Monday, March 26, 2007

Outpouring love

Mary Magdalene by He QiMary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. - John 12:3

What I love about this image this year is the extravagance. There have been Lenten seasons where I have needed things to be spare, lean, full of discipline, even somber... but this has not been one of them. This year, I've been thinking about how my wedding falls in Lent - a reason for celebrating. I've been noticing flowers everywhere, creeping out unseasonably early. This season, I keep signing greetings, "in this season of Lenten spring." So, I love Mary's outpouring of extravagant love in the midst of this Lent - of course, the whole house was filled with the scent of her gift. And maybe we need to smell that healing scent as much as Jesus did.

Afterall, today I heard the witness of a reporter who was present as a whole group of children were gunned down in Baghdad. A colleague experienced two deaths in her community. I wrestled with a frightening dream during the night, one that made my heart race... in this kind of world, I long for Mary's ministering presence. I long for her gift of seeing just what is needed to fill the house with fragrance. I long for her touch of healing balm.

O God, we give thanks for Mary and all your faithful disciples whose witness guides us through this Lenten spring. Continue to call us into both the tasks of life and help us experience moments of outpouring love.

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. - Psalm 126:5

As we discern our work and God's joy today,

Pastor Joy

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sound of Faith

Hey women (and men, too) -
If you haven't yet seen the online women's magazine of the ELCA, "Cafe: Stirring the Spirit Within," please check out this month.
In addition to a fabulous article by Karris Golden, pastor and Harley rider, you'll find biblical reflections on the sounds of faith.

Pastor Joy

St. Patrick

Yesterday in Chicago at 10:45 a.m., the Chicago river was dyed green in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Who knows what Patrick would have thought of such things... but here is some of his beautiful poetry.

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the three in one and one in three.

I bind this day to me forever by power of faith Christ's incarnation, his baptism in the Jordan river, his cross of death for my salvation, his bursting from the spiced tomb, his riding up the heavenly way, his coming at the day of doom, I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven, the glorious sun's lifegiving ray, the whiteness of the moon at even, the flashing of the lightning free, the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks, the stable earth, the deep salt sea, around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, God's eye to watch, God's might to stay, God's ear to hearken to my need, the wisdom of my God to teach, God's hand to guide, God's shield to ward, the Word of God to give me speech, God's heavenly host to be my guard.

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity by invocation of the same, the three in one and one in three, of whom all nature has creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word. Praise to the Lord of my salvation; Salvation is of Christ the Lord!

In the power of God to hold and lead,
Pastor Joy

Lenten spring

Yes, we [Admissions Directors of the ELCA Seminaries] really do travel together and work collaboratively! It's so unusual that people can hardly believe it, but it's true! Pictured here are colleagues from the ELCA seminaries with the campus pastors at California Lutheran University, Pastors Scott and Melissa Maxwell-Doherty, in Thousand Oaks, CA.

It's a joy to be able to do this work of discerning with prospective students the places to which they might be called next and to do this with a group of colleagues who care so much that people are called to the place where God is calling, the place where deep gladness and deep need will meet for the next year(s).

We hope that we can help prospective students find the home for this next step in the journey, where God is waiting, getting ready to run out and meet you, with open arms and a single word, Welcome.

In these days of Lenten spring,
Pastor Joy

Sunday, March 11, 2007


O God, eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you. - Psalm 63:1

Every morning during this dry season, I wake up... parched. The first thing I do after rolling out of bed is make my way to the kitchen and drink water. Just as my body cries out for water after the night's fast, my soul is thirsty this Lent.

I read this today - Jesus is our rock, our water, our food, our drink.
I heard this today - sing out, o barren one, sing and cry out loud.
I sang this week - Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a shelter in a time of storm.

When we are thirsty, it is reassuring that before we even know we need it, the living water of Christ is being poured out. What are you thirsting for? How does this help you know where you are being called by God today?

Pastor Joy

Spring Seminary Sampler: a taste of LSTC

It was Lent and we sampled chocolate in the spirit of that great film about abstinence and desire, judgment and compassion, solitude and community--Chocolat. It was cold outside but we gathered in warm conversation. Students, faculty and staff gathered to welcome guests--come one, come all, come and see if this is the place God is calling you next.