enter stage left, 2013

2 . January . 2013

God Knows

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’

And he replied:
‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

– Minnie Louise Haskins

. . .

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you;
he will not leave you or forsake you.”

And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me,
do not bring us up from here.”

—I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.

—For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Deuteronomy 31:8; Exodus 33:15; Jeremiah 10:23;
Psalm 37:23; Psalm 37:24; Psalm 73:23; Psalm 73:24;
Romans 8:38; Romans 8:39 ESV)

…via a timely email from my friend, yingyan xo

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oy vey

19 . December . 2012

Image

on responsibility

7 . November . 2012

preparing to teach my first
biblical parenting seminar
friday night with patricia,
and this is what i’m
working with today:

Responsibility is completing a job without being reminded.

Responsibility reports back when the job is done.

Responsibility is the ability to stick to a job without having someone prodding you.

Responsibility abides by family values even when no one is watching.

Responsibility considers the intent of the request and does a thorough job.

on loss & on hope

5 . November . 2012

my friend, regan, wrote this
for her church newsletter
in her hometown in alabama.

i’m so proud of her.

. . . . .

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you,
and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


Matthew 11:28-30

At Christmastime, I tend to embrace the joys of tradition,
such as decorating my home, shopping for presents, and
helping my Grandmother prepare our annual Christmas feast.
Although I love these rituals, at times I exhaust myself
obsessing over the details. By claiming my attention and time,
these traditions can become an escape from the burden
of loss that I often feel during this season. However,
when I take a moment each day to ask the Lord to prepare my heart
for the true weight of the gift He has given me, I realize
that He has already filled my heart with joy in place of the loss—for this
baby we celebrate at Christmas has taken my sorrows upon Himself.
Christ came not to be served, but to serve, and to conquer death
so that I only experience the shadow of death, the shadow of loss.
The traditions of Christmas are comforting and meaningful,
and I look forward to them each year, but they cannot sustain me
during this busy season. So I reflect on the beautiful gift
of God’s son and respond with joyful thanks.

. . . . .

loveyou,regs xo

the twin sisters of the psalms

2 . November . 2012

my opening notes for
west side women
bible study this morning,

‘The first language of the church in a
deeply broken world is not strategy, but prayer.

‘We are called to learn the anguished cry of lament.

‘Lament is the cry of Martin Luther King Jr from his
kitchen table in Montgomery after hearing yet another death threat,
“Lord I’m down here trying to do what is right…But Lord
I must confess that I’m weak now, I’m faltering, I’m losing my courage.
Now I am afraid. I’m at the end of my powers. I have nothing left.
I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone’

‘It wasn’t a cry of isolation but rather a tradition King
had learned from generations of African American families
who were literally torn apart by slavery. The cry of lament had
been passed down to him in the music of the Christian spiritual,

‘sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home.
sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone, a long way form home.’

‘Lament is the cry of the psalmist of Israel in exile who,
feeling abandoned by God, demanded, ‘Where are you Lord?’
or the psalmists who were bothered by God’s remarkably bad sense of timing,
‘Why are you taking so long? The poor are being crushed.
The wicked are winning. Don’t you see it?”

‘The twin sisters of Psalms are prayers of praise and lament.
They are always walking hand in hand,
sometimes singing, sometimes crying.

‘Lament is not despair, it is not whining. It is a cry into a void.
Lament is a cry directed to God. It is the cry of those who week
the truth of the world’s deep wounds and the cost of seeking peace.
It is the prayer of those who are deeply disturbed by the way things are.
We are enjoined to learn and see and feel what the psalmists see and feel
and to join our prayers with theirs.

‘The journey of reconciliation is grounded in the practice of lament.’

-Emmanuel Katongole & Chris Rice, reconciling all things

so grateful for the women gathered
and the prayers & candor shared.

to God be the glory.

pastoral words

27 . October . 2012

careful, helpful words from david bisgrove:

Dear Friends,
 
By now you have heard of the terrible tragedy that occurred on Thursday night on the UWS.  Like you, Alice and I have wrestled with a range of emotions since we learned what happened, and our hearts are broken for the parents of the murdered children. I am writing this note to help us collectively process and support one another in light of what has happened in our neighborhood.  In caring for one another and dealing with our own shock and grief, there are several ways in which we can respond as a Christian community:
 
We can pray (Eph. 6:18).  At times like this where words fail me, I rely on the most honest definition of prayer I know, which is laying our helplessness before God.  Pray for the parents and extended family. Pray also for those in the school community and surrounding neighborhood who are dealing with the shock and grief of this tragedy.  Pray against the evil that led to this tragedy, that God would protect our community from fear and despair in our response to such evil. 
 
We can grieve.  Our grief reminds us that we ‘wrestle not against flesh and blood’ (Eph. 6:12).  It allows us to identify with our suffering neighbors who have lost so much.  We mourn with those who mourn (Romans 15:15) in order to, in some small way, enter into their pain.
 
We can hope.  There is always a danger that grief can turn into despair and paralyzing fear.  The antidote for that is the hope of the resurrection. We must remind ourselves in our conversations with one another that ‘death has been swallowed up in victory’ (I Cor. 15:54).  And as we remind one another of the reality that God will one day wipe away every tear, we can help our neighbors with the message of hope.  
 
In other words, we can love.  The hope of the resurrection means our ‘labor is not in vain’ (I Cor 15:58).  This doesn’t mean that we have all the answers, or that we understand what happened that night.  But the hope that we have in the resurrection that we will live eternally in the presence of God allows the Body of Christ to live out the powerful and simple phrase of Jesus – ‘love your neighbor’ (Mark 12:31).   So comfort, listen to, weep with, share meals and other kindnesses, and offer hope to – your friends and neighbors – as together we seek to bind up our collective wounds in the healing love of Christ Jesus.
 
With shared grief,
 
David

West Side Congregation | Redeemer Presbyterian Church