Monthly Archives: December 2012

A time to choose

Challenges and opportunities mingle
as I ponder an invitation for
new behavior
new patterns
new living
into the new year.

Daunted, intimidated on the one hand,
intrigued, inspired on the other,
I weigh options,
and consider possibilities,
knowing that each direction chosen
precludes other directions.

I wonder.
I wonder.
I wonder.

See you along the Trail.

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It is a wonderful life

IAWL pictureA Christmas tradition took place today – a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. I don’t remember when I first watched it, but I try to see it at least once each year.

At some point, we taped a television broadcast of it. When we wore out the tape a couple years back, we purchased a DVD.

Recognizing the unabashed sentimentality of the film, I still find something each time I view it. I do not pretend my insights are profound or unique or creative or new. They simply are what I take away from that particular viewing.

Today’s message: friends and family make life wonderful. Whatever else life may bring, the people in our lives – the people in my life – matter immensely.

This post is thus a way to say thank you to my family and friends! It is a blessing to share this wonderful life with you. I hope you realize how grateful I am.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Family, Friends, Movie

Silent night, 24-25 December 2012

The familiar words of “Silent Night” filled the sanctuary of Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian as the 11:00 PM service drew to a close.

Outside at least six Cleveland Heights police cars, lights flashing, roared past.

It occurred to me that the world is rarely silent.

Life is messy, chaotic, confusing, and noisy. And much of that noise stems from our violation of one another and God’s creation.
Gun shots.
Drone attacks.
Land mines.
Shouts of anger.
Tears.
Bombs.
Hate-filled rhetoric.
Collisions.
Screams of fear.
Clanging chains.
Machinery ripping at the earth and its resources.
A cacophony of pain and abuse and exploitation fills life’s sound track.

But it is precisely this messy, chaotic, confusing, noisy life to which God comes. In Jesus, God enters this life freely. Experiences this life fully. Embraces this life wholeheartedly. 

This un-silent life, filled with deafening days and noisy nights, matters to God. Matters so deeply that God gives us Jesus to offer another way, inviting us anew to:
accept new beginnings,
offer forgiveness,
pursue peace,
seek justice,
love kindness,
live into hope,
and walk with God.

May we do so
on silent nights
on noisy nights
on this night
on all nights.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Current Events, Music, Worship

The quest for coffee

After a bit of a challenge, I made it to Cleveland to celebrate Christmas with family and friends.

Today brought a meeting with my friends, Isaac, John and Frances to talk about the progress of, and the vision for, the Dougbe River Presbyterian School in Liberia. Isaac had the vision and the people of the area, supported by the saints of Noble Road Presbyterian Church and partners in Cleveland and in Liberia, have made it happen.

The school opened at the end of November. Thanks be.

We gathered to talk about what comes next – more students, farming to feed the students, further partnerships, community building, capacity nurturing, more schools in other places. The vision is far reaching. The steps will come one at a time.

We planned to meet over breakfast and coffee. That proved a bit of a challenge. The first two places we visited were closed. Finally, we decided to check out Cafe-Ah-Roma next to Trinity Cathedral.

CoffeeTheir sign extended a warm greeting.

And the coffee and breakfast tasted good!

See you along the Trail.

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Christmas Eve day visitors 2012

It is always interesting what appears in the back yard in Cleveland Heights at Christmas. It is even more interesting to see what happens on Christmas Eve Day. Two years ago turkeys made themselves at home. Today a foursome treated the yard as their own buffet:

Deer

 

They certainly enjoyed themselves – and we enjoyed watching them.

See you along the Trail.

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Purple flowers, Cleveland Heights back yard 3

Closed
for safety’s sake.

Closed
beauty yet to show.

Closed.

13 August 2011
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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Christmas music 2012

Every year about this time, I post about Christmas music. Here I go again.

I like Christmas music. I manage to refrain from playing it on my iPod until Advent begins. Once that first Sunday of preparation and waiting dawns – away I go!

IMG00078-20111212-1925This year, after attending the Bring Leonard Peltier Home in 2012 Concert that he co-hosted with Pete Seeger, I purchased my first Harry Belafonte CD – a CD of Christmas music. I had known of Belafonte’s incredible commitment to social justice. Now, through the lens of Christmas, I appreciate him as an artist.
Two Christmas songs I have to hear over and again at this season are:

Christmas in the Trenches” by John McCutcheon

The Rebel Jesus” by Jackson Browne

How about you? What music speaks to you at Christmas?

See you along the Trail.

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