Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What I Did Tonight

I turned this..

... into this...

... to be a surprise for my coworkers and also for the folks who work at my physical therapist's office. I made 32 little goodie bags with glittery spider rings, Halloween erasers, spooky monster finger puppets, ooky slimy green hands that stick to the wall, jack-o-lantern notepads, pumpkin and skull yo-yos, little chocolates, monster ring pops, and of course eyeball gumballs. Two will stay here for my munchkinlings, and the rest will be given away. Until now, only one other person knew I was doing this, so it should be fun.

I remember one year on Valentine's Day, I went around the office leaving those goofy little cards from elementary school on everyone's desk with a Hershey's Hug and a Hershey's Kiss. "Here," I would say, "have a hug and a kiss!" It made everyone smile.

And of course, one of my most favoritest things in the whole world is to send Christmas cards. I send over 100 every year, and this year I'll be pushing 200. I love to send them to other countries, love to send them to people who won't be expecting them, love to send them to family and friends and to you strange people who live inside my computer. I don't expect cards in return. Of course, I love to get anything in my mailbox that isn't junk mail (shredded for the hedgehog's bedding) or bills (dutifully - if sometimes grudgingly - paid). But the joy for me is in the giving and the sending. In picking out cards that I find beautiful. In signing each by hand, trying to write at least one complete sentence in each. In lifting each recipient up to God, if only for that brief moment when I sign the card and seal it in its envelope. In putting them in the mail, hoping I am sending love and light in as many directions as possible.

We just had "Stewardship Sunday" at my parish this past week. The theme of the stewardship campaign this year was that gratitude begets generosity, and generosity begets gratitude, and you have a wonderful cycle of love. (I'll confess, I misplaced my pledge materials, so I need to stop by the office again and pick up a card to fill out. But shhh - don't tell anyone, okay? I know our Assistant pops in here every now and then to see what new kind of heresies I'm up to this time.) And I'll admit, I love to give little gifts to my friends and family. I think the best are not the grand gestures, but the small touches. The little things that say, "I'm thinking about you, and I love you." And they don't even have to be things, either. I remember how much my kids loved it on the days I would go to the grocery store without one of them accompanying me. They knew that there would be some small surprise waiting at home. And that they might not notice it at first. It may be their favorite cereal in the pantry, or a special package of cookies from the bakery. It may be seedless red grapes (because somebody doesn't like the green ones!) or even a cheesy DVD from the five-dollar rack. But they always knew they'd find something special that hadn't been written on the shopping list.

So... happy Halloween! May your jack-o-lantern light the path for strangers. May the ghouls and goblins that visit your house this year all be the little kind, dressed in costumes and seeking candy. May your candy not run out, even if you saved The Good Stuff for yourself.

And the next morning, may you awake remembering all who have loved you, knowing that they are dancing in God's kingdom, and have faith and hope that you will join them in the eternal waltz.

And now... though there are many things I should be doing instead, I'm going to go work on finishing up the flute sonata I'm writing.


Tuesday at Writers Island: Haunted

This week's writing prompt over at Writers Island is Haunted. It is introduced with a wonderful little spin about a shipwreck on the beach of our island, and how the wreck is haunted by the tortured souls of sailors and pirates. But this week, the word haunted took me into a different direction, and this is how it turned out.


I am haunted by the memories,
memories of young puppy love
of desperate teenage sex
of yearning for freedom
and thinking it would be found
in the arms of the man
who rescued me
from the helpless frustration
of living in my father's house.

I am cursed by the changes,
changes wrought in my life
by giving myself to someone
who could not give himself in return,
by meekly submitting
and turning over my power
to one who knew only how to abuse it,
returning me to helpless frustration
as I lived under my husband's roof.

I am blessed by the inspiration,
inspiration of those who live for the Light
of hunting for beauty around me -
songs in the flowerbeds of summer
and poems in the falling leaves of autumn.
I am blessed by a new me,
me who knows she is beautiful
me who knows she is lovable
me who knows she deserves joy.
I am blessed by seeking blessings
by releasing the haunts, the curses,
by finding the lovely, the awesome
and ignoring the frustrating, the crazy-making.

I was haunted.
I was cursed.

I am blessed -
as it was in the beginning
is now
and ever shall be.
May you be blessed, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lectionary Post: All Saints' Sunday

In The Episcopal Church, All Saints' Day is a major feast, and is one that we are allowed to translate to the next Sunday. So most parishes will be celebrating All Saints' Sunday this week. The lectionary readings are:

(And for a true confession, I usually find myself far more moved by the readings for All Souls' Day, called in the BCP Commemoration of all Faithful Departed. Those readings are:
But I'm going to write about Sunday's readings, since that's why I started writing these lectionary posts... even if it has been about a month since I wrote one. [blush])

So. All Saints' Day. I don't envy clergy who have to find something new to preach every year on our major feasts. I know that current events color these holiday sermons, as well as those who come to church for the special feasts but may be a little less regular in their attendance through the more boring Sundays of the year.

I have to admit that I was a little surprised at the thread of violence I notice in these readings. It's not terribly overt - well, not in all of them - but I'd been trying to notice when I fall into patterns of using words of violence in my speech and writing this year, and trying to choose other ways to get across the same ideas. So these were rather more noticeable to me now.

From the Ecclesiasticus reading, there is the line about making a name for yourself by your valour. It isn't stated overtly, but I think that this would be understood at the time it was written as valour in battle. The Psalm this week is perhaps the most obvious, with the double-edged sword, with vengeance and punishment and binding and locking the rulers of the nations. The Revelation story here mentions the angels who have the power to harm the earth, and of course the same image of being washed in the blood of the Lamb. The Beatitudes are mostly sweet and peaceful - though definitely threatening to the typical world order - but they talk about being reviled and persecuted... in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you. Well, guess what: most of those prophets ended up dead. Killed. Murdered. Not pleasantly. And this is supposed to make us feel blessed. Yeah. Blessed.

It is amazing how many of the saints are martyrs. There are lots of really bloody saint stories out there. Just take a look at the list here, or some of the retellings here. I remember reading in St. Teresa of Avila's autobiography how she yearned to be martyred, even to the point of running away from home with her brother to seek martyrdom at the hands of the Moors... at age seven. Blessed are you when people persecute you.

I'll admit this freely: I don't particularly want to be persecuted. I don't like it when people spread lies about me - or even when people think things about me that aren't true. I don't want to be martyred, and I don't want to be known for my deeds of valour, and I don't really want to wield God's sword and lock up President Bush in iron shackles. And sometimes, it really hurts that we live in a world where people are still persecuted, still martyred. Where people are still achieving deeds of glory and valour in battle. Where men and women are still locked up in iron shackles.

It hurts me sometimes to live in a world where people can be looked down on, harassed, persecuted, tortured, even killed for the way they were born - the way they were created by God - whether this is male or female, with skin of a certain pigment, gay or straight.

This world sometimes just sucks.

The good news is, this world isn't all there is. God's kingdom exists. God's kingdom is real. And while sometimes it is hard to see God's kingdom in the midst of the suckiness here, we are given hope. The blessings in the Beautitudes - we will be given comfort, we will see God, we will be filled, we will be children of God, we will be shown mercy. We will be given the kingdom of Heaven. And Revelation tells us that God will show us the springs of the water of life, and will wipe every tear from our eyes. The earthly water of pain - our tears - will be replaced with God's water of life, of health, of wholeness, of love.

All Saints' Day reminds us of those who have gone before us, those who are now dancing in God's kingdom. We have this day to shore up our hope, when we are hurting or sorrowful or angry about this world, so that we can look to our ancestors to whom God has apportioned great glory and majesty. And yes, I know that our loved ones are dancing in God's presence. To use one of Jesus's favourite rhetorical techniques: if simply partaking of the Eucharist makes me want to dance, then how much more is one inspired to dance by seeing God, by being in God's presence, by being shown the springs of the water of life, by drinking deeply of them and having one's last tears wiped away? How much more does one need to dance in praise of God than by finally knowing - knowing to the deepest fiber of one's being - how completely and scandalously and recklessly one is loved by God? How much more does one want to dance in thanksgiving when one has been totally assured that every sin and mistake and error has been washed clean, and one is now pure and free and holy?

God's kingdom is one of light and peace and love and joy. We may live in strife and violence and hardship and pain. We may live in a world where there are torture and war and disease. We may have AIDS and malaria and even chickenpox and ingrown toenails. But we know there is something better.

We know what God has in store for us.

We know who is waiting for us there.

And though we may fear dying, though we may grieve at the loss of those we love, we know that we will all be with God.
Washed clean.
Blessed children of God.
Drinking from the springs of the water of life.
Dancing, in the kingdom of Heaven.

Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Checking in, saying hi!

Good morning, all!

I know I have been remiss in posting. It's been a couple weeks since I wrote a lectionary post or a piece for Writers Island (where, by the way, this week's writing prompt is another rich one). But I've been busy. Between my daughter's hurt foot at the beginning of the month, a trip to northern Virginia for work, music lessons, choir rehearsals, doctor appointments, physical therapy, and somewhere in there actually working at my job - well, I've been busy. And this week is especially nice because my best friend in the world is visiting from Canada.

He flew in last Thursday, and we spent the weekend visiting Monticello, driving Skyline Drive, and worshipping at the National Cathedral on his birthday. Between us, we took over 600 photos, and we're still sifting through them. It was a gorgeous weekend, and the Blue Ridge Mountains were lovely - peak leaf season this autumn! Last night we met my parents for dinner at one of my favorite bbq restaurants, and this morning we had birthday cake for breakfast. 'Cause when you're a grownup, you can have whatever you want for breakfast! Remember how when you were a kid, you just knew that your parents were waiting for you to leave for school so that they could break out the cookies and brownies and cakes and ice cream? Well, they were. :-)

Yesterday afternoon, my kids were giving my friend a hard time because he is very polite, which you may have heard is stereotypically Canadian. I told them no, he was only being nice to them out of respect for me, and he let out a snort at this that had the kids just about rolling on the floor with laughter. It was well done.

Today we - blissfully! - have no plans, but on Wednesday, after my voice lesson, we're going to a concert by the Virginia Symphony. And Thursday night is choir rehearsal, which is mandatory, of course, because my friend is the organist and choir director at his parish in Ontario.

I'm taking Friday off from work, and we haven't decided yet what we plan to do. We've considered bicycling in the Dismal Swamp along the boardwalk to Lake Drummond, and have also thought about taking the ferry to Jamestown and seeing the first permanent English colony in North America during it's 400th anniversary year. (As you might be able to tell, Virginians are rather proud of this, this year.) Of course, there's always the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, the Norfolk Botanical Garden, or my favorite local museum, the Virginia Living Museum. And then on Saturday, he flies back home, to where it's cold instead of pleasant and even is supposed to snow in the next couple weeks. Of course, we could desperately use some moisture here in Virginia, but I'm nowhere near ready for snow yet.

Let's see... what else... I've just finished writing a prelude for organ and flute based on How Can I Keep from Singing - but I haven't gotten to really hear it yet, just on the computer. I'm looking forward to it; if it meets the approval of the organist at church, we'll play it for the ecumenical Thanksgiving Eve service. I'm also learning a Vivaldi piece for the prelude on November 4th (All Saints Sunday), and lots and lots of good music in choir for All Saints, Christ the King, and of course, Advent and Christmas.

So yes: much busyness, much fun, much beauty. Thanks be to God!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Vignettes

It's been an interesting day so far - some ups, some downs, and right now, a whole lot of tired. I just wanted to share some little scenes from my day, and maybe some bigger stuff, too, if that happens.

When the munchkins and I got to the church today, we noticed the flocks of geese in the field that separates Old Donation from the elementary school next door. There were easily seven or eight dozen Canada geese in the field, all hanging out and foraging through the damp, dewy grass for food. As I walked up to the church, I saw the organist come out - still in his black cassock and white cotta - holding two old hamburger buns. He said, "I'm going over to feed the geese. There are so many of them out there!" And he did. I watched him tearing off bits of bread for the geese, who clustered around him gratefully. It was a wonderful sight, peaceful and sweet and loving.

The gospel lesson today is a neat one, not as awful as they've been the last several weeks. I knew it was coming, because I'd read it in advance last week, but I was still completely taken aback when we got to the last line: Your faith has made you well. Our rector preached an amazing sermon on this text (which I will link to once it's on the parish website), and I'm glad it was available in hard-copy form, because I didn't hear most of it. I had been transported to a night in December 1997, a night that was dark and scary, when I was struggling fiercely with depression and losing. And I knew I did not have the faith to make me well. I still don't. I don't have the mustard seed faith Jesus talked about in the gospel last week. And reliving that awful, terrible, frightening night, I closed my eyes and clung to the cross hanging around my neck, and tears rolled down my face.

I served as a healing prayer minister today, which means that I had the privilege of joining the altar party during the eucharistic prayer, and then stood in the back of the nave for anyone who wanted to receive the laying on of hands for healing. This is a powerful ministry, and it has always been an amazing reminder to me to get myself out of the way, so that God can work through me. And I know that by offering these prayers, I am healed every bit as much as the person I pray over and for and with. This is the second time I've served in this ministry at Old Donation, though I'd served as a healing prayer minister at my former parish, and was the first time I actually had customers. One thanked me very sweetly, and one offered me a blessing in return. It was really something special. I returned to the choir loft with a big smile.

Backing up a little bit to the eucharistic prayer - I've written before about the Lord's Prayer, and how I used to always hold hands with my children during this prayer in church. It has been quite a keen ache to come to this moment in the service, and to have my children be somewhere else. I'm in the choir loft and they're in the nave below; they're not even at church at all; whatever. So this morning, the chalicer reached for the hand of the young acolyte standing next to her, and he reached for the hand of the acolyte next to him, who is about 14 or 15 years old. And he very subtly reached his hand just the slightest it toward me in invitation. I knew better than to make eye contact or smile at him; I just lightly took his hand, and felt my heart expand in my chest.

After church, the kids wanted to stop at a park for a little while. The playground there was swarming with children and families, all out enjoying this gorgeous fall weekend. I found a tree to sit under, because I just wanted to relax, and they took off running here and there, coming back to check in with me every so often. I enjoyed the sun on my skin, the breeze through my hair, the laughter of children, and the romping of all the dogs. After a while, the kids came and sat with me, and we chatted about big things and small things for a time, until it was time to take them home to their dad.

I helped them carry all their things into the house. Last night, when we'd gone out to get my daughter's cooler-weather clothes to keep at my place, I'd insisted she pick out a bag to keep their books and pencils and papers in for their piano lessons. We were at a store where the most expensive item is $15.98, and she picked out a very nice messenger bag that was $6.98. She proudly showed this to her dad this afternoon, and he made his trademarked "Psht!" noise. Then my son remarked that they had the laptop backpack there for him, that I'd offered him last night since he needs a good - but not-wheeled - backpack for carrying his laptop to and from work... but that it had the books that he and his sister had purchased at the bookstore last night inside it. And I got another, even louder, "Psht!" But nobody got the chance to tell him that the kids had used their gift cards from last Christmas, because he walked out of the room. And once again, I have to think, I'm glad I'm walking this path.

I drove home in tears. I'm tired. After dredging up that awful night from 1997, I had all sorts of crap floating around in my head - the typical depressive stuff: I've never really been capable of loving anyone, all I ever am is a drain on the people around me, everything I've ever accomplished has been a lie, I just fake my way through everything, I've never been anything but a screw-up, all my decisions are wrong wrong wrong. Bleah. So I set to accomplishing the household tasks still ahead of me - changing my sheets, getting the neverending laundry going, scrubbing bathrooms, mopping floors, cleaning the hedgehog's cage and giving her a bath. I've done the first two on that list, but after I finish this post, I plan to indulge the tired me for a bit. I haven't decided yet whether to nap in my newly made bed - I love fresh sheets! - or out on my couch. But I will lie down for a time, and it will be in front of open windows, so I can enjoy the kiss of these cool autumn breezes on my skin.

Peace be with you today. May you be made well by your faith, whether it has grown to mustard-seed-like proportions yet or whether it is still as minuscule as mine. Or, as our rector pointed out that the KJV puts it: thy faith has made thee whole. I wish you wholeness, healing. Confidence in your worthiness. Hope. Peace. Love.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Writers Island: The Journey (#2 of 2)

This week's writing prompt at Writers Island is The Journey, and now I have the new piece that I wrote just for this week.

The Journey
October 1, 2007

We are leaving on a journey.

I want to be prepared.
I ransack my clothes,
try to find itty-bitty bottles
for shampoos and lotions --
and suitcases!
We need luggage
to put everything in! --
And passports
and traveler's checks
and clear, one-quart
resealable baggies,
or we'll never get through security.

You sit on the corner of the bed
and you smile at me
at my ransacking
and my rushing,
at my haste
and my hurry.

you say.
"You do not need any of those things
for the journey we are taking."
I pause --
your eyes catch mine
and hold them.

I know you are right
but I am afraid.
What will happen to me
on a journey
if I don't have my suitcases
my passports
my traveler's checks?
What will happen to me
on a journey
if I don't have my clothes
and my itty-bitty bottles
and my clear, one-quart
resealable baggies?

What will happen to me
on our journey?

What will happen, beloved?

You are silent,
your eyes holding mine
singing in love
warming me with fire
trying to tell me
everything I need to know
trying to give me
everything I need to have.

My eyes fall to the floor
to your feet;
my lips quiver
and my shoulders tremble.

I cannot tell you
everything you need to know
and I cannot give you
everything you need to have.

The clear, one-quart
resealable baggie
has fallen to the floor
between your feet and mine,
and it rustles
in the breeze from the open window.

I hold out my hands
to show you
that I am not prepared.
I do not know
what to bring
for our journey.

You reach out
and place your hands beneath mine,
your palms dwarfing mine
your long fingers circling my wrists.

you say.
"This is our journey.
We go where the west wind blows us.
We do what the sun and stars and moon bid us.
We go with empty hands
because we do not know
what we will need.
We go with full hearts
because we are together."

This is our journey.
My hands were empty
but now they hold yours.

My eyes close
to the scattered clothing
traveler's checks
itty-bitty bottles
and clear, one-quart
resealable baggies.

And hand in hand,
we step through the door
onto the path
to discover our journey,
the one we take

Writers Island: The Journey (#1 of 2)

This week's writing prompt at Writers Island is The Journey. I have a poem that I wrote in 1997 about a journey, so I thought I'd share that with you first, and then follow it up with a new piece for this week.

The Journey
June 28, 1997

At the front door my journey begins
I don’t know where or how it will end.
Taking me places I’ve never been,
Showing me things that I’ve never seen,
The road turns and twists back round again;
For no two journeys is it ever the same.
Today I look out past the sunrise
Where images dance before my eyes;

I see the sea rushing up to the shore
Feel burning sun, hear waterfall’s roar.
Raindrops patter while thunderclouds boom
On drunken markers above each tomb.
Squealing children slide and swing;
Breezes whisper and church choirs sing.
Mountains stand firm, all pride and power;
O’er lean skyscrapers the snow peaks tower.

Rushing streamlet giggles and laughs;
Over it the billboard shouts Fresh Draft!
At five exactly the whistles scream,
Tell workers to go home to cold tv screens.
Accepting the real world as a sitcom,
They rarely look back, never peer beyond
Immediate present to futures unknown;
Surrounded by family, they live alone.

The world keeps on turning whether they care;
Sun rises and sets with nobody there.
Today I see it, but soon I’ll return
From the journey to ponder what I’ve learned.
The road goes forever if you will just follow,
Through cities and forests and fields lying fallow.
The journey begins at your front door:
Will you take it, or just hit the snooze and snore?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lectionary Ramblings

The readings appointed for this Sunday in The Episcopal Church are...

So yes, it's one more week of tough readings. After reading these, I confess that I'm glad we're using the propers for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, for our annual Blessing of the Animals, rather than these. I'm having a hard time seeing the common thread among these this week, but I think I'm going to go with...


The Habakkuk reading and the psalm both seem to be standard fare, at least for Christians who are familiar with the gospel. Both of these emphasize the topsy-turvy, upside-down nature of God's kingdom, much as we heard in last week's lessons, where the poor are rewarded and the indolent wealthy are not. Of course, to someone living in the time of Jesus, this was an absolutely scandalous message. As the congregation I worship with was reminded yesterday, in these times, the belief was that earthly wealth was an outward and visible sign of God's favour; the rich were rich because they were godly, and so God blessed them with wealth. But a careful reading of the Old Testament prophets - or even a fairly quick skim through them - shows that every single one of them preached this same message at one time or another: God will lift up the poor, and God will tear down those who abuse, take advantage of, or even blindly ignore the poor.

I'll confess that stated so broadly, this gives me some qualms. Not all of the rich are wicked. Nor are all of the poor righteous. And I find it really difficult to believe in the God who punishes us for the human fallibility and brokenness we were born with. Yes, we need to put forth an effort, and we need to care for the poor, and we need to hold up each other. But a poor person can be every bit as loathsome as a rich one. So does the righteous rich person get condemned while the wicked poor person is exalted? That hardly seems right.

This gospel lesson is frankly confusing. To try to make heads or tails of it, I read it in a larger context. The very next story in this passage is one of gratitude. Jesus heals ten men at their request, and only one comes back to say thank you... and that man is an icky, filthy, cootie-ridden Samaritan, but Jesus says he was made clean. So what about this short passage for Sunday - is it related? In my mind, the word that relates them is thank - but the problem is, it almost sounds like in this week's reading, Jesus is telling us not to thank people for the work they do for us. My sense, though, is that Jesus is telling us the opposite. I can just hear the irony in his voice. "And do you thank your slaves for doing your bidding? Of course not! It's what they're for. Slaves are there purely for your benefit, and they should be thankful to you for taking care of them!" Um, yeah, right.


What is singing from this chapter of Luke for me is how rarely we encounter true gratitude - or, to back up into the first four verses, true forgiveness - and how precious these really are. And yet, while forgiveness is often very hard work, gratitude is so easy to give away. How hard is it to thank someone? A stranger, a spouse, a sibling, a child. A boss, a co-worker. An acolyte. A choir director. A priest. Thank you is quite a powerful pair of words, and when said with any sincerity at all, can touch us very deeply.

I remember when I was growing up, my parents would order my sister or me to do something, and we would obey. That's how it went. When I had children, I decided I wanted to do things a little differently. I wanted to be respected not because I had power over their lives, but because my children knew I respected them. So I tried not to give orders unless it was a matter of safety. Instead, I would request, and I would say please. And no matter whether the task one of my children undertook was a special favor for me or was a regular daily chore, I would make a point of thanking him or her. Because while it is everyone's job in a household to support and care for the home, I did very much appreciate the things they did to support the family and the household. I think they realized that I value them, not just for their garbage-taking-outing or litter-box-scooping or table-clearing or dish-washing skills, but for who they are.

I also remember one day, about eight years ago. I was having a terrible morning at the office, and even though I'd packed my lunch, I desperately needed some space. So I got in my car, and drove up to a Wendy's, and went through the drive-through to pick up some lunch to take back to my desk. And I could tell that the poor woman in the drive-through was having a terrible morning, too. The man in front of me had yelled at her through the speaker, and I heard him yelling at her again at the window, while she was trying to take my order. Of course, I was so busy seething over my lousy-rotten-stinking-crappy morning, that this barely registered. When I got to the window and held out my change, I saw her shoulders slump and her eyes drop, and I felt a surge of sympathy for this woman who was sharing my crapulent day. And when she handed me my change, I looked straight at her, and we made eye contact. I smiled, as sincerely as I could muster, and I said, thank you. And her face lit up. Her body straightened, and the barest hint of a sparkle returned to her eyes. She smiled back at me, and wished me a nice day, and for a moment, I believed she meant it. And as I pulled forward to leave the parking lot, I realized that I was now smiling broadly and genuinely. It had become a nice day, just by sharing a smile and a thank-you.

Now, this woman was not my slave, not by any means. But she was in a position where I got to give an order, and she was expected to obey it. And that's what the man in the car ahead of me was yelling about. He saw her as a worthless slave, when she was really a beautiful and unique and beloved child of God. And that is, as Paul says in the closing sentence of our reading from 2 Timothy, the good treasure entrusted to us. The treasure is God's love for us, our love for each other. And the wonderful thing about this particular treasure is that the more we give it away, the more we pour it out for others, the more we are filled with it in return. God's love was never meant to be squirreled away or saved for later. It is a lavish, extravagant gift, and it is meant for sharing, giving, reaching, pouring, extending. And when we recognize this treasure within ourselves or within those around us, we have a choice of how to respond. We can be like the other nine lepers in the next section of Luke's gospel, and just keep on going. Or we can be like the icky nasty Samaritan, the one who recognizes the treasure that Jesus has poured out into his hands, the one who stops, just for a moment, just long enough to say thank you.

My wish for you this week is that you can find gratitude the size of a mustard seed. My prayer is that you will find the good treasure entrusted to you, and that you respond to God's great gift and treasure with gratitude and love. And I hope that maybe you'll remember my words, and that you will show gratitude to the people in your life, whether they seem deserving or not. We are all worthless slaves, but somehow, we have all been entrusted with the good treasure. Thanks be to God!