Racial tensions and Mister Rogers…

The legacy of Mister Rogers is substantial and tackling the issue of racial tension was something he did “head on.” Included HERE is a summary of those efforts with Officer Clemmons. It’s wonderful to experience the video clips again with commentary.

Few of us have the exposure to millions of children the way that Fred Rogers did. Yet, each of us can make a statement about the importance of racial equality with our actions, one person at a time.

POSSIBLE ACTIVITY: if you haven’t started the 21-day racial equity challenge, it’s not too late. Check it out HERE

PRAYER: Dear God, Help me to not be too defensive when someone questions my comments or actions that might be racially inappropriate. Continually guide me to new understanding of my background and how I can make our world a better place for people of color worldwide.  Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!



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Lectionary Texts for Sunday, July 12, 2020:


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Doin’ the Daniel Tiger…

The legacy of Mister Rogers is substantial and just the other night was another example of his influence. While Zooming with dear family members, the youngest in our gathering got upset. We then watched her mom suggest that they might do “the Daniel Tiger.”

What happened next was marvelous. They did Daniel Tiger…and again…and again. Then we all were ready for discussion of our next topic.

What is “the Daniel Tiger?”

“When you get so mad that you want to roar,

take a breath … and count to four!”  ~ Fred Rogers song

An animated version is HERE – it is well worth the 1 minute to watch.

Then, maybe it’s time to practice this and/or share the approach with others in the days ahead? It’s worth a try, especially for those of us with a shorter fuse than we might like…

PRAYER: Dear God, When the anger level starts to rise, help us remember the Daniel Tiger so we can help ourselves diffuse the anger and then leap forward to Christ-like action. Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Not a tiger, but a hyena looking pretty angry here…
And the pack is just a little more tranquil?


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Power of Sankofa…

A recent summary of the Presbyterian (PCUSA) 2020 General Assembly meetings includes two particularly noteworthy highlights: 1) support for Black Lives Matter & Poor People’s Campaign and 2) using the image of the sankofa** 

The mythical Sankofa is particularly useful for those appreciating visuals. A quick sankofa description (more HERE) is:

The word “sankofa”, from the Twi language of Ghana, represents the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future, and translates as “Go back and get it”. The bird is known for flying while looking backwards!

As the Presbyterian (PCUSA) church moves forward, the leadership understands the importance of reflecting on wisdom from previous decisions. Sound advice for a denomination that has dealt “head-on” with many social justice and other issues over the years.

Perhaps mention of the sankofa offers each of us an opportunity too!?!?

POSSIBLE ACTIONS:

  • take a little “sankofa time” – reflect on your past relating to a key topic
  • For those in the U.S., this might be taking time to reflect on your life experiences relating to racism
  • Then perhaps consume some of the great materials on your topic. For those reflecting on racism, HERE are some great materials from the Racial Equity Challenge

PRAYER: Dear God, Help us spend more “sankofa time”. As we look back for wisdom, help us also leap forward using your Spirit to energize Christ-like action. Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Not a sankofa, but looking backwards! 🙂


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Lectionary Texts for Sunday, July 5, 2020:


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Sitting in the mud puddle…

The devotional, A Friend’s Comfort, really hits home. Deciding to sit down in a mud puddle to join a person who has fallen in there is a wonderful image. Following that up with the Biblical story of Job’s friends fits so well. In that set of passages, they sit with Job but don’t open their mouths.

Sometimes it’s our actions of “just being” that can help those who are hurting. No words ever need be spoken. Thanks, Our Daily Bread***, for this wonderful reminder.

POTENTIAL ACTION(S): Think of someone you will likely see today who needs comfort. Decide how you can “just be” with that person – arranging time to sit together, a hug, a consoling touch on the shoulder or ???

PRAYER: Dear God, We are so quick to speak. Help us to squelch that urge this day, and instead offer our presence to others, without necessarily saying a word. Amen

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

*** The materials Our Daily Bread (ODB) shares now warrant an annual donation on behalf of the Christian Playbook. ODB consistently shares thoughtful devotions, with audio versions a wonderful enhancement (you can subscribe for free HERE.)


No words need be spoken….


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Walking a labyrinth…

The Guideposts post HERE about labyrinths is well worth a read.

“Walking a labyrinth”  can be a powerful experience and you don’t need to take a physical step (the beauty of the pocket labyrinth!) There’s much more about labyrinths on the Christian Playbook HERE.

I especially like the idea of this “Faith Step” from the Guideposts post above

“Faith Step: Invite a friend to join you as you walk an unfamiliar path or trail. Talk about ways Jesus has guided you through the unexpected curves life has handed you.” ~ (Guideposts post of 8/7/18 HERE )

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

P.S. Here are two versions of Life is Like a Mountain Railway, a song that’s pretty relevant to the “Faith Step” above: 1) Patsy Cline (a peaceful stroll of a song) and 2) Johnny Cash and friends (more pep in this one, including all the instrumentals!)


Labyrinth @ St. Anne’s in northern KY
Pocket labyrinth


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Lectionary Texts for Sunday, June 28, 2020:


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Stress reduction in unexpected ways…

This Guideposts article by Phnesha Marchette is wonderful – – the idea of using art as a stress-reducer makes sense, even for those of us who might not consider this a primary gift!

Phnesha laughs when first feeling the call to artistic efforts. Isn’t it wonderful how the Spirit can work in such mysterious ways?

  • The “you should paint” stirring that happens regularly
  • The salesperson who becomes an informal accountability partner by saying he’ll expect to see one of Phnesha’s paintings the next time she’s in the store
  • Phnesha’s girls taking an interest in painting

Ever feel that stirring inside? Typing those words spurs a memory of this “Just Do It” song…

ACTION: Allow yourself some quiet time after reading the Guideposts article. Any chance you feel a stirring that needs some action?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!




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Lectionary Texts for Sunday, June 28, 2020:


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God’s Trombones…

One of our church saints told me of her joy in reading the book God’s Trombones by James Weldon Johnson. This poem (Go Down Death) from that book states so well what I believe our sister Sara Liz would say to us now that she’s passed, including the phrases

“And she whispered to us; I’m going home, And she smiled and closed her eyes”

“Weep not – weep not, She is not dead; She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.”

~ God’s Trombones, p. 29

What books or readings would you want people to see as testimony of your time on this earth?

ACTIONS:

  • take a look through your favorite books and articles to remind yourself of some noteworthy learnings
  • have you summarized some of these gems for possible use at your own celebration of life? If not – or if you want to think about how to share these ideas with family – check out links HERE

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!




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Lectionary Texts for Sunday, June 28, 2020:


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Happy MaRoMo Day! Celebrating Positive Male Role Models…

[NOTE: this is a re-post from previous years, with some modifications]

“It is not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons.” ~ Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)

Happy Father’s Day.  Hmmm… while I appreciate the concept, perhaps this is less about celebrating men who father children (flesh and blood) and/or raise children and more about recognizing men who are wonderful examples to children

So… maybe this year we can say “Happy MaRoMo** Day!” to all the important guys in our lives?

Not quite as catchy, is it?

Most of us have life blessings which include a multitude of positive male role models – dad, brothers, uncles, cousins and/or several other male family members, teachers, ministers, work colleagues and friends. Thinking of good MaRoMo examples, Jesus has certainly been an important one.

What positive characteristics come to your mind when thinking of Jesus? JOY is one for me, perhaps helped along from my reading of the book JESUS Man of Joy, including this description

“Jesus smiled wider and laughed heartier than any human being who has ever walked the planet.  He was young.  He radiated good cheer.  The real Jesus was a man of such merriment, such gladness of heart, such freedom and openness, that he proved irresistible.  He became known through Galilee for his genuine strength, sparkle in His eyes, the spring in His gait, the heartiness in His laugh, the genuineness of His touch; his passion, playfulness, excitement, and vitality: His JOY!  He made a dazzling display of love.  He set hearts afire.  He was an elated, triumphant young man with an incredible quality of life.”

~ JESUS Man of Joy by Sherwood E. Wirt, p.22

Wirt continues with some action-oriented thinking

“We ourselves may also express the joy of the Lord in smiles and laughter and good cheer, but those are not the only ways.  We participate in his joy through acts of worship, praise, prayer, and song, in witnessing to the saving grace of God and in helping others.”  –  – JESUS Man of Joy p.22

May each of us – male and female – find some Christ-like behaviors to model for our world on this Happy MaRoMo Day and in the years to follow…

POSSIBLE ACTION: Identify some important male role models in your development. Spend some time – – thank God for those folks and possibly send a note, place a call or do some other form of reaching out to those still with us in mortal form…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Men who shared wonderful examples to BGSU students and many others!


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Lectionary Texts for Sunday, June 21, 2020:


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Strengthening Your Prayer Life…

Three Ways to Strengthen Your Prayer Life by Elizabeth Peale Allen suggests these approaches

  • Change your prayer posture
  • Offer your day to God
  • Pray a balanced prayer

Elizabeth shares details on reserving a time in your day and components of prayer, among several others. Her full article (HERE) is worth the read, for sure.

POTENTIAL ACTION: Is “daily prayer” on your to-do list or calendar? If not, consider adding this to your official list or create some other methodical approach for coming to God in daily prayer (first thing in the morning, before bed, before meals or __________.)

PRAYER (elements of the prayer from Elizabeth’s article)

Almighty God, Today I offer myself completely to you: all my thoughts, all my words, all I do. Make my every movement a living prayer; help me unite myself to your son Jesus Christ in heart, mind and soul. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!




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Lectionary Texts for Sunday, June 21, 2020:


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Gratitude in the midst of shadows…

In very tumultuous times, Diana Butler Bass provides “A Word of Hope” HERE. We need this during our confluence of pandemics: COVID-19, racial injustice and economic inequality while two years ago when she wrote the post the issues were immigration practices and other U.S. challenges. Diane points out: “… Well, we’re not thankful for any of this. Instead, we can be thankful through it…”

Diana goes on to share some commentary about what we can do in the midst of challenging times, including strengthening our inner selves and sharing of our outer selves. She also provides some links to recent conversations on the topic.

Great is God’s faithfulness. Just typing the words brings back memories of the song and a little inner stirring…

Be grateful for the day, filled with the Spirit!

“A Prayer: I want to change. I want the world to change. Fear and division exhausts me. Exhausts us. We cannot live this way. Make me an instrument of gratefulness. Guide me to the way of mercy and love that leads to peace; That I may guide others to abundant life. For the sake of healing my own heart and healing the world.” ~ Diana Butler Bass




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Lectionary Texts for Sunday, June 21, 2020:


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