"Your body is the first thing any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them.... To be a Mother is to be the sacrament - the effective symbol - of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home." from Bed and Board, Robert Farrar Capon

Monday, September 30, 2013

Whatever Your Hands Find To Do

I've heard this quote before but as I read it this morning I was once again encouraged in my daily "normal" vocation.

  "Our foolishness consists in laying too much stress upon the show of works, and when these do not glitter as something extraordinary we regard them as of no value; and poor fools that we are, we do not see that God has attached and bound this precious treasure, namely His Word, to such common works as filial obedience, external, domestic, or civil affairs, so as to include them in his order and command, which he wishes us to accept, the same as though he himself had appeared from heaven. 

    What would you do if Christ himself with all the angels were visibly to descend, and command you in your home to sweep your house and wash the pans and kettles? How happy you would feel, and would not know how to act for joy, not for the work’s sake, but that you knew that thereby you were serving him, who is greater than heaven and earth..."

~ Excerpt from Luther's Sermon on Matthew 9:1-8 ~

Thursday, September 12, 2013

He Carries Our Kids Too

Someone just said to me in an email that she is now realizing how life-long parenting is. You go from mostly physical work in the care of your children as infants and toddlers, and then move into the mental and spiritual labor of bearing them in their youth into adulthood. (The latter seems to be by far the harder job, and my oldest is only just turning sixteen next month, so I have a long way to go.)

It seems that as your children grow up, you grow up.  You are no longer the same person. If, by patient continuance and repentance, and in God's grace, you take up your cross daily, deny yourself, following Jesus, then you learn the long slow way how to love and long-suffer with people, especially those closest, in ways that could never be explained to you beforehand.  

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you."
Isaiah 49:15

Loving and bringing up children is indeed a lifelong business; I believe one of the hardest. In fact it would be too heavy without One who takes our burdens, bears our griefs, and carries our sorrows with us and for us.

Once, when I was upset and despairing about how my children would turn out, my pastor said to me,
"Don't be so proud as to think it's all up to you.  Leave some room for the grace of God, will ya?"

Friday, September 6, 2013

Article Recommended: "Courage in the Ordinary"

"Now, I’m a thirty-something with two kids living a more or less ordinary life. And what I’m slowly realizing is that, for me, being in the house all day with a baby and a two-year-old is a lot more scary and a lot harder than being in a war-torn African village. What I need courage for is the ordinary, the daily every-dayness of life. Caring for a homeless kid is a lot more thrilling to me than listening well to the people in my home. Giving away clothes and seeking out edgy Christian communities requires less of me than being kind to my husband on an average Wednesday morning or calling my mother back when I don’t feel like it...."

"But I’ve come to the point where I’m not sure anymore just what God counts as radical. And I suspect that for me, getting up and doing the dishes when I’m short on sleep and patience is far more costly and necessitates more of a revolution in my heart than some of the more outwardly risky ways I’ve lived in the past. And so this is what I need now: the courage to face an ordinary day — an afternoon with a colicky baby where I’m probably going to snap at my two-year old and get annoyed with my noisy neighbor — without despair, the bravery it takes to believe that a small life is still a meaningful life, and the grace to know that even when I’ve done nothing that is powerful or bold or even interesting that the Lord notices me and is fond of me and that that is enough."

If you'd like to read this article (blog post) in its entirety you can find it here:

You can also listen to Tish Harrison Warren discussing her article with Michael Horton on The White Horse Inn *here*

Monday, September 2, 2013

After A Death

This past Saturday, August 31st, four of our church congregations gathered to celebrate the wedding of two young church members. Most of us have known the groom and bride their entire lives, and there was great gladness as we all celebrated this union which, as Saint Paul writes, is a great mystery, anticipating the final Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

As the festivities were coming to a close one young member, an eleven year old girl whom also most of us have known all her life, a girl who had just hours before sung special songs with her family's band for the groom and bride during the reception,

She was suddenly taken to heaven, to the Lamb of God Himself. Not many of us knew until late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning. And Sunday morning, yesterday, we mourned with the Feliciano family, as a family. We received the Body and Blood of Jesus, broken for us, for the forgiveness of our sins and we heard again that our Savior Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and we, the living were comforted by the promises of God, that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We know that we and all believers in Christ will live eternally with Him.

In one day we rejoiced exceedingly with those who rejoiced,
and in the same night mourned exceedingly with those who mourned. (Romans 12:15)

Who can comprehend God's timing? 
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
His ways are higher than our ways,
His thoughts higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

In our living room late at night after the wedding my husband broke the news to our children that our dear friend Taylor Feliciano was now with Jesus in heaven. As we wept, my husband read this prayer from the Lutheran Book of Prayer which comforted us and I pray that it will comfort friends who are mourning today.

 "After A Death"

Amid our tears, O Lord, we praise You 
that You have received Taylor to Yourself in glory for all eternity. 
We thank You that You have brought her to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
 Comfort all who mourn with the glorious hope of the resurrection and life eternal. 
Grant us grace to say with a believing heart, "Thy will be done," and to know that Your will
 is a good and gracious will, even in the present hour. Comfort us through your gospel, 
which promises strength and help to the troubled and weary. 
O Lord, forsake us not in this hour. 
Prepare us through Your Word and Sacrament for that day when You will call us to Yourself, 
that we may joyfully join the whole company of heaven to live with you forever; 
for Jesus sake I ask it. Amen.