Monday, March 25, 2019


March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. We decided to celebrate this in worship:
Several people wore mismatched socks because chromosomes look like socks, and because we are all different and yet all needed and important.
We also had kids of all ages lead worship: they greeted people as they were coming in, they read prayers, Bible passages, and collected the offering. They also showed a "wall" of hurtful words and then passionately tore it down, to reveal a sheet of affirming, positive words behind it.
This was based on Ephesians 2:14-18. "Jesus tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He came and preached peace to outsiders and to insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals."
A young adult member of our church who has Down Syndrome spoke about his life and his plans for the future. 
As our closing song we sang Bryan Sirchio's "Stand with You:" If you find that you're locked out just because of who you are, or because of how you look or who you're with, well I may not have the power to unlock the doors myself, but I do believe God wants you to know this: You won't have to stand there alone. I know this because, I'll stand with you whenever you're excluded. I'll stand with you when you can't stand on your own. I'll stand with you when you're put down or wounded, 'cause that's what I know that Jesus would do."
In our world, many are still excluded because of who they are or how they look or who they're with. In our society, all are still not treated as equals. As the church of Jesus, we want to be a place where we practice what we preach. We want to welcome and include everybody, regardless of the boxes that society may put them in. We're not perfect. We still have lots of work to do to learn about racism, bigotry, inequality. But we want to learn. We want to do better. We want to do what Jesus would do. 

And this is why I love Trinity Church!

Monday, March 18, 2019

What's Right with the World

Last week I was at a conference and we watched a video by Dewitt Jones, a photographer for National Geographic: "Celebrate What's Right with the World." 
On his website he states,  "I spent 20 years as a photographer for National Geographic. Every time they sent me out, they would ask me to Celebrate What's Right with the World. I did, and it changed my life. Every day I see images that make me want to celebrate, and have discovered that there is far more right with the world than there is wrong with it." 
He also refers to people saying "I need to see it to believe it." His experience is the opposite: If you believe it, you will see it. And indeed, he saw the most spectacular, awe-inspiring moments and captured them on film.
I don't know if he is a religious person. He doesn't speak about that. But to me, it sounded like something a person of faith would say: I believe, and therefore I see. I believe in God and I see God at work in the world. I believe in love and I see love all around me. I believe in the good in people and I see people doing good things.
To me, that's what's right with the world: What God created, and still creates.
And that is something to celebrate every single day. Not denying that suffering and pain and lots of other bad things exist. But when we celebrate what is right we will find the strength to address what is wrong.
So, celebrate what's right with the world! When you look for it you will find it.
I celebrate sunshine, laughter, music, the first signs of spring, friendship, compassion, courage, honesty, commitment... I celebrate life. I celebrate God.
What do you celebrate?

Monday, March 11, 2019


Lent is an old Christian practice of praying, fasting and giving that many Christians observe for 40 days before Easter. Jesus went to the desert to pray and fast for 40 days, to find strength and solace by spending time alone with God. 
None of us can "get away" for 40 days. We have jobs, families, lives! But we can "get away" in the midst of those lives. Some members of Trinity Church shared what their Lenten practice is this year, as a way to connect with God every day and not just on Sunday mornings:
Some read a devotional. Some use coloring pages or guided meditations to take a time out for themselves and for God. Some pray at certain times every day. Some give up foods. I've given up sugar as a way to push the reset button on my habits. I don't want to consume thoughtlessly. I want to be deliberate and mindful in my choices every day, to slow down instead of grabbing a quick snack. And when I feel a craving I think about Jesus. 
I know someone who gave up coffee, others give up meat or alcohol. Oh, how good all of that will taste come Easter Sunday!
We are creatures of habit. And we need God's presence in our lives. In order for us to notice that presence it is helpful to break some of our old habits, or incorporate new ones. 
Other old habits to give up for Lent might be guilt, self-doubt, blame or judgment. You know yourself best, so you choose what works for you.
Finally, giving is also a spiritual practice. If you consume less, you have more to give. And by fasting, you remind yourself of those who go hungry involuntarily.
What might you give up this Lent, or what might you take on? The object is not to burden yourself with yet another responsibility. The object is to free yourself, to become lighter and more devoted to Jesus.
Imagine a world where we all pray more, consume less, and give more. We would all be better for it.

Monday, March 4, 2019

God's Plans and My Plans

We welcomed three new members to Trinity Church during worship, and they spoke about how God called them to Trinity. I have to agree! It's amazing what God can do if we let God; where God will lead us, if we are willing to follow.
Looking back at the events of last year, I recognize that God's plans are often different from mine, and always better. I would have preferred some things to have gone differently at the time. But looking back, I believe they prepared me for greater things.
We often have strong feelings, good or bad. We judge instantly. And then we reflect. We understand. We learn. We let God's spirit guide us. And when we do, it opens us up for God's plan.
Our fabulous music director, Mike Westberry, spoke about a passage from Jeremiah:  "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me." (Jeremiah 29:11-14.)
God has plans for our welfare, to give us a future with hope. Mike pointed out that there is an action required on our end: IF you seek God with all your heart, God will let you find God.
God wants to be found. God wants to give us nothing but good. But God also respects our free will. If we are open for God's will for us, it will be done.
It all comes down to trusting that God knows better than we do. And remaining open for God's guidance. Actively asking, "God, what do you want me to do? Where are you nudging me to go?" And often it requires a lot of patience. We may not get an answer right away. But we will always get an answer.
In all the evil around us, the hatred, the violence: God has a plan for our world, too. I believe God wants to use us for good.
God has plans for you, and they are good!