Word LESS…

Ok, so I’m not completely wordless this evening as we continue our journey through Lent. But I am tired. It has been a long day, with much to do. So I don’t have a lot of words. A few, but not a lot.

Today we had a funeral for another pillar of our community at St. Andrew’s. Tears were shed, and when I came across this image, I thought it quite apropos:


Sometimes our days are marked by tears. In this season as we journey towards the cross, toward the way of sorrows taken by Jesus, tears seem appropriate and significant. So remember, when tearful days come your way, that Jesus wept. And that God reads our tears as if they were the most eloquent of prayers. In His presence may we find comfort and peace.

For Boston…


Yesterday was the Boston Marathon. And someone decided it would be a good idea to set off some bombs near the finish line. People bled, people were seriously wounded and people died.

It’s all that the media is talking about, and on social media there is post after post. Some are angry that someone decided to do something so senselessly hurtful. Some are frustrated that the media becomes so focused on the tragedy – repeating the same facts over and over, perhaps giving too much attention to the perpetrators of the attack. Some just want to express sorrow that we live in a world in which things like this happen. And some vow to never allow incidents like this to dull or defeat the human spirit.

I have to admit, those are my favorite posts. Whether it’s the quote from Mr. Rogers about how his Mom taught him to always look for the helpers in these situations; or the comment that if someone was trying to defeat the human spirit with these attacks, perhaps marathon runners were not the right targets; or the endless posts declaring the prayers being said for the city and its inhabitants – I like this line of thinking. I like the reaction to terrible things that says “I will not let the terrible thing be the end of the story, I will find something good to focus on, even in the midst of this tragedy.”

I think Jesus would have liked that line of thinking too. I am praying for the individuals affected by this tragedy. I am praying for the families who have lost someone they love. I am praying for the city, that it might heal and endure. But most of all, I am praying for humanity. That we can learn to find a better way. That we will live to see a day when stories like this only exist in history books. That we would not allow this to turn our hearts to anger or cruelty, but that we would learn to love each other more, and to sow kindness and reap its rewards.

I am praying.

 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

Philippians 3:12-14 MSG


I had the opportunity to start something new with some leaders from St. A’s tonite. I’m excited. I don’t know where God will lead us with this ministry, but I pray that God will be the ONE who does the leading.

This beginning may be small, but with God even small beginnings can lead to great things. Pray with me that this one does, if you would.

For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 NLT

Healing Power

At the end of each cycle of our Alpha-and-other-courses on Wednesday nights, we have a healing service. It is the strangest thing – it is just a simple little service. My order of service was hand written with the call to worship written in tiny, probably-only-legible-by-me writing at the top of a sheet of paper that had been torn in half. It’s not slick and professional and produced. In many ways it has less planning and effort put into it than any Sunday service.

And yet it is the most powerful thing. I am always amazed at how exhausted I am afterwards and I can only chalk it up to the fact that I have been in the presence of the risen Lord and He has been at work.

I am astounded at the people who come to this service. I love that some of them walk up to me and say “you know what I need prayer about, Rebekah” and others tell me their story for the first time. I love the honesty of the prayer requests. You know – there is just something great about someone saying plainly what their pain is. It is actually kind of cool when someone says – for example – I’ve been constipated and its very painful. There is no artfulness about that, it’s just honest. And that makes it beautiful.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. In James we read: ” The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16b, NLT)

Sometimes I am just amazed at the how much honor there is in my vocation. I am honored to have been part of this service, once again.


Sabbath came early…

A friend asked me tonite if she had missed my blog entry from last night. I said, “No, the Sabbath just came REALLY early this week!”

It has been a busy week of meetings and the meetings have been tough ones, and I am tired. So last night I got home from a meeting, looked at the computer and thought “not possible.” I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write. I just needed a break.

Sometimes Jesus needed a break, too. He would go off on his own to pray and to think. Then he would come back to his ministry with renewed energy. He knew how important rest is when you are weary, and he didn’t apologize for taking rest when he needed it. I like that about Jesus. And not just because I’m an introvert at heart, and my time alone is precious to me. I like it because I think it is spiritually healthy – to balance times of work and times of rest, times of togetherness and times of solitude.

As I work on my physical health this year, I don’t want to leave my spiritual and emotional health in the dust. I want to seek balance in all areas of my life. Because I believe in One who came to give life and give it abundantly. And it is not possible to have an abundant life if you’re all out of balance.


This is something I am meditating on tonite. I am not sure that I can articulate my thoughts on it yet…so I will leave it mostly without comment and just say this: I believe this is true, but that doesn’t mean I always understand HOW it is true.

Still, I pray that I can be at peace in the midst of trying circumstances by practicing the presence of Christ. I pray that for you, too!

Another glance at the “Our Father”…

The Lord’s prayer is among the best-known passages in the Bible. Sometimes it is the only thing people know to recite when it comes to prayer. But I often worry that we have some wrong ideas/bad theology that is formed out of how we understand this prayer.

For example – the prayer starts “Our Father, which art in Heaven”…. Do we think this means that God is far removed – that God dwells afar in a distant place called Heaven? Because I don’t think that is the God that Jesus knew, and it’s not the God I know. The God I know is close, involved even in the seemingly mundane or silly parts of my life.

Dallas Willard took a crack at re-writing or re-imagining this prayer as part of his book, The Divine Conspiracy. And I find his translation so very helpful. So here it is. I hope it will bless you as it has me:

Dear Father always near us,
may your name be treasured and loved,
may your rule be completed in us-
may your will be done here on earth in
just the way it is done in heaven.
Give us today the things we need today,
and forgive us our sins and impositions on you
as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.
Please don’t put us through trials,
but deliver us from everything bad.
Because you are the one is charge,
and you have all the power, and the glory too is all yours-forever-
which is just the way we want it!
Amen (or Willard would be thrilled if you went “Whoopee!”)



Logically, or emotionally?

Today Koski went to get spayed by the Vet. On the one hand, this is a perfectly routine procedure and tonnes of dogs have gone through it before without a hitch. On the other hand, THIS dog is MINE. And that seems to make all the difference. I didn’t sleep at all last night. I cried when I drove away from the vet’s office this morning.

Logically, I understand that the risks were low and the likelihood that she’d be home with me by the end of the day was high. Emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck (not a terrible wreck, but it was stressful).

And that’s the reality of life, isn’t it? At least for my personality type, it is. I say this all the time: logically I know that….but emotionally I worry/fear/feel that…

One of my colleagues pointed out to me this week, that the fear and worry is a monster that is always hungry. And worrying about an issue just feeds the monster and makes him bigger and hungrier. I asked her what the solution was, then. Because the “just don’t worry” theory doesn’t really work.

And she said the wisest thing. She said, “Find a scripture that brings you great comfort, repeat it to yourself whenever you feel yourself beginning to worry.” So simple. So wise. The word of God chases away our fear and discomfort. The monster cannot survive when we don’t feed it.

So I have chosen a couple of scriptures to help me starve the monster:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
Isaiah 41:10 MSG

If you make the LORD your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
Psalm 91:9-11 NLT

You may choose different ‘starve the monster’ scriptures. But if you are one who finds it easy to worry, easy to feed the monster, I urge you to choose some and to memorize them and meditate upon them. Starve that monster. It’s a better way to live.

A little prayer…

Right now I am stupid-tired, and my brain isn’t working at all. So tonite I really will be doing a short blog. I’d like to be in bed, perhaps fully asleep by about 10 minutes from now.

An elder sent me this little prayer today and it has been rattling around in my brain since she sent it. I just have to share it, and hope that it blesses you as it did me:

I asked the Lord for a bunch of fresh flowers but instead he gave me an ugly cactus with many thorns.
I asked the Lord for some beautiful butterflies but instead he gave me many ugly worms,
I was threatened, I was disappointed, I mourned.
But after many days, suddenly , I saw the cactus bloom with many beautiful flowers,
and those worms became beautiful butterflies flying in the spring wind.
God’s way is the best way.

(Chun-Ming Kao, written from prison)


I have several friends going through difficult times or facing major changes at the moment. I’ve mentioned this before. Whenever a friend – Christian or not – shares a struggle with me, I tell them that I will pray for them. (If they are not Christian and not close enough for me to know if they will be comfortable with that, I ask if I may pray for them.)

Today was a day of running around doing mundane things – a little grocery shopping, a lot of cleaning, a little laundry and a little cooking. While doing all these chores, my mind tends to run. Actually, it’s really good to have a day when I need to do a bunch of chores because it allows me time to think. As I worked and thought today, it occurred to me how necessary prayer is in my life.

It is as natural to me as breathing, and something I do without really thinking about it. Sometimes I just stop and say “Thank you, God.” Sometimes I spend a concentrated time in prayer. Sometimes I think of someone (remembering something they said or did in the past few days) and when I think of them I lift them up before God in my mind.

Sometimes I pray with words, sometimes in song, sometimes in images and sometimes just in feelings that have no words at all. Today, for example, a friend reached out to express a particularly difficult time she’s been going through in the past month or two. She has been on my mind all day. And while I don’t entirely know a single ‘easy’ thing to pray for her about, every time I have thought about her, I have felt love and protectiveness for her and connected those things to God. It’s a heart-thing and extraordinarily difficult to put into words without sounding trite or new-agey. Basically, I felt warmth towards her and towards God and connected those warmths to each other. I have no idea if that makes any sense at all to anyone else.

Sometimes we think prayer is difficult – but I think it is meant to be as simple as speaking to a friend. If I can pray for you about something, please let me know. And if you’d like to pray for me, well, I’d be touched. There are many things for which I need prayer, and if you’re the sort who feels best when given a specific request, I’d ask that you pray that God increases my trust of him and decreases my worry about uncertain futures.