Photo a Day Advent – Day 6: Awake

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Photo a Day Lent – Day 43: Help

“Help”

3 27 Day 43 Help

Today we had our final program for the term for our WOW (Worship on Wednesdays) after school program. I am so very grateful for all of the volunteers that help make it happen each week. Here’s the thank you note the kids gave the volunteers after the program tonight.

Photo a Day Lent – Day 42: Light

“Light”

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A picture of the very first sign of Spring peeking up in my yard.

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlight from heaven.
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetnes of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning.
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning;
God’s recreation of the new day.

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

Photo a Day Lent – Day 39: Restore

“Restore”

3 23 Day 39 Restore

This is the Weingart Center. It is a center for homeless services in Downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row. I was blessed to visit there in 2005 as a friend introduced me to many of the urban ministries of the Los Angeles area. It was a joy to see how through health care, education, and support so many people’s lives were being restored from brokenness to hope.

Photo a Day Lent – Day 34: Rise

“Rise”

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“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4

Photo a Day Lent – Day 33: New

“New”

3 16 Day 33 New

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

This picture is one I took at an artist’s studio in Northern Michigan. The artist had all of these sheets of glass ready to be transformed into stained glass pieces. I love the idea of the glass becoming something new through brokenness.

Photo a Day Lent – Day 32 Surround

“Surround”

3 16 Day 32 Surround

“He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” – Isaiah 2:4

This is a picture I took of the statue in front of Union Elementary School in my hometown, Maumee, OH. I love the way that the harshness of the the military statue is surrounded by the softness of the petals of this tree, as God desires to transform the harshness of our world into the peaceful beauty of God’s Kingdom.

Photo a Day Lent – Day 31: Temper

“Temper”

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One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city. – Proverbs 16:32

This statue is along the Pointe Saint Angelo bridge over the Tiber river near the Vatican. It seems to me to be both fierce and controlled, but also reminded me of the verse in the way it looks out on the city.

Photo a Day Lent – Day 29: Water

“Water”

3 13 Day 29 Water “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life…. And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:1-2, 17

Photo a Day Lent – Day 28: Silence

“Silence”

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This picture was taken during our quiet sabbath time at the Project Burning Bush staff retreat in 2011.

“‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.” – 1 Kings 19:11-12

Photo a Day Lent – Day 23: No

“No”

3 7 Day 23 No

So, I kept trying to think of something prophetic and bold to put for “no,” but never quite figured out what to do…so today I am settling for nostalgic. When I was little I had trouble saying the letter “S” and so when there was snow outside I would excitedly point outside and say “no!” So, here is some “no!”

Photo a Day Lent – Day 22: Shadow

“Shadow”

3 6 Day 22 ShadowIn the courtyard of our church there’s a cross on the ground built out of stones. With over a foot of snow in the past week or so it’s now completely covered.

I think it’s rather beautiful, particularly in this season of Lenten wilderness as we await the horror of crucifixion and the hope of resurrection. This cross is a shadow of what is to come. It’s also a beautiful symbol of how, through Christ, our sins are made white as snow.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” – Isaiah 1:18b

Photo a Day Lent – Day 20: Bless

“Bless”

Bailey

This is my beloved dog Bailey, one of the greatest blessings in my day to day life. He teaches me a lot about how to love and how to be present. Bailey is a 4 year old Yorkshire terrier mix who is usually curling up next to me, or on the back of the couch like in this picture.

Bailey came into my life this October, when I got a call from a church member looking for a home for her brother’s dog as he moved into a nursing home. I had been looking to adopt a dog, was hoping for a smaller dog, preferably a terrier because I love my family’s terrier, Gracie. I was hoping for a dog that was not a puppy and was uncertain about adopting a dog from the pound, both because I don’t have a lot of time to train a dog. I even had mentioned to my parents that the best possible scenario would be if I could adopt a dog from someone in the community moving into a nursing home because then I would know the personality and would be able to take the dog to visit. When I got that call I was floored by how Bailey fit every bit of what I was hoping for in a dog. I feel like he was meant to be my dog. Now that he’s been in my life for a while, I can’t imagine him not being around. He is a great blessing!

Photo a Day Lent – Day 15: Hear

“Hear”

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This picture is from a Taizé service at Richmond Hill. The night of this service rain was pouring down outside with thunder and lightening crashing. In generally quiet and contemplative service, God was collaborating with the musicians in the service taking place. Sometimes God’s presence is hard to discern, but that evening, God was certainly there.
“Whoever has an ear that hears, let him hear. And his disciples approached and they were saying to him, “Why are you speaking with them in parables?” But he answered and said to them: “It has been given to you to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to one who has it, it will be given, and it will be increased. And from him who has it not, will be taken even that which he has, therefore I am speaking to them in parables because they who see do not see, and those who hear neither hear nor understand. And the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled in them, which says, ‘Hearing you will hear, and you will not understand, and seeing you will see and you will not know.” – Matthew 13:9-14

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)

Photo a Day Lent – Day 13: Cover

“Cover”

3 5 Day 21 Night

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. – Isaiah 60:1-3

Photo a Day Lent – Day 11: Live

“Live”

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This picture is from my grandparents’ garden at their old home in Chattanooga. When “live” came up as the word for today, I wasn’t sure whether it meant “live” as in something that you do or “live” as in a state of being, so I went with something that reminds me of a mix of the two. I love this poem speaking of our ability to connect with God through experiencing God’s creation. I also love the mixture of the live and dead leaves and how both point to new life.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10b

Photo a Day Lent – Day 10: Spirit

“Spirit”2 22 Day 10 Spirit

This photo is from a Taizé worship service that I led at FPC Maumee as my mentored project for Project Burning Bush when I was in high school.

“Come Holy Spirit,
from heaven shine forth
with your glorius light.”

– Come Holy Spirit, Taizé

Photo a Day Lent – Day 7: Wonder

“Wonder”

2 19 Day 6 Wonder

This is posted a day late, but is a reflection of yesterday’s day. Yesterday I was in the hospital with a family from church. It was a very serious situation and procedure, but had the best of possible outcomes. The day was steeped in prayer, conversation, and more prayer. God’s presence was certainly felt in that place.

As we were gathered in one the waiting rooms of the hospital we heard a lullaby playing over the intercom. Someone mentioned that they do that when a baby is born. There was something quite beautiful about that moment. While so many people throughout the hospital were experiencing a whole scope of emotions as they dealt with the health of themselves and their loved ones, there in that moment we all were made to take a second to take in the miracle and joy that is new life.

Photo by Christy Bindas

Photo a Day Lent – Day 5: Settle

“Settle”

2 17 Settle

This picture is from the Harambee Center in Pasadena, CA. I was blessed to visit there in 2005 as a friend introduced me to many of the urban ministries of the Los Angeles area. This is from the center’s website:

“‘Harambee’ means ‘Let’s get together and push’ in Swahili. We seek to nurture and equip leadership that will holistically minister to the community by sharing Biblical truths, in order to achieve the re-building of urban neighborhoods through relocation, reconciliation, and redistribution.”

As we toured the center, the woman who was showing us the school simultaneously described what had been in those spaces where children now played and learned. She pointed to the street corner where drugs were sold, the area where prostitutes were found. The people of this community came together and decided that that was an unacceptable future for their community and reclaimed this space. Though this community is so much in action that “settle,” doesn’t seem to quite describe it, I think in changing this space so greatly for so much good they have “settled” the land for a new future.

“May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.” 2 Peter 1:2-11

“Forgive Them Father,” by Lauryn Hill

Came across this song this week. It provides a contemporary reflection on the words of Jesus at the crucifixion:

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'” Luke 23:34a

It’s also a fitting reflection on today’s Photo a Day Lent on “Injustice.”


Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us
Although them again we will never, never, never trust

Dem noh know weh dem do, dig out yuh yei while dem sticking like glue,
Fling, skin, grin while dem plotting fah you,
True, Ah Who???

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

Beware the false motives of others
Be careful of those who pretend to be brothers
And you never suppose it’s those who are closest to you, to you
They say all the right things to gain their position
Then use your kindness as their ammunition
To shoot you down in the name of ambition, they do

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

Why every Indian wanna be the chief?
Feed a man ’til he’s full and he still want beef
Give me grief, try to tief off my piece
Why for you to increase, I must decrease?
If I treat you kindly does it mean that I’m weak?
You hear me speak and think I won’t take it to the streets
I know enough cats that don’t turn the other cheek
But I try to keep it civilized like Menelik
And other African czars observing stars with war scars
Get yours in this capitalistic system
So many caught or got bought you can’t list them
How you gonna idolize the missing?
To survive is to stay alive in the face of opposition
Even when they comin’ gunnin’
I stand position
L’s known the mission since conception
Let’s free the people from deception
If you looking for the answers
Then you gotta ask the questions
And when I let go, my voice echoes through the ghetto
Sick of men trying to pull strings like Geppetto
Why black people always be the ones to settle
March through these streets like Soweto

Like Cain and Abel, Caesar and Brutus, Jesus and Judas,
Backstabbers do this

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

It took me a little while to discover
Wolves in sheep coats who pretend to be lovers
Men who lack conscience will even lie to themselves, to themselves
A friend once said, and I found to be true
That everyday people, they lie to God too
So what makes you think, that they won’t lie to you

Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them, forgive them
Forgive them father for they know not what they do
Forgive them, forgive them

Gwan like dem love while dem rip yuh to shreds,
Trample pon yuh heart and lef yuh fi dead,
Dem a yuh fren who yuh depen pon from way back when,
But if yuh gi dem yuh back den yuh mus meet yuh end,
Dem noh know wey dem do,
Dem no know, dem no know, dem no know,
Dem no know, dem no know wey dem do

Photo a Day Lent – Day 4: Injustice

“Injustice”

2 16 Injustice

This photo was taken from an old prison in France from inside a tall tower. Though there appeared to be windows all the way up, the only light came from above. It makes me think of how so many are fighting battles to make it to the next foothold of progress and justice, something that can be a steep and dark climb, but that God’s light seeks us out even in our darkness and beckons us forward.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” – John 1:5

Photo a Day Lent – Day 3: See

“See”

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This photo is of a woman I saw in Rome. She was in an alley, sort of off by herself and playing a slow and mournful song on the accordion. The sort of person that might go unnoticed if one was moving quickly about their day. I didn’t talk with her, and we probably could’ve understood each other even if I tried, but I enjoyed her presence, and the way she played.  The first step towards being in community with the world, is recognizing who is our community, seeing God’s people everywhere. This woman reminded me of God’s claim on all of us.

“What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way.The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’” – Isaiah 58:7-9

Photo a Day Lent – Day 2: Return

“Return”

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This image is a photo I took of the “Slavery Reconciliation Statue” in Richmond, VA. I see it as a reminder of God desiring us to return to a love of one another, however vast and terrible the brokenness that separates us.

From the Richmond website: “The Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue completes the triangle of Richmond; the city of Liverpool, England; and the Republic of Benin, each of which played a prominent role in the slave trade. Three identical statues symbolize a commitment to new relationships based on honesty and forgiveness.”

“See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15

For more information on “Photo a Day Lent” see Day 1’s post.

Photo a Day Lent – Day 1: Who am I?

This Lent I will be participating in a Lenten practice that is similar to this past Sunday’s sermon on Iconography: Visual prayer and increased alertness to God’s presence.
You can get more information, including a sign-up for e-mail or text reminders here: http://rethinkchurch.org/article/lenten-photo-day-challenge

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Here is my photo response for today: “Who Am I?”

2 13 Who I Am

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.  But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:4-5