Author's details

Name: Kim
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Walls — January 28, 2015
  2. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Light Years — January 27, 2015
  3. Sandpiper's Thoughts: God speaking — January 26, 2015
  4. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Not alone in our Baptism — January 23, 2015
  5. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Not Alone — January 22, 2015

Most commented posts

  1. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Interrupting — 1 comment
  2. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Forming a Line — 1 comment
  3. connexions: Simone Weil, b. 3 February 1909: 6 pensées — 1 comment
  4. connexions: Ten clichés Christians should never use — 1 comment
  5. Sandpiper's Thoughts: Park Benches — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Jan 28 2015

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Walls

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Last week I heard a story on NPR about a possible leak of toxic gas on the International Space Station.  The occupants had all retreated to the Russian side of the station and sealed the door the questionable air space.  The report stopped me because I had no idea that the INTERNATIONAL space station had parts that were labeled by country name.  There is a Russian side?  A United States side?  What other parts are there?

I had always considered the space station to be an example of cooperation between nations.  I assumed that there were no country boundaries in the station - that it was all one large (relatively) without boarders.  I guess I was wrong.

Where else do we build walls between people?  Where else do we say, "this is mine; don't cross this line?"  What walls can we tear down today?

(Note:  The image of this church has nothing to do with the article, but I think it is a classic example of a white country church, and it was such a beautiful day to photograph it.  The church sits in the shadow of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank.)

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Jan 27 2015

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Light Years

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It fascinates me to look into the night sky and to really think about what I am seeing.  If a star is 100 light years away, then it is so far away that it takes light 100 years to reach us.  That means that when I see the star, I'm actually seeing the light it shined when soldiers in Europe were fighting in World War I.

If you used a telescope, you might be able to see a star that was 2,000 light years away, and the light that you saw would be what the star sent into space on the night Jesus was born.

When astronomers see a star explode, if the star is 500 light years away, they are seeing something that happened 500 years ago.  That just boggles my mind.

Could it be that reading the Bible and trying to understand it shares some characteristics with astronomy?  When we read a letter Paul wrote, we are reading something that was written almost 2,000 years ago.  It was written to a church that existed 2,000 years ago -- what one would consider "light years" away from us.  We are looking back into the past, and we need to remember that.  We are also hoping that God will shine in our lives today through this letter that was written to a church 2,000 years ago.   And God does.  It's fascinating.

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Jan 26 2015

Sandpiper's Thoughts: God speaking

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In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.   And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’  (Mark 1:9-11)

Mark compares the Spirit descending to a dove. Luke says that the Spirit descended in a bodily form like a dove.  Imagine for a moment a dove descending onto Jesus.  What would that have been like?  Would it have been a quiet, soft glide of the bird as it gently approached Jesus?  Would it have been more noticeable, like a dive bombing bird after french fries?  Either way, I imagine those around paid attention.  It was not an ordinary action.  The voice from heaven probably added some punch to the message, too.  Could anyone have gone away that day doubting that something extraordinary had happened?

Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down.   (1 Samuel 3:4-5)

In this passage, we see that Samuel is hearing the Lord, but his mentor, Eli, doesn't recognize who is calling to Samuel (at least at first).  It takes three times for Eli, the Priest, to clue into what is happening.

In both incidents, God isn't being subtle.  It's the listeners who need to listen and see.

The beginning of chapter 3 in 1 Samuel says, "The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread."  How often do we say something similar?  How often do we doubt that God is communicating with us?  Maybe God is, and we just aren't listening.

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Jan 23 2015

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Not alone in our Baptism

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Think back to either when you were baptized, or to a baptism you remember.

I can remember my own.  I was seven, and I wore a white dress.  I remember standing in front of the congregation at the Presbyterian church near where we lived.

Among the other baptisms I can remember are those of my two sons.  I remember family joining us in church.  I remember all of us sitting together, and I remember standing up with our sons as either Dr. Wood or Rev. Campbell (depending on the son) baptized the boys.  I remember the congregation's responses in the liturgy, and I know that many of those who sat in the congregation are the same people who taught their Sunday school classes, who watched them in plays at Christmas, who gave money so that they could go on mission trips and experience the joy of youth groups.  These were the same people who hug them when they come back from college, and they are the same people who help to model for them what it means to be a believer.  These people are the body of Christ for them.

The devotional I read this morning said this, "...baptism is a community experience through baptism, the Holy Spirit creates community.  There are no individual believers; we're all communal believers held together by One who transcends all time and place through eternity and grace."  (Myron Wingfield; Disciplines 2015)

We can certainly have experiences of God's nearness and revelation in solitude, but we are made to be community.  We are created to be part of the body of Christ, and that creation is seen in our baptism.

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Jan 22 2015

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Not Alone

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A couple of Sundays ago, our Sunday school teacher told a story about an experience she had with the Lord's Prayer. Several years ago, she was leading a group of kids as they said the prayer.  As they continued, the kids got quieter and quieter, until eventually, she was the only one who was praying.  As she said it alone, she realized that she couldn't remember it.

Whenever I lead the congregation in the Morning Prayer, I always make sure I have the Lord's Prayer written down and that I have it with me.  I fear that the same thing would happen to me in the anxiety of praying in front of a large group of people.

The thing is - the Lord's Prayer is a corporate prayer.  Think about the words - they include many repetitions of the words we and us.  We are meant to pray it together.

Maybe that says something about how we are to live it out - corporately.  Just as we can have problems praying it alone, I'm certain we will have problems trying to live it out alone.  We need each other to live the lives that God intends.

Just one more reason to be part of the Body of Christ.

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Jan 21 2015

Sandpiper's Thoughts: Gifts and Gender

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I was reading Facebook yesterday and ran across a post by Rachel Held Evans.  I don't remember what the post said; it was the comments that interested me.  The discussion moved into the traditional roles of men and women in the family.  The commenter (not Rachel Held Evans, whose opinions run the opposite of the commenter's) suggested that men have certain gifts and women have certain gifts, and those gifts should dictate how the family worked.  The man would be the one with the responsibility for being the head of the household and the disciplinarian, and the woman would be the nurturer.  Her opinion was that gifts are divided that way, and that's the way a family should be.

Huh.  Baldedash.

Everyone has gifts.  Everyone has different gifts, and God does not give them on the basis on gender.  I know it would certainly make life simpler if we could look at a person and say, "Oh, her gifts must be.... or "He's a man; these are his gifts."  Life isn't simple, thank God!  It just makes me wonder how anyone could believe that a stereotypical generalization could be better at deciding family roles than two people learning about each other and then deciding how each can contribute the the family unit.

My husband and I are, together, head of the household (and I know he would say the same thing if you asked him).  We each have responsibility for leading our family.  Neither one of us shoulders it alone.  Working out family dynamics might be harder this way, but it is so much more rewarding.

Life in a church is the same.  It's wrong to relegate women to certain roles and men to others.  It denies the gifts that God has given to them, and makes for some unhappy people who are unable to reach the potential God has designed for them.

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