my mother and stepfather and as close as I was to my mother I was equally distant from my stepfather. So, when he died 2 decades after my mother I was surprised at how deeply I felt his loss. What also surprised me was the sense that in addition to being an orphan, I lost for a time my sense of self. It occurred to me then that I no longer belonged to anybody. Having never married, I was nobody’s wife, no body’s mother and now nobody’s child. This sense of not belonging to anyone was deeply felt despite my having brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends who loved me and still do. (more…)
This faith we follow is based on words — many, many words. We start with the immensity of the Bible. There are 783,137 words in the King James Bible. By comparison, the Bible is about one-third longer than Tolstoy’s War and Peace. (more…)
What we do tonight is very ancient – and very new.
Tonight, we stand with people long ago who the lit the fires of hope, and told the ancient stories of creation, deliverance and resurrection. They faced impossible odds and certain death, and still they proclaimed “Alleluia!” (more…)
Jesus Said: “Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Last week Pastor Jim shared with us the importance of repentance, turning around or turning back; today I would like to add to that thinking another type of turning; turning over. Turning back to God and turning one’s life over to the care of God seem to me to go hand in hand. Neither one is easy. Both require a willingness to surrender the ego and/or the parts of ourselves that are holding us hostage to beliefs, behaviors and ideas that impede our spiritual growth and development. Turning one’s life over to God and leaving it there requires courage, patience, trust and faith. This act of surrender takes one out of the driver’s seat, challenges our notions of autonomy, and in a way, asks us to become as helpless and as dependent as a newborn child with the hope that a God we cannot see, touch or feel will care for us and provide what we need when we need it. It is no wonder that asking us to let go of all we think we know about life, to embrace a way of being that is so dependent and trusting, can make it feel like we are birthing into being a new self. It can be painful and hard. And yet the reward, a new life in Christ, makes it all worthwhile. (more…)
As some of you know, I was a news reporter for many years – for a quarter century in fact. And many years ago, I covered a huge wild fire in Southern California that destroyed an entire neighborhood in San Bernardino, known as the Panorama fire.
It is still listed as on of the worst fires in the history of the West. Some 280 homes burned to the ground and four people died. (more…)
I’d like to tell you about a friend of mine of many years. Her name is Doris. She is a few years older than me.
She was born during World War II in Poston, Arizona, in the desert near the Colorado River hundreds of miles from the nearest city. Doris’s family name is Okada. She is Japanese American. Doris was born in an internment camp.
For those unfamiliar with the internment camps, they were established by executive order 9066 of President Roosevelt two months after the outbreak of the war. (more…)