Friday, March 26, 2010


One of my favorite songs of late is "Swim" by Jack's Mannequin. I first heard the song sometime on the fall when they performed on The Daily Show & instantly fell in love with the song. Honestly, it speaks to me. There's been a lot happening lately around here & it gives me strength to keep moving forward.

You've gotta swim
Swim for your life
Swim for the music
That saves you
When you're not so sure you'll survive
You gotta swim
And swim when it hurts
The whole world is watching
You haven't come this far
To fall off the earth
The currents will pull you
Away from your love
Just keep your head above

I found a tidal wave
Begging to tear down the dawn
Memories like bullets
They fired at me from a gun
A crack in the armor
I swim to brighter days
Despite the absence of sun
Choking on salt water
I'm not giving in
I swim

You gotta swim
Through nights that won't end
Swim for your families
Your lovers your sisters
And brothers and friends
Yeah you've gotta swim
Through wars without cause
Swim for the lost politicians
Who don't see their greed as a flaw

You gotta swim
Swim in the dark
There's no shame in drifting
Feel the tide shifting and wait for the spark
Yeah you've gotta swim
Don't let yourself sink
Just find the horizon
I promise you it's not as far as you think
The currents will drag us away from our love
Just keep your head above
Just keep your head above
Just keep your head above
Swim, swim
Just keep your head above

So, I swim. And, I know I'm not alone. Thanks be to God.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Lost. I'm not talking about the TV show that everyone watches (except me). I'm talking about the feeling of being lost in the wilderness of life. Tomorrow, I am preaching on the parable of the Prodigal Son & talking about the feeling of being lost & then found by God's extravagant grace. It seems I've been feeling lost of late. I'm facing some challenges I've never faced before & it's thrown me a bit off course. It's easy to get wrapped up in challenges & begin to lose focus. I think I've lost my focus. It happens, even to pastors.

So, it's hard to write this sermon. I feel like I'll be preaching to myself as much as preaching for the congregation tomorrow morning. Perhaps God is trying to tell me something.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

On keeping Sabbath...

I'm the first to admit that I am bad at keeping Sabbath. I always talk about the importance of Sabbath days and harp on friends who are not doing it, but since beginning my ministry here in Pburg, I've not really taken a full day of Sabbath time. What is completely ironic is that over the next three weeks, I'm teaching the adult Sunday school class on Sabbath as Resistance. Yep. The irony is not lost on me.

There has been so much going on in my church & in my own life that I've neglected one of the most important things to keeping my own sanity in check. I feel overwhelmed & I know this is not a good place to be when you are a pastor. Any time off is being devoted to unpacking boxes, getting necessary things for the house, etc. This does not equal to true Sabbath. I'm finding it so hard to even sit down for five minutes without thinking about something that needs to be done. I've never really been like this before. I did a good job before of taking Sabbath time. What has happened?

Life and church stuff happened. Not an excuse. Just reality.

I'm going away for 24 hours to a retreat with other pastors. It's technically continuing education, but there is time for worship and reflection. I'm a part of a new group of pastors committing to study, gather, worship, support each other over the next 24 months. We're all new(ish) pastors with under 10 years ordained from my Presbytery. I'm headed there today. I am desperately hoping for space to clear my head. I need it. I do.

I hear my friends telling me I need Sabbath. I hear God telling me I need Sabbath. Perhaps I will find it today & tomorrow. We shall see. Thank you to those who are strongly encouraging my need for Sabbath - I need you to keep reminding me of it.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Finding the moments of grace

There is so much going on in my life right now & a lot happening with my church. Needless to say, I am feeling the stress of being a solo pastor. But, I was reminded yesterday of the need to find the moments of grace in life each day. While sitting in Barnes & Noble, a song came on my iPod called Life is Beautiful by Vega4. It has a line - "stand where you are. we let all these moments pass us by". It reminded me of paying closer attention for grace.

Here are my moments of grace -
- having coffee & great conversation with my women's clergy group
- seeing three nuns walking together into the bookstore, smiling & laughing
- finally seeing the sun for the first time in a while, knowing the warm weather is coming...

Despite all that is going on right now, I am thankful for these moments of grace & so many more. Hope you find your moments too. Peace.