Monthly Archives: April 2011

"Lay Me Down to Live"

A few weeks ago I had a collision of thoughts during three simultaneous events as I drove Ceara and Caleb to childcare that inspired new perspectives on faith, theology, and resurrection.

Event 1: We listened to Andrew Peterson’s new album “The Far Country.” He has a song called “Lay Me Down” in which he has a line that says, “When you lay me down to die you lay me down to live.”

Event 2: At a stop light I read an email from a friend, John Varden, stating that a parishioner I knew from Center UMC died in his sleep that night.

Event 3: As we drove through the light we reached the point on the drive where I ask Ceara if she wants to “Shema” and I proceeded to sing the Shema. This is a prayer from Deuteronomy 6:4ff that I learned while I lived in Israel, and it is something practicing Jews pray at least once, if not multiple times, a day. It starts, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One, and you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength…”

Collision: I had the parishioner on my mind as I sang the part of the prayer that says, “remember these words I am commanding you today… teach them to your children when you lie down and when you rise up…,” and at that point “when you lay me down to die you lay me down to live…” rang out over the radio.

It hit me (I guess this is where the collision happens 😉 ) … Yes, I knew that Israel, as many Ancient Near Eastern cultures, observed (and still do) a lunar calendar. And I know that their day begins at sundown rather than sunrise. Their days did not begin by getting up and end with lying down. Rather, their days began (and still begin) with lying down and end with getting up and living. The symbol of resurrection practically shouted at me. Then I read Genesis chapter 1 again: “…and it was evening and morning the first day… and it was evening and morning the second day… etc…”

The Christian story has undercurrents of resurrection from the very beginning, hinted at in the greatest commandment, culminated in Easter, and now is the hope in which we can all live in the present and carry into the future.

I’m not quite sure if I expressed these thoughts clearly. I wrote them quickly in my journal and copied them just about as quickly here. I find if I wait until I re-read, edit, re-think, re-write, then the blogs never get posted, and I wanted to get these thoughts on the blog.

I welcome any comments or thoughts or reactions… thanks.




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Puddles, Seagulls, and Garbage Trucks

Ceara amazes me with her continual ability to make me stop, look, and listen.

The weather in Maine has warmed up a bit (40s and 50s) in the past week, and Courtney and I have taken this opportunity to walk around the neighborhood with Ceara and Caleb. Ceara loves to stop at puddles and say, “Water, Water, mommy, Water.” She stoops down and watches the ripples caused by the wind or dipping her hand in it. Her joy transforms an ordinary pothole filled with dirty water into a moment of experiencing Creation in a new way. Her awe with the puddle continues as she stands up and jumps in with her new, green rain boots.
I look at the seagulls that circle the neighborhood and call out, “mine, mine, mine…” (That is a “Finding Nemo” reference for those who don’t get it.) in a new way because Ceara will stand with her head skyward watching them fly and perch on rooftops. “Bird, daddy, Bird.” Learning language opens a whole new world to her and reminds me of the wonder in the world in which we live.
This morning Ceara woke up at 5.15am 🙂 As we played she heard the garbage truck on the next street. We ran to the front of the apartment so she could watch the truck come down the street. She asked for help in opening the window so she could hear the sounds more clearly, and so she could yell, “Hi! Hi! Hi!” to the workers emptying the cans into the back of the truck. I’m not sure that is what they were expecting at 5.45am. She stood at the windows for over 5 minutes as they worked their way down the entire street, and then she waved goodbye to the truck as it turned the corner.
These three snippets merely exemplify the way she causes us to pause throughout the day and notice and find wonder in the normal and ordinary.

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A Slight Change in Organizational Style

I have had to modify my organizational working style recently. I confess that I use a palm pilot – I have for quite some time. However, I have used the low-tech version. For years I have written on my hand – things to do, reminders for journal entries, names and places and events…

I need to change, though. Ceara is at the age where she is doing two things really, really well. First, she is learning to draw and color with crayons, chalk, pencils, and, sometimes, pen. We have had to set the boundaries of where and on what she can color and draw, and – for the most part – it has gone well. Second, she mimics EVERYTHING that Courtney and I do. The other day while we sat on the couch eating a snack I remembered something I needed to do for work. Absent-mindedly I pulled a pen from my pocket and wrote a note on my hand. A short time later she had a pen, and instead of drawing in the book she was drawing on her arm. 🙂 I am thankful for her ability to keep me consistent with what we say and what we do.

Soooo, I am searching for a new way to keep track of reminders and things to do.

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