Cuts, Jinx, and Do-Overs

This morning’s message is a message about forgiveness. I wanted it to be a simple, light-hearted look at how easy forgiveness can be…how gently we can look past things that offend us in others to preserve a sense of harmony with one another in the name of love. With so much worry, so much heartbreak, […]

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The Economy of God

Have you ever noticed that we are literally surrounded by an abundance of beauty each day? Who knows the number of petals on a single rose? Or the total count of trees in a lush, green forest. How many light-filled—and sometimes rain-filled—clouds cross the sky each day over our heads and houses? Who could count […]

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Down the Mountain

One of the great joys of working with hospice is that I get to hear so many wonderful stories of peoples’ lives—the blessings they’ve experienced, the places they’ve seen, the love that has surrounded them. One patient I saw regularly told beautiful stories of a love-and-fun-filled childhood, growing up in the mountains of West Virginia. […]

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The Risk of Hope

This week, hope has been on my mind. Hope of better things. Hope of kinder days. Hope of justice, respect, compassion, quality of life. Hope that things will turn out okay, for us all. In particular, I’ve been hoping that the newborn baby finches in our aviary at hospice will all make it successfully through […]

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A Matter of Will

This year I took a simplified approach to my gardening because I knew it was going to be a busy summer. I bought the plants and seeds; I drew out a plan. I got everything in the ground in mid-May, when the soil dried out enough for planting. Of the three raised garden beds I […]

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What Love Will Do

I’m going to start our message today with a confession. Most weekday nights last week, as the PBS Newshour signed off the air, I found myself standing about five feet from my television, watching intently, usually in tears. My heart was deeply touched by the stories anchor Judy Woodruff tells at end of the newscast […]

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The Saints Next Door

The title of our message today—and the idea behind it—comes to us a courtesy of a tweet from Pope Francis. Early on Monday, he sent out a message, saying: “Let’s look at the ‘saints next door’ who, with simplicity, respond to evil with good, have the courage to love their enemies and to pray for […]

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An Innocent Faith

Fifteen years ago I was working as a chaplain at St. Vincent Hospital and I was on call one weekend when I was paged by a nurse in the emergency room. They had just had a death—a woman in cardiac arrest—and her son, a cognitively challenged adult who functioned at about the level of a […]

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Just Wondering

One evening last week I had the television on while I was doing something on the computer, and the British drama Grantchester was on in the background. The show is about an Anglican clergyman in Grantchester, England, who finds himself swept into all sorts of mysteries and mayhem. I watched it years ago in the […]

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Gratitude Is Your Superpower

Are you finding it a bit of a challenge to feel grateful right now? If so, you’re not alone. Daily the headlines remind us that things are continuing to worsen in our nation—the virus is spreading, the economy is struggling, people are losing their jobs across all industries, there may be a tsunami of evictions […]

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By Their Fruits

It’s hard to believe that we are already to that part of the summer when the blackberries are beginning to ripen on the vine. The lettuce and kale are up and ready for harvesting; there are green tomatoes on the sprouting bushes; the cucumber and summer squash have big, bell-shaped yellow blossoms, and the wildflowers […]

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Then and Now

Happy Fourth of July! I hope you celebrated in a safe and distant way yesterday, if you did celebrate. There were lots of fireworks in our neighborhood last night, but it seemed a bit calmer and less loud than previous years, which was a welcome change. As you probably heard, especially if you were planning […]

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The Quiet of Home

Good morning, Friends. Our message this morning could also be called, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” I mentioned to a friend last week that I was hoping I would have a week of “prayerful gardening.” And it turned out to be that and more. I’ve been feeling peaceful and quiet internally, which means I […]

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Through the Eyes of Love

Happy Father’s Day to you if you are a father, have had a father, or have loved someone who is a father! I read some interesting research this week that showed that being a good dad really does make a difference—a lasting difference—in your children’s lives. Of course we all just know this inherently, if […]

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Kingdom of the Heart

Our message for this morning comes to you courtesy of this beautiful paragraph written by Thomas Kelly. It is included in the Universal Light section of Britain’s Yearly Meeting’s Faith & Practice: The light for which the world longs is already shining. It is shining into the darkness, but the darkness does not apprehend it. […]

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What Canst Thou Say?

Friends, we are living through a remarkable time right now. A time ripe for change in a way beyond anything I’ve experienced in my half-century. When I started writing this message, several days ago, I was feeling overwhelmed and sad, tempted to despair. As I finish this message just now, I have hope. I agree […]

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Doing the Honest Work

We are seeing in our world right now is the very real, life-long, damaging result of us and them thinking. This is the type of thinking that sows seeds of separation, that values one group above another, that believes that power—not peace, not goodness, not love—is the ultimate goal. We know that human nature has […]

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In Spirit and in Truth

How do you find yourself spending your time these days? Are you enjoying the long, open moments, the freedom of choice, the ease of not having anywhere to go? Have you learned to befriend your boredom, to enjoy a little creativity, to calm the anxiety that sometimes arises and then meet it with a friendly […]

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The Beautiful Next

I hope you’ve had a good start to your Mother’s Day. Maybe your day started off with coffee and quiet, or with breakfast in bed, or a kiss from your spouse. Maybe you were remembering Mother’s Days when the kids woke you up early because they just couldn’t wait to give you their homemade presents. […]

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A Healing Pause

Last week, NASA published what I thought was an amazing report showing that the human heart is changed when we go to space. Apparently microgravity, which is the weaker gravity astronauts experience when they are orbiting the earth, encourages the growth of a certain hormone that helps our hearts to regenerate and refresh. Isn’t that […]

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Call and Response

You know, it’s usually a fact of normal life: You smile at someone; they smile back. You call a friend on the phone and they answer (or you leave a message and they call you back shortly). You call your spouse’s name from the living room; he says, “What?” wherever he is. Call and response […]

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In Deeper Reverence, Praise

So how are you holding up in your part of the world right now? Depending on where we are in life, depending on who we’ve got at home right now, depending on what we are used to doing on the average day, the current stay-at-home orders in place for our state may be affecting us […]

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We Rise

When Mary headed to the tomb so early that first Easter morning, she was heartsick and despairing. Everything was bad. Everything was lost. Her hope had been destroyed. She had seen terrible things over the last few days, heartbreaking things that must have shaken her faith in humanity and robbed her of any belief that […]

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Prayers of Intercession

This is the second of two reflections offered in the Good Friday service yesterday at Hancock Health. As a people of prayer, we know it to be true that prayer changes things. Prayer changes things in mighty and sometimes surprising ways. On our prayer chain at church we have so many stories of illnesses healed, […]

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Pause for a Breath

Yesterday at Hancock Health I had the blessing of participating in a virtual Good Friday service we offered for our community, knowing that many, many people this Holy Week will be unable to go out and attend services as they normally would. Here I want to share the first of two reflections I offered in […]

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