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Shining Like the Sun

Last Epiphany Exodus 34:29-35; Luke 9:28-36 My youngest daughter, Maya, will turn 9 years old on Tuesday.  Which makes me feel a bit nostalgic. Just yesterday she was my baby, happily toddling after her older brother and sister.  A naturally joyful person, she was just as excited about a trip to the grocery store as a trip to the zoo, so she transformed our boring chores into adventures just by her presence.  And now she is this big kid -- a total extrovert who loves making slime and turning cartwheels. Sometimes Maya’s birthday is just a regular day.  Every once in a while it falls on Ash Wednesday (which makes celebrating a little hard).  This year, it’s on Shrove Tuesday, which is perfect for her! Because Maya is our pancake fairy. In our house, whenever we find ourselves with a free Saturday morning, Maya and I make pancakes.  We work side by side, laughing and sniffing and tasting -- and sometimes pretending we are competing on a Chopped championship.  Often there is a mystery ingr…
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Catching fish, one at a time

February 10, 2019
Luke 5:1-11

This week I went to Arizona to be with my aunt to celebrate the life of my uncle who died recently.  It was a wonderful gathering of family with everyone sharing their favorite stories.  My favorite was one I’d never heard about how Aunt Shirley and Uncle Dick met.  He was a Marine stationed in Southern California with one week left to go before he moved to Washington State for a new job.  And she was a college student just about to return to the University of Colorado after being home for the summer.  And one day they were both invited by friends to a party on the beach.  They met and fell in love and three months later they were engaged.  And the rest is history.
This story gave me a new lens for looking at my aunt and uncle's marriage.  But even while I love their story, I can’t really relate to it.  My husband and my origin story wasn’t quite so neat.  We met and dated and moved and broke up and kept in touch and moved again and dated again and only…

Swimming Through the Danger Zone

Baptism of Jesus January 13, 2019

After Christmas my family spent some time at the beach in Florida.  It’s the same Atlantic Ocean that we swim in every summer in Delaware when we do our family trip to Bethany Beach, but it looked and felt surprisingly different.  Warmer, which was a nice surprise for January. But also much less predictable. At Bethany, I’m used to one wave coming at a time.  Sometimes the wave is big and scary, and sometimes it’s small and harmless.  But either way, it usually breaks in about the same place and so I know how to prepare myself for it.  My normal beach practice is to swim out past the breaking point and just float around relaxed, bobbing over the waves before they turn strong and unpredictable.  Of course, there is always a danger zone I have to go through to get to that relaxed place -- a few yards where being swooped by a wave is possible -- but once I get through the danger point, I know I’ll be okay. But in Florida, at least while we were there, it…

Singing Mary's Song

December 23, 2018
Luke 1:39-55

I’m generally the first to arrive in the office on weekday mornings.  In fact, in the winter darkness lately, I’ve been picking my outfits by the light of my cell phone and tiptoeing out of the house in the semi-darkness so as not to wake up my kids.  There are some downsides to this.  Like, one day last week I arrived to find there was paint all over my sweater.  But most of the time, the benefits are greater.  Most importantly, I get to be present with my kids after school -- but also I fly down the GW Parkway with no traffic and nothing but green lights in Old Town, and arrive to limitless parking options and uncanny quiet in the office.  I’ve grown to love the office at that hour.  There is something sort of sacred about the quiet darkness.

On Monday this week, I began my day as usual.  I made my way here as the sun rose over the river and got situated in my office.  Since I was on to preach today, I took the opportunity of quiet to start looking at to…

Ode to Thomas Merton, patron saint of people like me

December 12, 2018Wednesday EucharistThomas Merton (December 10)

I feel like I won the lottery this week!
Sometimes when I’m on to preach for a Wednesday Eucharist I go looking at the possible saints to choose from and am not terribly inspired.  Sometimes they are people I haven’t heard of, or people whose saintliness feels like a bit of a stretch, or people so far in the past that I have trouble relating to them.  (Though I should admit -- thanks be to God -- that even in those weeks I do end up finding some nugget that speaks to me and inspires me, so the exercise is not in vain.) But not this week.  This week there was no question in my mind who to choose. Thomas Merton, of course!  Blessedly, his feast day was December 10, making my preaching gig today a piece of cake.  Thomas Merton, if you haven’t heard of him (which I would have trouble believing) was a 20th Century Trappist monk and one of the most-influential spiritual writers of recent times. There are two pieces of Merton’s writi…

How is this Good News?

December 2, 2018 Luke 21:25-36

Yikes. A parishioner at my previous church used to talk about how sometimes she would hear some shocking reading, and then the priest would announce “The Gospel of the Lord!” and everyone would respond “Praise to you Lord Christ!”  And she would just look around in disbelief at the people sitting there, apparently undisturbed by what they’d just heard. She said sometimes she wanted to shake us all and shout out “WHAT? How can that possibly be good news?” I’m sure this would have been one of those readings. Here we are, minding our own business on this first weekend of Advent.  We’re looking forward to Christmas, and getting ready for it. We are starting to be surrounded by beauty and celebration. The Scottish Christmas walk this weekend.  Twinkling lights turning Old Town into a fairy world. Making pretty Advent wreaths to adorn our tables with candlelight. Starting to hear Christmas music on the radio. And we come in here, expecting to hear some pretty s…