Cyber Monday


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​It’s all very simple…Just hard to do
Try doing what you are not supposed to be doing
without letting yourself know
If you know about it then you can’t do it​ because you don’t do that,
Because the person looking over your shoulder
isn’t the one on the outside
So get on line fast — before you know it
But, now that’s clear — just log in with your user name and your password.
Did you forget your username…?
Who are you — the one you used to be or the one that you are now
The person you are on the way to becoming by what you do–
 is that who you are?
Just log in as who you really are
Ah…good…glad you remembered
Now, the password…
Is it the one you used with the name of the address you would never forget
or the one with the street number that you want to remember?
Oh…remember, it was the gift you wanted…that was the password
right action
Still doesn’t work…then, try these security questions.
The answers will lead you to the password
1.  If what you have doesn’t make you happy, why do you want more of it?
2.  Maybe we should start from scratch.  Where is scratch?
3.  Is it really better to be safe than sorry?
4.  What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
5.  If you don’t have all the things you want, are you grateful for the things that you don’t have that you didn’t want?
6.  Is it true that you have to see it to believe it, or do you have to believe it to see it?
7.  What activities make you lose track of time?
8.  If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
9.  If you push the elevator button more than once, does it make it go faster?
10.  It is possible to know the truth without challenging it?
Finally…the password — now just type it in …backwards
It works.
You are in — to that silent space where you know who you are
what really matters
what you care about
what it means to believe
and that little thing called love
The only thing, at the end of the day, that matters
So stay connected.
Light a candle — just one
single candle.ok
And answer one more question
If you had five minutes to live
and a cell phone–
who would you call
what would you say
what is stopping you?
It’s Cyber Monday of Advent….
CONNECT…not to the world wide web
but to the wide world within and let the light without lead you
Advent – Connect
Advent – Light
Advent – Faith
Can you hardly wait for Giving Tuesday?

Finally…It’s OPENING DAY!


opening day

It’s 84 days till Spring Training
But that’s just baseball
 It’s 341 days until the General Election
But that’s just politics
 TODAY is the real OPENING DAY
Today…we begin the journey
 Just a trip across the Welcome Mat
The one that God has put out for you
To Welcome you into who you really are
And we can begin
 It’s the Advent Journey
Through stories and traditions
And choices and cleaning out the clutter
and turning up the music of the heart
and turning down the white noise of the daily grind
 One trip across the Welcome Mat
to discover the decorations on the inside
and to discover that those little white lights make your own truth visible…
 Where the real gift is the one you have kept from others
because it might be risky
and someone might not agree
and it might require some assembly including
reading the directions
asking for help
and deciding not to take yourself so seriously.
 But the Welcome Mat is out
So…which one is it
welcome mat
WHEW! You Are IN!
Congratulations and Welcome to the Advent “Open for Business” Journey… a little bit of quiet … some stories for the road …
remembrance of that journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem that was marked by chaos, fear, judgment, terror, taxes, being numbered, friends, faith, family and love.
 It was about what happens when you love God and a child and one another and so you take the next step…without a 401(k or b), with no health care coverage, no access to internet and no strategic plan.  But, along the way…we are going to do a few things…
Remember Advents gone by
Tell a few stories (the ones my family might be tired of hearing)
Move the couch and see what’s under it –
– and then do the same within
Bake a few things
Laugh now and then
Be quiet for a minute
Make some room
Give away something you like
Not complain about the weather
Clear the obstacles
Write a real note with a stamp 
and a hand-written address
Create a community of those who have gone to the mat –
– and crossed it
Now that we have crossed the Welcome Mat..let’s enter this world we call Advent — the beginning 
— the Opening Day of our church year…but most importantly, of our lives
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And so, on this Advent journey — we are going to recapture some of the traditions underneath the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and reservations for New Year’s Eve.
During our journey, we will wind back a few of the clocks and remember what we inherited while we take the chance to reimagine in the present.
And so we begin.
So…sit back for a minute and place yourself in 1830…with the cold wind whipping through the prarie and the long nights before solstice with the power of fire honored in hearth and candle.  Around these dark nights are the hopes and dreams that will become the gifts hidden under our trees –ingenuity of creativity, genius of thinking, perserverance against all odds, courage in the face of terror, faith grounded in daily sacrifice, honest sharing around a candle.
Take a wheel off the wagon you can only use in the spring and summer and take some evergreens off the trees before winter captures them and weave them through the wheel so you won’t forget that spring will come.  And then, add the five candles — four around the wheel for these four weeks of journey and one in the center for the great Feast.
 single candle.ok
Today’s work is simple…take down the wheel of your own life and make it STOP…then, fashion evergreen around it in a simple circle without beginning or end of hope…possibility…promise.  Then, find candles –traditionally three purple and a pink, with a white one in the center, but the color is less important than the commitment to light them — to make light — to be light.
 Then, extinguish all else and light the candle, letting it be possible that the same energy that gave rise to the wisdom on those cold winter nights in the prarie might be ours this night…a bit of honest fear, a deep breath to inhale a dose of courage, the release of all that keeps us from living the faith we have received and a promise to take this journey .
Happy Wheel Covering!



Are you ready?

Advent start

let the mystery unfold you
opening tomorrow
at a heart-theatre within you
you have a reserved seat
just click and open
…then again…
you are always free to ignore or delete
but then 
what is promised
is not possible
Welcome to the Advent Adventure
Don’t forget to bring 
a snack of joy 
seasoned with gratitude
See you tomorrow
for the opening!


The Light and the Dark of Things


It feels like such a gift…the day the time “Falls back” and for a moment it feels like you have an extra hour of sleep.  Then, suddenly, even before the required (recommended)  battery change on the smoke detectors, the dark creeps in and replaces the light.  There is a merging that happens as the boundaries between day and night disappear — children find their way to school in the night and the dusk falls on them as they patter home.  The veil between dark and light begins to disappear.

Then again, perhaps the blending of Halloween along with Saints, Souls and remembrance — when it often feels to me like those who are absent are fully present.  I marvel that grace winds itself through me and leaves a crack in my heart so that I remember.  I think I hear her laughter for a second and a tear gets turned into a chuckle as I remember the early morning jokes my departed friend would tell me as we pounded the pavement in her passion to see me fit.  I catch a glimpse of the stars and I remember that they are brightest from the bottom of the well and I begin to wonder what God’s experience of all of this is. If the star is a crack into the heavens, I wonder what it’s like when there is no separation between light and dark.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard Parker Palmer, an educator and theologian (and I like to think of him as my friend although I have never been even close to being in the same auditorium with him)…on a radio interview where he described the connection between the expectations of God and the expectations of parents.  He said something like this, “God loves us unconditionally, but has high expectations of us.  There is unconditional love, but it is not a blank check for irresponsibility.  It comes with high expectations.  Just like every parent.  Just because God has high expectations of us doesn’t mean there is not unconditional love and don’t be afraid that loving and expecting great things cannot co-exist.”  I think that’s the way it is…unconditional love, but high expectations.  There is both light and dark.  We can expect something extraordinary from one another and be willing to love the human.

It reminded me of our great friend, Bob Rosenfelder, SJ who worked at one moment with those who, in the grasp of the imprisonment of addiction, had killed someone while driving drunk.  He worked with them after the trial, the sentencing, and the inital time in prison when life was at the most bleak.  He recounted to each one the promise of the unconditional love and forgiveness of God and the civil consequences that come with action.  One does not erase the other.  There are consequences for our actions and there is love for the human person who seeks a new beginning.

It seems to me…this season of leaves crunching beneath our feet, when light and dark seem confused somehow and when the extra hour of sleep resembles the definition of illusion…it is a time for both the unconditional and the choice.  We can choose to believe that the buds will come or we can act like the leaf that refuses to let go.  We can be those who trust that even when we have defiled the high expectations, the unconditional new beginning is just around the calendar…but not until we spend some fallow time in the darkness of being made ready — the gratitude of remembering what we have been given.  The confidence that the light will come.  The inkling that light and dark are really the same — just different parts of the same day.

It’s time to rake the leaves — to collect what has been and to let the bare branches do their work of remembering how to create.

I’ll race you to the leaf pile!