The church is. . .

The church is a sink.

for the broken, for the broken-hearted

for people who have no other place, and no one else to talk to or be spoken to

for those that don’t get to hold hands or hug or kiss anyone at other places

for the sick, the terminal, the mentally-terminal to discover healing they didn’t know existed

for the homeless that just want some friends or some friendly chat, but they get a blessing instead

for the young who have lost their humanity and never learned the “common sense” of their ancestors

for the abused children and the abused children who became adults who still ask “why?”

because they all know there is a response for them there in a circle of friends who reach out to them

in the sink, where they go to attempt cleanliness. ~Brandon Shaw

A wintry day at Forest Hill. . .

A few thoughts on a wintry cold day. . .
Vangie and I have been truly blessed this week with the delightful antics of our family of squirrels. Each day they come for their peanuts and they scurry around and make us laugh.  They put on quite a show with their acrobatics and their cheerful scoldng when we’re a bit late with their peanuts.  But this week we were surprised, and blessed, by a most unusual sight.  Our silly squirrels have discovered the humming bird feeder in the ginkgo tree just outside our windows and its cache of sweet nectar.  Imagine our surprise when they turned upside down from a branch to reach down and drink the honey flavored food that’s been set out for our little humming birds friends.

These silly squirrels have got me thinking.  How many other amazing, delightful and precious moments occur, each and every day, that I miss?  What joy and blessing do I fail to receive because I am just too busy or too distracted or simply not paying attention?  Jesus encourages his disciples repeatedly to “Stay Awake! Pay Attention!”  And yet, I catch myself sleepwalking through so many moments and I know I miss the very delights that God places before me.

Lent is coming soon, our holy season of spring cleaning of the soul. I pray that we will       each use this season to truly wake up to the Presence of God in our lives and in this amazingly beautiful and varied world in which we live. Let’s not let the precious moments of life pass us by unaware.  God yearns to bless us with life rich and full and abundant.  Our invitation is to reach out with open hearts to receive it and then to pass it along to others.

A prayer that sings itself in my heart every morning as I begin my day:
God be in my head and in my thinking.
God be in my eyes and in my looking.
God be in my ears and in my listening.
God be in my mouth and in my speaking.
God be in my hands and in my embracing.
God be in my feet and in my walking.
God be in my heart and in my understanding.
God be in my life and in my loving.
God be in every thing, every thing, every thing.
God be in every thing and in my departing.

Thanks be to God, for silly squirrels and for companions like you to accompany me along this wonderful adventure that is our life in God.  God truly is in every thing, and for me, most especially in this wonderful community of faith.  Blessings, Susan

Salt & Light Log

“You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world.”  ~Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.

This last Sunday, at the suggestion of David Lose at Working, I encouraged our congregation to start a Salt & Light Log – keeping track of all the wonderful and amazing ways that God is at work in our lives and in the world; taking note, affirming and celebrating the ways that we are salt and light to one another and to the community beyond the four walls of our sanctuary.

I love the way Eugene Peterson translates this passage in The Message:   “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. . . Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill!  If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light
stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

And so, this is the start of our Salt & Light Log. I invite you to email me your “Noticings” of salt and light around Forest Hill, in your family, your neighborhood, and out in the world.  Let’s start paying attention to the ways that God is working in and through us to add zest, flavor, light and radiance to the world. It’s time to Shine!

Another way to think of it might be as “Our Wild Goose Chase.”  Let me explain what I have in mind.  Ancient Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit – An Geadh-Glas – the wild goose:  untamable, unpredictable, noisy, pesky, strong, graceful, able to fly much faster and farther in formation than alone.  A little different image than a turtle dove, but how apt!  You see, they realized that no matter much we might want to contain or control God, God cannot be placed in a box, defined or tamed.  And so off they went, on wild goose chases – entering the spaces, towns, hamlets, and villages of 7th century England in the conviction that the wild goose was out there ahead of them. They were open to being surprised by the wild goose, prayerfully asking what God was doing and joining the Spirit there by naming the name of Jesus, dwelling among people and opening the great story of God’s love and grace.

And so, let’s head off on some wild goose chases of our own.  Let’s enter the world with the eyes of our hearts wide open.  Let’s be willing to be surprised by what God is doing in the world.  Let’s look for and celebrate the myriad ways that our God is working in and through the lives of people, even us, to salt and light the world. You know, it’s a beautiful day for a Wild Goose Chase! Want to join me?

PS Our Salt & Light Log, aka Our Wild Goose Chase, will be on our website at  just as soon as you start paying attention and sharing your discoveries.