I don’t get it.

Our family loves jokes. No one can survive in our family without a sense of humor! Sometimes, however, the jokes fall flat. Truth be told, they fall flat because I can be slow on the uptake. My exceedingly kind husband never makes me feel bad about missing a punch line. He always says, “It’s not a good joke if you have to explain it.” Yeah, it’s the joke’s fault. What a great guy!

I admit, sometimes I feel the same way when it comes to the Bible. I’ll read a passage and after much thought I’m left with those four awful words, “I don’t get it.” Of course, those words feel awful because I have this completely false notion that I’m supposed to get it all! When the initial sting subsides, the Holy Spirit wakes me up and reminds me: God gave us each other!

At St. Tim’s, we’ve started a six week immersion in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. When it comes to Paul, I just don’t get it all. His letters contain run-on sentences galore, assumed information about community events, and he’s forever coming across as having all the answers. So, here’s my question: What do YOU hear God saying through Paul in 2 Corinthians?

It’s an extraordinary gift, isn’t it, exploring God’s Word together? And, perhaps, that’s the biggest takeaway for me from Paul’s work. I’m reminded that admitting, “I don’t get it,” is not a failure of my faith but a triumph of the Holy Spirit at work in me! This beautiful gift of God’s Word is not given to us in a vacuum it’s given to us in COMMUNITY! So, help me out, people of God! What’s God’s word saying to you?

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

Breathing Deeply

exhalesI’m not a runner. I accepted long ago that exercise is necessary and running is insanity. If you’re a runner, more power to you. I’ll wave at you from my yoga class.

Part of my problem was that I never learned how to breathe properly. I heard runners talk about keeping their muscles “oxygenated” but I couldn’t figure out how to do that. I’d end up huffing and puffing a couple of miles in. After a few months of that, I decided God was trying to tell me something: stop running!

Living in the Spirit can feel like that.

This Sunday is Pentecost and the Holy Spirit is where it’s at! In Acts 2 we hear the Spirit, experienced as violent wind or rushing breath, is blowing mightily. The disciples are “blown away” by her power. Their breath is taken up by the Spirit to produce a multi-lingual chorus praising God! Can you imagine how breathless they were after that extraordinary Spirit-experience? How many of them wondered if they could handle another Holy Spirit outburst?

Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit called you out and left you breathless? Perhaps you dared to breathe out your testimony at a Bible study, or you were moved to exhale a prayer out loud for a loved one, or your first worship experience after a divorce left you gasping for air. Have you ever wondered if you could endure another Spirit outburst, or thought, maybe God’s telling me this Holy Spirit thing isn’t for me?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, take heart! Pentecost Sunday is the day to remember that the Holy Spirit moves exactly when and where she is needed. She’s the source of your strength, courage and hope! So go ahead, breathe deeply, and let God’s love fly!

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

Incredible! Unbelievable! Fantastic!

super stickerWhen I took piano lessons as a kid I lived for the stickers. If I played a piece really, really well my piano teacher would smile (she didn’t always do that) and reach for her stickers. My heart would race. Would it smell like strawberries or have a Smurf on it? Or, would it be one of my favorites that said, “Super!” or “Terrific!”? When she planted one of those on my piano piece it was as if she was so happy for me that only a “Super!” sticker could begin to show her excitement. “Super,” and words like it, are used a lot, too much, but sometimes it’s all we have to begin to show our excitement.

This Sunday is Pentecost, the day we celebrate God’s giving of the Holy Spirit, thanks be to God! And as we read the account of that miraculous day from Acts 2 we hear all sorts of reactions from those who were there to experience it – “blown away,” “in an uproar,” “thoroughly disoriented,” etc. It’s as if, when the Holy Spirit was unleashed in the world, words were truly not enough to communicate the awe, the wonder and the excitement of the moment. Words are not enough but, boy, do we need them!

This Sunday, as a community of faith called and gathered by this Spirit, we get to remember together the power that is at work in our midst. It’s a power so great that it is beyond any explanation or words to describe it. It is the power that gathers us together, fills us with hope and sends us out for the sake of the world! Come and celebrate the Spirit this Sunday! It’ll be, well, “super!” Amen?!

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

Eating dirt— the work of the Spirit?

I haven’t lived in New Mexico for very long and I love it. It’s beautiful. But, the spring wind is brutal.wind dirt

A full on sprint from my driveway to the garage couldn’t save me from the 40 mph wind carrying clouds of dirt. I threw myself into the garage only after being covered from head to toe in it. My eyes stung. And worst of all, it got in my mouth. I tried to spit it out but it just stuck to the roof of my mouth. Before I knew it, I re-lived the elementary school experience of biting down on grains of sand. Not an experience I enjoyed the first time. But then it dawned on me…

The Holy Spirit is described as wind, right? A wind that blows where she chooses, when she chooses, with the force she chooses. She may not bring clouds of NM dirt but what she does bring is just as disruptive – strength, hope, discernment, enlightenment, faith, and God’s call into deeper relationship with God and our neighbor. The Spirit calls us to sprint, or at least get moving, deeper into the grace of God.

I’d rather chew on that.

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael