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World Communion Sunday

9/11 Tribute

I was turning into the parkinglot at work. The guy on the radio was hysterical and I was certain I misunderstood him. He screamed three times, “A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers! A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers! A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers!”

I got out of my car, went straight to my classroom and turned the television set on. I hadn’t misunderstood the man on the radio. I sat down on the edge of my desk and watched, and listened, and cried.

A teacher walked past, backed up, looked at me then rushed to my side. She demanded, “Are you alright?” In answer I pointed at the TV set. She put her arm around me and asked, “Do you have family in New York?” I shook my head and told her I didn’t. She stepped away from me, raised her hands in disgust and said, “Then why are you crying?” The only thing I could think to answer was, “Why aren’t you?”

Of course I had to pull it together for my students. An emergency teacher’s meeting was called and we were told we weren’t to make any personal statements until after the Principal addressed the school. The students realized from the way the grownups were acting that something horrible had happened but they didn’t know what. They were very quiet and subdued.

Finally the Principal’s voice piped into the room and she talked about the tradgety and the horror — but to the kids it was still just words. However, after her programmed “board of education approved” speech, she told the teachers to turn the television to the in-house channel and allow the kids to view the approved audio/visual clip.

It was actually the same clip all of America watched over and over again — nothing sanitized. Just before the video clip eneded and the television screen went blue, the newscaster explained that the men who rammed the plane into the Towers did it because they thought God wanted them to.

My students were silent, still staring at the blue screen. Many of them were crying and holding each other’s hands. I knew questions would come. I wondered if I’d be able to answer them. Into this silence someone whispered, “Did he say those men thought God wanted this?” I answered — just as softly — “Yes. They believe they have to kill their enemies to earn their way into heaven.” And a youngman named Jonathan replied loud, clear and matter-of-factly. “Well, they’ll be mightly surprised then when they wake up in hell.”

Casting Crowns: Praise You in This Storm

Wordless Wednesday

Matthew 10:29-31

Glorious Heavenly Father,

Blessed be thy name, Lord. This world is an exquisite work of art created by you, the Master Craftsman. I behold it’s glories and know that I am unworthy of such splendor. I stand humble and small beneath your bright blue sky, or in the shadow of just one of your mountains.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid;you are worth more than many sparrows.

In the vastness of this universe I am but one tiny speck, yet I am of great concern to you. I am just a speck, yet you listen when I speak. You answer my prayers. You deliver me from my fears. I am just a speck, yet every hair on my head is numbered.

You sent your son to suffer and die for my sins before I was even born. As he hung upon the cross, my name was on his lips. That is love beyond reckoning; the only unconditional love the world truly knows, for it out lasts death.

Holy Father, you are so grand my human mind cannot fully comprehend your majesty, but standing upon one of your mountains and looking down into one of your valleys I know, that in all of this glory you created, your plan for me is to be a masterpiece reflecting your boundless love. That, Lord, humbles me most of all.

Father, I ask for your continued patience and guidance as I strive to be the person you would have me be. Cleanse my heart and soul. Lift me up when I stumble. Because Jesus died for me, help me to live for him.

These things I ask in Jesus name, and for the sake of his coming kingdom. Amen.

partial excerpt from my prayer journal: 03/10/01
photograph originally posted on Controlled Chaos
July 2nd, 2006
Photographer: Rob Harrington

Here I Am, Lord

Genesis 46:2

And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night,
and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, “Here am I.”

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I, who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my words to them.
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will send the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide,
‘Til their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

Heavenly Father,

Bless me with the leading and guidance of your Holy Spirit so that I know your will for me. Defeat my doubtrs, open my mind, heart, soul and spirit to the guidance of your Holy Spirit.

Let me hear your voice, Lord. Lead me decisively, so that I know I am indeed walking in tandem with Jesus down the path you have set for me.

Here I am, Lord. Use me.

I offer my prayer — both of praise and petition; I offer myself — all that I am, all that I ever hope to be — in the name of Jesus, crucified, risen and coming again.


partial excerpt from my prayer journal: 03/27/03 Words and Music to “Here I Am. Lord,” by Daniel L Schutte copyright 1981

Wordless Wednesday

Romans 12: 4-5


Wordless Wednesday

1 Thessolonians 5:18

Twisted and gnarled,
… bent, yet seeking heaven,
… the mighty Joshua tree
… stands tall
… arms raised
… offering praise to God
…… for scorching sun,
…… for chilling rain,
…… for ravaging flood;
Paul’s admonition personified:
… “Give thanks in all circumstances.”


photograph originally posted on Controlled Chaos
June 18th, 2006
Photographer: Rob Harrington

Experience Jesus

Experience taught me that denial brings comfort.
… Jesus demanded truth.
Experience taught me to reject pain.
… Jesus challenged me to embrace it.
Experience taught me not to trust.
… Jesus asked me to risk.
Experience taught me to expect rejection.
… Jesus said, “I love you.”
Experience taught me I had no value.
… Jesus paid his life for me.