Monday, April 18, 2016

TO A FEW WOMEN IN MY LIFE…  RECENTLY

Recently Life has caught me off guard, gotten my attention, left me feeling both fragile and thankful. Gratitude runs deep for family and friends (today the focus will be on the women) who have graced my life in these days.

As many of you know, a couple of weeks ago my great granddaughter was suspected to have leukemia by her pediatrician. The overwhelming sense of fear was palpable for my granddaughter Amanda (18) her mother Jennifer and myself. Thank goodness for FaceTime and cell phones that kept me connected at a moment’s notice.

I am grateful for a woman doctor who is observant and deeply committed to her patients and families. Out of the ordinary, she made herself available via email and was responsive when contacted. She was proactive about potential medical needs as well. When she called Amanda with the final results of blood work her opening statement was “prayer works.”

I am overwhelmed with the maturity, love, and emotional strength of my 18-year old granddaughter, Amanda. Sure there were lots of tears, fear, and an immediate feeling of being overwhelmed. But I watched as she researched the disease, formed her questions, asked her doctor for clarification and through it all remained a “normal” routine of mothering. She is an amazing mom to Katalina.

My daughter, Jennifer, is another hero in this recently journey. Her strength for Amanda was so beautiful to observe. Her immediate response to the medical news was to enlist prayer warriors. Within hours the request had gone from East to West and even out of the country. Jennifer is also a woman who lives with chronic pain but manages to be an excellent teacher, wife, mother, daughter, and friend to many. Life is not easy for her but she marches onward bringing joy to others.

The list goes on… women who prayed and laid hands on Kati… for my daughter-in-law to be for being a strong woman who has vision... for Sue who blogs about the ordinary activities of daily living and makes them sacramental… for extended family who express concern and care... for Angela who writes beautiful weekly devotionals that are invitational and grace-filled… for friends who support me from afar with their strength and care… for moms challenged daily with difficult children who are determined to get them the best care possible… for a friend who invites me to be creative when I don’t think I have a creative bone in my body… for another friend who helps me be able to walk… for poetry reflecting the nuances of living… for neighbors who watch out and care for each other… you all know who you are in my life without naming.


Thank you! Thank you for reminding me that when life feels fragile that faith bolsters, love matters, friendships are essential and that the moment doesn’t have the final say. Thank you for inviting me to be creative and metaphorical as I meander through the day. Each of you have graced my hours and brought me joy in the moment. You make my life rich.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Greetings and Farewell

Many years ago, 57 to count, I was the Angel of the Lord in the Christmas pageant at our elementary school. It was the full-blown story from the Annunciation to the Wise Men – in a public school no less. Since I was the tallest in my class the angel role fell to me, though they also placed me high on a box above the whole of the stage.

Perhaps it was unwittingly the beginning of my journey toward ministry, but more importantly it brought the whole of the “Christmas Story” to the forefront of my psyche. I read and re-read the biblical accounts. I studied (as limited as a sixth grader can do) the feelings I sensed at every turn. It became vividly clear to me that this was no ordinary story. It became part of my being, that God loved us so much that God gave his only son to be our Savior. I never looked back. I felt God’s presence in my life from that play forward.

As 2016 approaches my “formal” call to ministry is coming to an end. I will no longer be in a position of recognition in the denomination, I will no longer be “on the inside” of so many issues, concerns, joys, celebrations of clergy, church elders and deacons, leaders, congregational members. Does it give me pause? Yes. But I harken back (pardon the pun) to the Angel of the Lord announcing the future of faith in God. God is with me in my journey of faith and service. There will be a next phase and I look forward to what is in store for me.

I thank the Presbytery of Boise for the nine years they have elected me to serve as their Stated Clerk. I am grateful for the colleagues that have worked so hard to make the presbytery a place of accomplishment and care. I am grateful for this call to ministry.

As of January 1, 2016 the Rev. Richard Green will be answering and sending emails from boisestatedclerk@gmail.com. Dick Green has good “Church” experience, has been a quick study, has a pastor’s heart and a knack for organization. I am thrilled to pass the baton to such a good person of faith.

I will, however, be answering the emails at boisepbyexec@gmail.com until a new executive is approved, hopefully at the February meeting of the presbytery. If you are interested, please send your letter of intent and personal information to the Presbytery of Boise, 950 W State St, Boise, ID 83702 by the end of the first week in January.

As Christmas draws near, I wish you and yours and your congregations a Christmas filled with the knowledge of the God-child and the Spirit as you seek to be faithful in your journey of life.

I close this last note to you with these words from Ann Weems:

 IT IS NOT OVER

It is not over,
            this birthing.
There are always newer skies
            into which
                        God can throw stars.
When we begin to think
            that we can predict the Advent of God,
            that we can box the Christ
                        in a stable in Bethlehem,
            that’s just the time
                        that God will be born
            in a place we can’t imagine and won’t believe.
Those who wait for God
            watch with their hearts and not their eyes,
                        listening
                                    always listening      

                                                for angel words.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Monthly report from the Stated Clerk
November 2015

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the news, terrorism, advertising for Christmas, and a daily schedule that feels out of control?

That is not a very uplifting introduction to a letter to the Presbytery at Thanksgiving time. Or perhaps it is totally appropriate for Thanksgiving and Advent approach and we are called return to our roots and begin again. We review our lives, where we “fit” into the world order, and how we cope with the swirling of daily events.

First, let us turn to our faith. It is appropriate to lift our voices singing with the ancients of our faith for they speak to us today in the midst of a chaotic world. God the Creator, God the Sustainer is faithful for all time.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

I also went perusing the Internet this morning for a “good” Thanksgiving prayer to share with the family. The Moravian Blessing struck me as simple and truthful where Jesus is invited to the table as well as remembering those who are not present.

Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care.

And let us focus on a hurting world, to which we are called to make a difference. I especially like the reminder of this prayer from Samuel F. Pugh:

Help Me Thanksgiving Day Prayer

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.

Friends, as the life of the presbytery moves into a new year, let us be thankful for all those who have helped us focus on our mission. There are way too many people to name (and I would likely forget someone), but be assured that I am grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you for the energy you have given to the new vision, transforming committees, handing the reigns to new leadership to new folks who will help to create a new future.

Yes, at Thanksgiving time I am grateful to the work you have entrusted to me as the Stated Clerk. It has been a good ministry (more about that in December). I am grateful to the depth of mission and ministry of our pastors and congregations. I am grateful to the “non-parish” clergy who live their faith in service to the community, teaching and caring for others. I am grateful for retired clergy who faithfully worship and pray for our ministry as a presbytery. We are not perfect but we are seeking to be as faithful as possible to the tasks we have been given. God asks no more.

With the psalmist, let us Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth, lifting our hands in thanksgiving and joy for the life we have been given and the faith we celebrate.
  
HAPPY THANKSGIVING



Monday, October 5, 2015

Boise Stated Clerk Blog for September

September, 2015

Presbytery of Boise,

As my report for September I send you this blog of my musings from our recent journey that took us to from Venice, Italy to Rome and back. We experienced Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Turkey, Malta and Croatia. Just think of the different religions and sects we witnessed. In many ways it felt overwhelming to me to experience such differences in a short period of time.

It is hard to imagine that not long ago John and I were walking through the ruins of Ephesus, where archeological work continues. The progress in the last nine years since we were there is amazing. While Ephesus is one of my favorite destinations, what was surprising for me is that amongst the throng of jostling visitors I felt a personal connection with Paul, a deep sense of spiritual presence with the early Christians of Ephesus. It was almost palpable for me intuiting the challenge Paul had bringing the Gospel to a people who were considered “sophisticated” and “educated.” Here is a picture of the Library fa├žade to prove it! It is not unlike our culture today, really. Can’t we know it all with a few clicks of the computer keys?


Moving through the Eastern Mediterranean we experienced an interesting variety of churches that are very old, yet most were still faithful places of worship.  Fascinating differences! Contrast these small chapels to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. What a witness to the “development” of Christianity! It is a clear witness to a commitment to share the Gospel of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Albeit a dramatic contrast, each site is a holy place for faithful believers. I could not help but think about how very different each of our congregational “buildings” is. It is like comparing the small chapels that dot the landscape of the Mediterranean with the Vatican. 

         



What is really important? Certainly the answer is “ministry and outreach” as well as “personal spiritual growth and teaching the new believers,” all of which is driving our membership. The Presbytery may be “small” numerically, but we are faithful in service and care and education and creative outreach and…  Keep up the good and faithful work, congregations of the Presbytery of Boise!

With hope and joy,

Ruth