Wednesday, March 14, 2018


How do we even stay upright
when burning bushes are everywhere?
Angels fly around my head
twittering their praise to God.
I feel I should fall to my knees
as God’s breath blows against my skin
and moves the clouds across the sky.
Surely this butterfly, yellow against gray trees,
is a miracle, a sign that all nature incarnates God.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Attentiveness to the Transitions

When Jesus heard about John he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities.   –Matthew 14:13

After hearing of the death of John the Baptist, Jesus needs some time to himself. However, the only time he gets is the time on the boat. Alone on the water, I imagine him feeling the rocking motion and hearing the waves lapping against the hull. Other than this, things are still, quiet, calm. I can imagine the time on the water soothes his pain.

I’ve read this verse many times but never before have I thought about Jesus’ time on the water. That was merely a transition from point A to point B in my mind. However, a group from my church recently returned from a pilgrimage to Israel. I asked two different men at two different events last week to describe their most memorable moment of the time away. Both of them described being on a boat in the Sea of Galilee in silence for about ten minutes—no boat engine, no conversation. Just silence.

Their descriptions of this experience caused me to pay attention to this verse that details Jesus’ movement by boat. Having heard my friends describe their experience, my own imagination went with Jesus into the boat, and I shared the experience with him. It reminds me that being present is not only about arriving at a destination, but also about being present in the transitions of life, mundane as they often are. For Jesus had only the boat time to renew himself, only that time alone on the water to attend to his grief.

The transitions in my day and yours are many and we often miss the gifts they offer us. Climbing the stairs, driving the car, standing in line, walking across a parking lot—all these are times we can choose to be present and attentive or we can merely be focused on getting to the next thing.

Years ago, I was looking out my office window into the parking lot. A bush was alive with cedar waxwings, devouring the berries. I was mesmerized as I watched them. A coworker pulled his car into the parking space near the bush, got out of the car and walked into the building. He never saw the birds right there in front of him. That happened thirty-plus years ago and I still remember it.

So today, I want to pay attention to the transitions, to the moments between moments, the pauses between words, the spaces between thoughts or breaths. Those are opportunities to be aware of the Spirit’s presence.