Too Hard

Some days it seems too hard to
Turn on the news,
Read the texts,
Answer the phone.

What news,
What pain,
What disaster
Awaits us today?

How much more
For the Holy One.
The one who stands,
Sits,
Weeps
With the world.

May I,
In my little life,
Also, sometimes,
Stand,
Sit,
Weep,
Pray
With those who suffer.

Just
For a little while.

Dad, Can I Have a Horse?

I first rode a horse when I was in early elementary school. It was a pony owned by a family in our church. I was hooked and asked, “Dad, if the Bishop moves us to live on a farm, can I have a horse?”

Dad answered with full confidence, “Yes. If the Bishop moves us to live on a farm, you can have a horse.”

I never got the horse. Or had much opportunity to ride or be with horses over the years. But that part of me that loves horses has never gone away. So, Saturday afternoon, when I sat in row FF at the equestrian show, Odysseo Calvia, I was ready to move to a farm and spend the rest of my days grooming horses, mucking out stalls, and braiding manes.

I was surrounded by children, old and young, who felt the same as I did. Two girls in the row in front of me gripped their plush toy horses and waved their arms in the air at the wonder of it all. A young boy behind me wept in his mother’s arms as we were leaving; he didn’t want the show to be over.

What is it about these creatures that stirs our hearts in this way? I thank God for the gift of horses. And the gift of people who love them.

A New Adventure

In May of this year, I started a new job at The Upper Room. After years and years of editing, I accepted the job of Director of Prayer and Upper Room Worship Life. The introverted part of me is still adjusting to the change — working with people more than words has been a big change.

A central part of my job is planning and hosting The Upper Room’s weekly worship services. The organization has been holding weekly services for staff since the chapel was built in the 1950’s. These days, we welcome each week staff from Upper Room, Discipleship Ministries, Higher Education and Ministry, and guests from the Nashville area and from around the world.

I’m grateful to have this opportunity to live out my calling to create liturgy. Some days, I’m amazed I get to do this job. Other days, I’m terrified that this is now my job. I guess that means I’m in the right place.

If you are coming to Nashville, join us on Wednesdays at 10:45 in The Upper Room Chapel. 1908 Grand Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212.

Common Ground


In these days when political correctness is not politically correct …
When pundits talk of two sides in their own bubbles …
When we are so reticent to share what we believe, concerned that things we say not hurt or offend someone else …
In these days of polarization …
Is there no common ground?

Is not the common ground tolerance and understanding?
Is not the common ground justice and equality for all?
Is not the common ground abhorrence of hate and embrace of love?

Once upon a time, a year or so ago,
I thought there was a wide, beautiful river of common ground
running through our hearts, our world.
I yearn for that time before I saw
the truth of what we have become.

God, have mercy on us
and give us wisdom and compassion.
God, have mercy on us
and give us courage to speak truth and act for justice.
God, have mercy on us
and show us the way to redemption.

Hate, Emboldened

Hate, emboldened,
Steps out of a closet,
Packs a suitcase,
And drives to Virginia.

Hate, emboldened,
Does not feel the need
To cover up with hoods or robes.

Hate, emboldened,
Marches in the light of day,
And illuminates the night
With torches and spotlights.

Hate, emboldened
By “free speech”
And “take back what is ours.”

Hate, encouraged by anger,
By fear, by prejudice.

Hate, empowered by the silence
Of political leaders,
Of church leaders,
Of ordinary people
Like me.

Rise up, voices of truth,
Voices of light,
Voices of courage.
Embolden Love.

Columcille’s Stations

We walked in the steps of Columcille during our pilgrimage to ancient, sacred places in Glencolumcille.

Born in this County Donegal in the 500’s he was a “descendant” of Patrick’s Christianity.

Columcille blessed the ancient places, the neolithic markers and holy wells.

And now, thousands of years later, Margaret and Marian take us on this sacred pilgrimage.

If we had been here in June 9th, the feast day of Columcille, we could have joined the old ones walking, barefoot, the night before.

The Place of the Knees, the Height of the Cross, St. Columcille’s Chapel, St. Columcille’s Chair, St. Columcille’s Well. We walked between them in community, in silence.

I felt honored to be shown this ancient ritual. I worried about intruding on another culture’s sacred places.

And then I realized that this pilgrimage is part of my Christian culture. For I am descended, our church is descended from these Celtic saints who brought Christianity to Ireland and to Scotland. 

I am, we are, recipients of the faith of Patrick and Brigid and Columcille and Kevin. Thanks be to God for this gift.