Here is a poem/call to worship for Transfiguration Sunday:

The mountain top
the shining face
the glowing clothes
the voice of God speaking from the cloud
the commandments etched in stone
Sometimes God shows up
in ways we cannot deny
in a place we can go
a light we can see
a voice we can hear
a stone we can touch
there is the veil
the overshadowing, terrifying cloud
the questions
the appearing and disappearing
the excitement
the wondering
the silence
Sometimes God shows up
in ways we cannot deny.
Always God shows up
So we have shown up
here, now
May God give us eyes to see.

And a Benediction:

In the coming week, may you experience the presence of God with joy.
May the holy cloud comfort you.
May the divine voice encourage you.
May the power of the Spirit transform you, transform us, transform our world. Amen.

What do You Do?

Joanna preaching“So, Joanna, what do you do?”

My comfort level with this question depends on the context. In this case, I was at a neighborhood get-together with several new neighbors I didn’t know very well. The 79-year-old man asking the question is active in a local conservative independent evangelical church. The 60ish-year-old man also listening in attends the Weslyan church and home schooled his children. And there I sat, on the couch, nursing my plate of Chex mix.

I was kind of hoping everyone would assume I was a stay-at-home mom and avoid this question all together. (O.K. Not really.)

“What do you do?”

“I’m pastor of the Mennonite church in town.”

Continue reading “What do You Do?”

Guidelines for the Kansas Senate Ethics Committee

Appropriate attire for women testifying before the Kansas Ethics Committee.

Kansas Senator Mitch Holmes recently imposed guidelines for people who appear before the Senate Ethics Committee. There are some reasonable things in there, like requesting that cell phones and pagers (for those still living in the 1980s) be silenced in the committee room.

Continue reading “Guidelines for the Kansas Senate Ethics Committee”

Wednesday Worship Piece: Micah 6:6-8

Here is a call to Worship based on Micah 6:6-8

With what shall we come before our God?
Shall we come with lots of money for the offering basket?
Shall we bring our carefully scripted words?
Shall we sing on-key in perfect four-part harmony?
With what shall we come before our God?
With minds set on justice.
With hearts open to loving kindness.
With feet striving to walk the path of Jesus.

Reading the Scriptues

rainbow bibleI think this story from Nehemiah 8 is absolutely amazing. You have a group of people, hundreds of people, all the people, gathering together not to listen to a concert or watch a show, but to hear the scriptures read. Ezra begins reading: “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth.” And on through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And “the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law” from early morning until midday. Amazing.

A good reader could probably keep a crowd engaged through the narrative-rich books of Genesis and Exodus, maybe even Leviticus. Those books contain plenty of Hollywood-worthy bloodshed, sexual intrigue, and amazing phenomena–the flood, the burning bush, the plague of frogs. But once the reader hits Numbers . . . even the most dynamic speaker is likely to loose the audience. Continue reading “Reading the Scriptues”

Random Thoughts on Turning 41

Showing off my gray hair. It’s there. I promise.

I’m irritated that all of the temporary hair color says it will “cover the gray.” I’m proud of my gray hair. I’ve earned it. And as a diminutive female, gray hair can only help my pastoral gravitas. Still, I’d love to be a redhead for a month or so. Where is the hair color that LEAVES the gray and just colors the boring brown parts of my hair?

I’m going to eat that crappy pizza in the freezer for lunch today. (I mean, I’ll cook it first.) I know I bought it for my husband, but it’s not my fault he hasn’t eaten it yet. It’s been like three weeks. And surely there is some sort of statute of limitations on these things. And it’s my birthday. And he’s not home.

Continue reading “Random Thoughts on Turning 41”

Star Gazers

bethlehem-star-remix-1-1381836-1599x2404There is so, so much in this Epiphany story. Good stuff. And hard stuff. Deep theological insights. Profound truths about the human condition. But this year it is the star that is pulling me in. And on one hand it feels like I should pay attention to some of the more earthly, serious aspects of this story. But on the other hand I have realized that I am definitely not alone in my fascination with the star.

Continue reading “Star Gazers”