27 February 2010

Lent: day 10

I find hope in the wilderness when I see another person's tracks.

Jim Nedelka

26 February 2010

Lent: day 9

"I find hope in the wilderness when there is kindness."

T. Silvestro, NYC

25 February 2010

Lent: day 8

I find hope in the wilderness when I throw in the towel and accept that only God can help me and I am not in control.

Betsy Bostwick
Germonds Presbyterian Church

24 February 2010

Lent: day 7

I feel hope in the wilderness when Christians “welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)

Tricia Dykers Koenig, Covenant Network National Organizer

23 February 2010

Lent: day 6

I find hope in the wilderness when... I know that I am not alone, that God is with me, around me, embracing me, sustaining me and everyone else, too...when all means all.

Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D.,
Executive Director & Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians
gay Elder, Presbyterian Church (USA), Santa Fe, New Mexico

22 February 2010

Lent: day 5

I feel hope in the wilderness when I look out into the future and see the sure and certain dawn of a radically and wildly inclusive church on the horizon, a church where all gifts and talents are welcomed, honored and celebrated. This is the resurrection of the church we hope for...

Rev.Dr. Robert L. Brashear
Pastor, West-Park Presbyterian Church

20 February 2010

Lent: day 4

What gets you through the wilderness?
"Packing my own TP before setting out and then putting one foot in front of the other."

Kate Smanik Moyes

19 February 2010

Lent: day 3

I find hope in the wilderness when my six-year-old son comes home and tells me he's going to marry one of the boys from his kindergarten class. I find hope both that he feels free to express that desire, and also that one day it may be a reality for him.

Rev. Ian Doescher, Calvary Presbyterian Church, Portland Oregon

18 February 2010

Lent: day 2

I feel hope in the wilderness when I can look around and be grateful for all I have been given, the good, the bad and the in between.

Rev. Mieke Vandersall, Minister Director, Presbyterian Welcome

17 February 2010

Presbyterian Welcome Lenten Blog Project

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days...

In the season of Lent, we remember the desert for 40 days. We remember ancestors wandering in the desert for forty years. We remember Jesus' pilgrimage, led by the Spirit. In our tradition and in our lives, we see that sometimes 40 minutes or days or weeks or years in the desert is a choice we make, and sometimes it happens against our will. Sometimes we go there to be refreshed, while at other times we frantically and fruitlessly search for the exits.

In the season of Lent, Presbyterian Welcome invites you to participate in a special blogging project.

To participate, simply complete this sentence:

"I find hope in the wilderness when..."

Please attach your name and affiliation as you would like it to appear on the blog, or let us know if you want to post anonymously, and email it to presbyterianwelcome@gmail.com

We will post one sentence/reflection per day, so keep checking back to Psalms Modern as part of your Lenten practice this year..

15 February 2010


By Drew Paton

Mark 9: 2-9

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

The accounts of the transfiguration in Matthew, Mark and Luke are almost identical but it is Mark’s gospel which seems to provide the context that sheds the most light on this story. In Mark’s gospel Jesus seems always to be in a rush – “and straightaway he called them,” “they went to Capernaum straightaway,” “he boarded the ship straightaway,” – Jesus is constantly on the move, often traveling from place to place by night and telling his followers to “tell no one” about the miracles they have observed. In the gospel of Mark, even while Jesus challenges the status quo and carries out his courageous mission, he is on the run from a society which can neither understand nor accept his true and complete identity. But something amazing and powerful happens on the mountaintop in this story we know as “the transfiguration.” Jesus reveals himself. Jesus shows the fullness of who he is. There on the mountaintop, in the presence of some of his nearest and dearest, he becomes himself. Luke says his countenance was altered. Matthew says, his face shone like the sun. And in this act the glory of God was revealed.

I recently became acquainted with someone who has lived more than 30 years as a man. Several weeks ago, after a long, arduous, thoughtful and prayerful journey, this individual gave up the male name which she was given at birth, in exchange for a new feminine name. Shortly thereafter she began receiving hormone injections which will facilitate her outward transition towards embodied womanhood. She told me that since she’s been getting injections she feels like she’s glowing. She was. She grinned from ear to ear and said “people seem to look at me differently.” I found myself thinking of the transfiguration.

How often have we – as a society and as the church – been unable or unwilling to understand, accept, make space for and be transformed by the true, complete identities of our members? How often have we discouraged or disallowed the fullest, deepest expression of those selves – our own and those of others – selves crafted meticulously and gifted lovingly by our Creator? How many times and in how many ways have we kept people from truly and freely becoming themselves – the selves which God intended, the selves to which God has called them?

Jesus wasn’t simply showing off up on that mountain. Neither was he just asserting his authority. We know this because throughout the gospels Jesus resisted countless opportunities to do those things. It seems to me that the purpose of this act of self-revelation is consistent with the self-proclaimed purpose of Jesus’ entire life and ministry: to reveal the glory of God. Jesus showed the truth and entirety of himself in order to teach us about ourselves – to remind us who and whose we are – and to give us license and inspiration to do likewise. He did this, I believe, because he knew that the glory of God is made manifest when we become ourselves. This is what God wants for us.

My hope and prayer for the church and for our world is that we realize the rich resource which exists, by the grace of God, in each unique self and the profound power which results from the revelation and authentic living-out of those selves.

08 February 2010

The Hidden Parts

By Anonymous

I'm not a theologian. I'm not a scholar. I’m just some foolish soul who feels called to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, who went to seminary, and who wanders in the wilderness (a/k/a certified ready to receive a call).

When I read Paul in this week’s lectionary (2 Corinthians 3:12 - 4:2) my initial reaction was that he missed the boat. I think he was pretty harsh on Moses. After talking to God, the skin of Moses’ face shone and the people were afraid to come to him. It sounds to me like he had been transformed by this great experience of seeing God. I imagine he must have been aglow with the great love that God holds for us. God sees us fully, no matter where we hide, and perhaps Moses was fully exposed and fully loved. He was transformed and glowing. But the people couldn’t come to him; they were afraid of who he really was. They needed him to hide that part of himself that scared them.

As a child I knew I was not “the same” as others. I too had to wear a veil so as not to scare those around me. And I was told in many ways that what I was hiding was shameful. Paul says, “we have renounced the shameful things that one hides.” I have come to know now that it is not what I hide that is shameful; what is shameful is that I must hide.

May the Spirit of God hold you close in all your hiding places and embolden you to show your face, as God created you, shining and unveiled.

01 February 2010

A Talk About our Relationship

By Jenny Howard, M.Div. student, Louisville Seminary

Paul’s Letter to the Romans has historically been a source of “clobber passages” against LGBTQ people of faith. Yet, many of us are unwilling to reject this book of the Bible. We interviewed one woman (who happens to be trans), and asked her to tell us about her relationship with the Book of Romans. Here’s what she told us.

Romans and I have a wonderful relationship. It hasn’t always been easy – we’ve had our share of differences. To be honest, we still do sometimes. But it’s truly a long-term, loving relationship. I’d like to talk a little bit about what makes it work, or at least, what makes it work for me. If you want to know how he feels, you’ll have to ask him, although good luck with that – he’s not always comfortable with touchy-feely language.

Any good relationship has to be based on honesty. If you’re holding something back from each other, trust breaks down, and you lose faith in each other. Whenever I’m with Romans, I try to be present with a completely open heart. He’s the same way. He tells me what he thinks, what he believes, what he thinks is and isn’t important, and so on. I never have to play “guess what I’m thinking” with him. Sometimes he tells me more than I need to know at the moment, but that’s OK, better to say too much than too little.

Another really important thing is always showing how much you care about each other – not just caring, but showing it too. Part of that is making sure that you spend quality time together. It’s not enough just to be in the same room, you have to engage each other, have real conversations. I know I always feel better when I’ve been spending time with him regularly.

Of course, sometimes those conversations are easier than others. I don’t mean in a bad way… for instance, I’m a pretty emotional person, and he can be kind of intellectual and analytical sometimes. But if you care about each other, you make the effort. I try to listen really carefully, and he’s really patient about being having to explain things more than once.

I don’t want to make it sound like he’s the one with all the answers. See, he hasn’t changed much over the years, and it seems like I’m starting something new all the time. So I can bring that to our time together, and help him understand and adapt to the way the world is now. He appreciates that, because a lot of people bring their questions to him, and he wants to be able to answer them in language they understand.

And speaking of being with someone else – that’s another thing that makes our relationship work – it goes back to that trust that I mentioned a few minutes ago. We’re completely loyal to each other. If somebody else needs him, I’m OK with that, because I know he’ll be there for me when I need him. And if I spend some time with Jude or Mark or even old Isaiah, he trusts me to come back to him. And I always do.

There’s something comforting about him, even though he can be so mental at times. Like even though he has a very clear sense of right and wrong, he’s still very accepting. He doesn’t judge people by surface things, like whether they’re male or female, or workers or bosses. He’s funny – he always says that he doesn’t even care if someone’s Jewish or Greek or whatever! It makes me feel safe around him, because I know he’s accepting of me too.

Another thing – he’s not one of those who are afraid to talk about love. When he says, “Owe no one anything, except to love,” or “Love is the fulfilling of the law”, I get all mushy inside – I never get tired of hearing things like that.

I guess that’s the bottom line – he’s all about love and faithfulness, and so am I. That’s really what’s at the heart of our wonderful relationship. And that’s what will keep us together for the rest of our lives.