Archive for May, 2009

Day 29–Failure

May 28, 2009

So today was the first day that I failed to walk.  I know that we always find time for the things that are important to us.  But with the rain, schedule, etc., it just didn’t happen.  The good thing was that the reason I didn’t walk wasn’t that I just didn’t feel like it.  I wanted to, but couldn’t.  What’s that Bible verse that Paul wrote, “the good that I would, I do not, and that which I would not, that is what I do.”  That’s the human condition.  A little failure once in awhile is a good thing for us.  It reminds us of our humanity.  So thank God today for failures too.

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Day 27–again

May 26, 2009

I was feeling a bit guilty about not getting my 30 minutes in this morning.  Then we took my sister Ruth home from the hospital and discovered the big farm yard needed mowing.  I started out on the rider mower, but then pulled a Tom Sawyer and got my daughter Kjerstin to take over.  I hauled out the new “old push reel mower” and did some trimming with that.  I think I got more than my share of exercise.  Eventually 7 year old Johnathan took over the push mower and had a fun time.  Mary Jo wielded the ‘weed-whacker” while I sat on the porch swing and took their pictures.  🙂  A very good day of family and fun.

Day 27–Rochester

May 25, 2009

We’re in Rochester today.  My sister expects to be released from the hospital here today, and we’ll take her home to “the farm.”  We’re grateful for good results of surgery.

In the rush of activity yesterday, (saying good-bye to Pastor Marty, coming to Rochester, meeting Kjerstin and the grand boys here) the walk didn’t happen.  So early this morning, I hit the sidewalk along Highway 63 and walked about 20 minutes here in Rochester.  I’ll try to finish up the rest of the walk later today in Iowa.

An interesting part of the walk was to see an older gentleman, I’d guess in his 80″s who was doing a walking pattern in his driveway around his cars.  I don’t know why he wasn’t walking the street, but he was very intent on getting in a certain number of rounds on his driveway.  I wanted to go up to him and congratulate him.  I hope that I can be that mobile 20 years from now.

I’m learning to trust the thoughts that come to mind on these walks, especially the Bible verses.  Today’s was “Seek the Lord while he may be found.”  I don’t know if that comes from walking some strange streets and “finding” my way or if that comes for another reason. It seems an odd verse today.  My spirituality is the opposite.  I’m a person of faith because God has sought me and found me.  I believe that God hunts me down each day and insists on being my God whether I want God in my life or not.  Yet, I’m invited at the same time to seek God.  Another paradox of the Christian faith.  I suppose that the verse may simply be a call to live in this moment and this day in God’s amazing grace.  Now is the time, not tomorrow, or next week or next year.  This is the time for life with God.  May God be with us today and may we be with God.

Day 25–Doughnuts

May 24, 2009

So I got up before breakfast this morning to get the walk in before heading for the airport.  It’s 6:45 a.m.,  and I walk back toward Amazing Grace Lutheran Church and then down into a subdivision.  Some new homes on a cud-de-sac are built with wrap around porches and look like they come from the 1940’s.  Further on are a couple of abandonded houses and then some ranch style homes.  Mostly brick in that area.  Birds sing.  It’s a cloudy morning with rain threatening.  And it’s sad morning because of the leaving.  So I walk by a Quik Trip which is very like our Kwik Trips and go inside.  Why not bring home some doughnuts for breakfast.   Yes, yes, I’m trying to eat healthy, but…

In some of the workshops I heard this week, I got the distinct impression that God has put us here to serve God first of all, but also that serving God is enjoying what God has created.  I don’t suppose God exactly made doughnuts, but…  I can imagine God enjoying them none the less. Well, not every day, but once in awhile.  So today was the day for that.  I don’t remember chapter and verse, but there is one that says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”  I count doughnuts as fullness.  So walking and doughnuts made for a good start to the day.

Day 24–Shadow of death

May 22, 2009

My walk this afternoon took me along the Lawrenceville Highway in Tucker, GA.  My daughter Kari lives just a few houses off the Highway, so it’s natural to walk along there.  My walk started about 3:30 p.m.  It may be that the highway is busy all the time, but today it seemed especially busy.  A sidewalk runs along the highway, but the boulevard is only about 18 inches wide.  So I walk on the inside of the sidewalk which keeps the cars and trucks and buses more than 36 inches away.  As I walked and the vehicles whizzed by, I thought of Psalm 23,  “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear.”  It’s been that sort of day.  we put our cat, Molly, to sleep this morning, and my sister is in cancer surgery in Rochester today.  So walking along the highway, I had a heightened sense of the fragility of life.  Of course, we all walk every day in the shadow of death.  From our birth on, we are always living in death’s shadow.   That truth could easily cause us to hole up someplace in hopes of avoiding that final day.  But as Christians especially we live daily  with courage and confidence that God walks with us to fill whatever days we have with meaning and purpose.  And we live with hope that the end of the valley opens into the bright sunshine of God’s eternal presence where we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  My walk today brought me back to the safe harbor of home and family, but also of God.

Tomorrow it’s back on the plane to La Crosse to say good-bye to Pastor Marty.

Day 23–More Atlanta

May 22, 2009

Did you ever try to inhale without exhaling?  It feels like that at a conference like this.  Over 1600 pastors are here at this conference.  That means the people leading the conference can only talk at us instead of with us.  Maybe some of you have attended events like this.

We need to both inhale and exhale.  Our lives and our days are full of inhaling God’s abundant mercy, grace and providence.  We are overwhelmed with all the goodness God pours out on us.  That’s why we need prayer.  Prayer is our chance to exhale as we both express our gratitude to God and  praise God for all that God has done.  Our lives too become those prayers of exhale as we share all that we have been given and become the hands of God doing the work of God in the world.  That’s what came to mind this morning in those walks during the morning break.

Day 22–Atlanta

May 20, 2009

Our presiding bishop Mark Hanson did us Lutherans proud today.  The Festival of Preaching includes speakers and participants from most of the major Protestant denominations.  More Methodists and Presbyterians than anything else, I think.  Bishop Hanson was the preacher for the second of three worship times today. (yes, you read that right.) We’ve heard a couple of black preachers who bring their own style to the preaching task.  They are a joy to hear, but don’t expect that from this old preacher anytime soon.  It’s not my voice. And a lecture from a Methodist who reminded us that in preaching we can’t explain God, only point to God and to follow Jesus, though we don’t quite get Jesus.  A good reminder.  If we could explain God, we would be God.

The second of two walks today, was a 10 minute walk (each way) to get lunch at Moe’s, a taco, burrito, quesedillo place.  The walk was good to walk off the good food and good company.  One was a pastor who was one of Kjerstin’s college friends.

One more day of the festival and then a day with Kari, Matthew, and Nora, before heading back home.

Atlanta–Day 21

May 19, 2009

I’m getting my walking in short spurts for a few days.  I’m attending a conference on preaching and I walk during break times.  That also means I do a little different type of walking which involves sitting in the pew all day.  This is a spiritual walk for me. If you think sitting one hour is too long, try it for several hours a day.  I get to worship twice a day and hear two sermons each day plus two lectures on preaching.  Some of you may think that this is good for me, since you have to sit in the pew and listen to my sermons week after week.  I wish mine were as authentic and spirit filled as those I’m hearing.  Perhaps an old dog can pick up, not a trick or two, but an attitude, a mood, a direction that will fill us all.  Keep me in your prayers.

Airport walk

May 17, 2009

I was wondering about getting the walk in today. Not to worry. Though the arrival gate and the departure gate were just a little ways from each other on Concourse E at the MSP airport, I discovered that there’s a recommended walking path that takes about 30 minutes. All the way down Councourse G and up Concourse C and the walkways in between. And no, I didn’t use the moving sidewalks. So the walk is done for today. At the end of the day is family–Kari, Matthew and, of course, Nora, who is almost 3. What could be better! It will be a good boost to that emotional and social health God wants for all of us. Blessings on your week. We’re almost halfway through our 40 days.

Day 18–Against the wind

May 17, 2009

The cold north wind kept us indoors this morning and picking up on some of those daily house tasks that we all need to do. After a visit at the hospital this evening, however, we did brave the wind and headed on out toward the lake. The wind was still cold, but it did feel good to compete against it.

Along the way we noticed lilacs in bloom, most trees leafed out and I think maybe a grape vine climbing an old fence post along Highway 16. Growth in some of the oddest places.

I guess if growth is happening in my life too, it is happening in an odd place as well. Who knows what God can do?

I’m headed to Atlanta tomorrow. I’ll visit family but also take in several days of a Festival of Preaching. Some top preachers from around the country will preach and give lectures. I have much to learn. It might take leaning into a north wind for that learning to happen.