Rest plays a key role in the renewal of our spirits
May 2022 ... During the sabbatical, I will lay down my pen from writing wedding homilies, funeral meditations, weekly sermons, and monthly faith columns for “The News Virginian” to direct time and energy toward serving God and neighbor both near and far from home ...
Discover Freedom in Christ this Easter
April 2022 On Easter morning, Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Men and women, youth, and children seek sacred places to retell Jesus’s victory over death and their freedom found in Christ. Yet, Christians may learn more about freedom in Christ from hidden places and faces than the places they seek and the people they choose to serve.
Have ears to hear and a heart to listen
April 1, 2022 Certain people, places, and books allow my ears to hear better and listen longer to God’s voice: the Gospel writer Luke is one of these people. While reading his gospel, my ears hear voices long hushed by society. Although scholars cannot confirm Luke’s profession, his roles of both doctor and writer seem to fit him well. His honest words transformed people rather than attempted to please them. After Matthew, Mark, and John turned in their manuscripts, Luke kept writing. Thanks to his work ethic and perhaps a physician’s perspective, some of our favorite parables appear only in his gospel.
Begin joyful living by making your bed
January 2022 We all desire a life filled with joy. The question is, how do we achieve that? The answer lies in small, specific, intentional choices that make the world a little better and allow the love of God to overflow into the lives of others.
Counselor of Wonder
December 24, 2021 Whenever we experience Jesus’s wondrous ways, we are changed. The old ways of seeking power and truth are no longer viable because we desire a daily script of wonder in our lives. We strive daily to live in the kingdom in which God intends, a kingdom where peace and wholeness is found through justice and righteousness. This Christmas, let us consider scheduling a fifty-minute session with the Counselor of Wonder. May we reveal problems which are hindering our celebrations of Christ’s coming into the world and our expectant hope for His coming again. May Christ guide us with wisdom and grace, transforming impossible human plans into possible divine plans.
Walk in Someone Else's Shoes this Holiday Season
November 27, 2021 Consider walking in someone else’s shoes this holiday season by ringing a bell outside on a cold winter’s night, listening to understand rather than listening to respond, and by holding someone’s hand through their pain. These simple yet profound practices will strengthen our empathetic muscles and help us love well in a hurting world.
On Halloween, behind each costume is a beautiful child of God.
October 29, 2021 Soon, children will dress up in costumes, and parents will take pictures of children standing beside siblings, friends, and cousins. Families will enjoy fall festivities in neighborhoods, homes, and churches. During these events, let us remember who is behind each costume: a beautiful child of God. From now on, when inserting pictures into photo albums, recall the groups where you recognize God’s presence, and write in the photo’s caption: “You are God’s beloved.”
One + One = One
September 24, 2021 Tonight, I have the honor of officiating a couple’s wedding at Ravens Roost Overlook. I will read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 on the mountaintop with emphasis placed on verse twelve, “And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (New Revised Standard Version) As believers, we view one cord within the threefold cord as God's unmerited and enduring love. The God cord provides amazing strength and divine purpose in human relationships: marriage, friendship, and family. My prayer for all couples is for God to strengthen their marriage covenant with an enduring love in the present and an everlasting hope in the future from this day forth and forevermore.
Sacred Places and Wise Individuals
August 27, 2021 The men and women who give the best advice and are known for their wise ways go toward conflict, problems, and sickness. They seek solutions alongside people by waiting in the silence and sitting with those in pain. Until they find a resolution, they keep calling, praying, and showing up. One does not gain wisdom overnight nor secure it through easy answers. A wise individual embraces this virtue because, often in their life, they have also experienced failure, challenge, or loss, and, along the way, a wise person called them on the phone, sat with them in their pain, and listened until they found a solution. Jethro combined years of experience as a father and a priest to impart wisdom to Moses. When asked, Jethro offered good advice. Over time, sound pieces of advice along with experience result in wisdom. Similar to being in sacred places, sitting in the presence of wise souls helps us dream, find clarity, and discover healing.
Unity emphasizes the goodness of God’s love
July 22, 2021 In June, Father Rolo sent invitations to the pastor group for the dedication service of the new church building. He asked us to wear our vestments and his congregation would provide handmade stoles. When I arrived for the dedication service, the parking lot was nearly full and attendants were directing cars to park on the grass. I parked the car, put on my black robe and followed a white-robed priest who walked toward the church’s side entrance. When I entered the building and turned toward the chapel’s entrance, the surprised greeter asked, “Are you supposed to go in there?” I responded, “Yes.”
Prayers for Orange Pants
June 24, 2021 I started praying for Liz this year on Feb. 28. My private prayer list included the request “orange pants for Liz,” between the requests for a woman battling cancer and a couple with Alzheimer’s. On social media, Liz posts pictures of herself in colorful outfits. I imagine her closet looks like a rainbow of garments stretching from one end of her wardrobe to the other. After a few messages to Liz, I included her search for orange pants on my prayer list and in my talks with God. A request for orange pants may seem foolish on a prayer list filled with requests for health concerns, job loss, homelessness, divorce, addiction and mental illness. However, each time I prayed for Liz’s orange pants, I smiled. I felt connected to God and a young adult miles away.
Following the beatitudes
May 28, 2021 Last month, I visited a 95-year-old woman. In reflecting on life, she spoke this wisdom, “I have had a good life; there were good times, and there were hard times.” On a mountaintop, Jesus taught the disciples similar wisdom in the beatitudes. Jesus taught them to anticipate future blessings mixed with goodness and hardship from a kingdom perspective."
Finding hope on Mother's Day
May 9, 2021 One Sunday evening, I arrived with dinner at Ruth’s WARM house. I signed the volunteer clipboard and placed the meal on the countertop in the communal kitchen. The house manager gathered the women and children into the dining room. As a toddler squirmed in his highchair, I briefly shared the story of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. I then posed the question, “If you could choose ten words to define your life from beginning to now, what is at least one word that would appear on your list?” After a moment of silence, a mother answered, “Hopeful.”
Mountaintop experiences often filled with struggle
April 22, 2021 In 2010, my husband and I traveled to Haiti for our first international mission trip. Grandparents cared for our two-year-old and four-year-old daughters… Leaving behind two small children was fearful; however, we trusted in God’s provisions. The Haitian mountaintop experience was a mixture of awe and struggle. The high temperatures and the steep incline of the hike could have prevented the mission group from experiencing gracious hospitality; fear could have kept us from traveling to Haiti, yet, in both situations, God provided. The days spent in Haiti enhanced our marriage more than any other day except our wedding day and the days of our daughters’ births.
Begin a new habit to grow your faith
Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021 Intentional faith practices establish routines, explore questions and create sacred moments. Whenever we combine our daily, weekly and yearly spiritual practices, our habits form a lifestyle with God at the center of our story. The best time to start a holy habit is now. The habits we begin today transform how we experience God tomorrow.
Enhance your faith by focusing on love
March 26, 2021 For 15 years, the “Thorns of Jesus” has hung in my office. My desk and chair have always faced the painting. Whenever I am weary, I focus on a Savior who never gives up. Whenever I need mercy, I focus on the blood of Christ, which represents the new covenant shed for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever I am searching for a thought to preach, teach, or pray, I focus on Jesus to guide me in the paths of righteousness and in the way of love.
There's a light at the end of the tunnel
February 25, 2021 On life’s trail and inside life’s dark tunnel, remember to trust God with each step, watch for joy, do not yield to fear, be patient in the darkness, and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Jesus is with you on the journey.
Poets help us to listen
January 28, 2021 Poets help us to listen. Intentional words and rhythmic phrases carry us from one line to the next. Poems allow us to breathe deeper and reflect wider. May we be grateful for the poets in our lives who love us, point us to the truth, and move our minds and our souls.
Humble Beginnings in Bethlehem
December 25, 2020 Ruth, Mary, and Jesus experienced humble beginnings in Bethlehem. A widow gleaned in the field. A teenager gave birth to a holy mystery. A king was placed in a manger. Their beginnings revealed the wisdom and ways of God’s glorious kingdom. My prayer for us, as we stay at home this holiday season, is to begin this Christmas day with humble steps and become part of the holy story too.
Strive to be a grateful receiver
December 9, 2020 As grateful receivers, may we store up all the creative gifts from God, so in all of our days, not just during the holidays, we, as faithful servants of God in the world, can return the generosity to others.
Look for the good this election day
October 22, 2020 Look for the good this election day. Let us do our part to learn, care, pray, and vote. God has a plan for November 3, a holy adventure ready and waiting for both humanity and creation. May we not be distracted by the division of an election but be caught up in the goodness of our God.
Being loved more important than being loved
September 24, 2020 The next time we find our integrity challenged or our hearts conflicted, especially with statements or questions regarding stone statues, tax payments, or health care. Let us remember and live out Jesus’s teachings of supporting the well-being of society, loving God and neighbor, and laying down stones of judgment. In doing so, we will transform our community, nation, and world to become places where being loved is more important than being right.
A lesson along the sea
August 27, 2020 The disciples knew this sea. They had been through previous storms, but Jesus was teaching them new lessons in the same classroom. The old ways of learning were being transformed so the disciples would stop catching fish and spend their time catching people.
Come, all who are weary
July 23, 2020 One of my favorite chapters in her book deals with the art of creative rest. Dr. Dalton-Smith writes, “We are not made for rest; rest was made for us. Rest is God’s gift back to His people. His presence is how He connects us to His rest. It is part invitation and part prescription. We are invited to see Him in creation, come when we are weary, and draw near to rest our soul.”
WARM works with Charlottesville chef to provide meals for homeless during pandemic
July 10, 2020 “I had lost my way creatively and philosophically when it comes to cooking,” Keevil said. “This allowed me to really center and focus and realize my passion is buying local ingredients and feeding my neighbors.”
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