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Author: Rob Gieselmann

Shifting Sands

“When the metaphoric seas of change lap at our deck we spend untold time and energy, enormous resources, protecting something that nature and God insist must be change? And now, September is here during a year of shifting sands. I feel the fall chill in the air. Life has been altered in untold ways, yet all most people seem to hope for is a return to the ephemeral normal. But there is no such thing as “normal,” there never was.”

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I Belong; We Belong

“Never alone, which means it is not for me to say, I believe in God, the Father Almighty (even faith is a gift), but, I belong to God the Father Almighty.”

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Tethered by Hope

“As I watched the children, my mind drifted to Jesus, and how he might have played as a child. How little we know about his world prior to the age of 30. And yet, this Son of God, Son of Man, this child of heaven, I am certain on lazy summer days would have jumped into sprays of water, or pulled buckets from wells to toss water onto the head of his cousin John, or splashed in the shallows of the Sea of Galilee with his siblings. Do I hear Joseph, do I see Mary, at first telling the boys to slow down? To be careful? Not to disturb the others at the well, the women and men fishing the Sea? Relenting, and laughing, now they start splashing water at Jesus rather than chide him.”

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The Rest of the Story

“Like the preacher, the Christian must trust – must trust the grace of God and Jesus as the Christ that God is with her. That God guides and redeems and sanctifies even bad decisions. But second – and perhaps most importantly – it is the smallness of life that counts – living life at the cell-level. It is the one, Jesus said, who is faithful in small things who will be faithful in big things. It is the one who invites Christ into the small areas of life, who is honest and lives with integrity in the little challenges and events – who will find himself honest and full of integrity when facing the large challenges. That person is the one who wanders down the path of life with purpose and grace.”

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Holy Spirit Experience

“But, along came Cornelius, with his very Roman household. They listened to Peter proclaim Good News of God in Christ, and before any of them affirmed faith or gave permission, the Holy Spirit fell unbidden upon them. (Acts 10:44-48) It seems that God refuses to be bound by anyone’s understanding of the way religion ought to be practiced.”

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Anxiety of the World

“Peter failed – betrayed – Jesus three times. From experience, I can tell you that betrayal cuts the soul to the quick; reality becomes quicksand.  Yet, the Jesus of seventy times seven love turned to look at Peter, and Peter wept bitterly. How many of the following nights did Peter dream of that moment, having betrayed the man to whom he had sold his soul? I am certain Peter’s anxiety dreams ended that day weeks later when standing on the beach, Jesus invited Peter three times to tell Jesus how much he loved him.”

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A Simple Ash Wednesday Offering

“I offer this reflection by Tim Mathiessen (The Snow Leopard, p. 169, Penguin Books, copyright 1978) as consistent with Ash Wednesday, when the priest marks your forehead with ashes using the same cross that marked your forehead with oil at baptism, this time reflecting the transient nature of human existence. You are dust, and to dust you shall return. Absent grace, where is the meaning?”

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I will never leave nor forsake you…

“At the time, and as a new priest still youngish (any Episcopal priest under fifty is considered “young”), I watched Laura suffer and wonder about how a person in pain or suffering engages spiritually. Centering prayer, meditation, the Daily Office, reading Scripture, praying for others? What might one do to fortify the soul against the body’s attack? What might God ask of the person whose task in life has been reduced to pulling one additional tug of breath into the lungs? Is spirituality possible? Will engaging the spirit ease suffering?”

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