Monthly Archives: October 2019

Musing: World Communion

Leftovers, World Communion Sunday, October 6, 2019.

It’s been a week and a half since the observance of World Communion Sunday. Not all that long ago according to the calendar. But it feels ever so much longer. One of the days between then and now was set aside so my beloved could have an outpatient procedure. Complications meant spending the following five days in the hospital. Thankfully we’re home; John’s doing well; and I’ve had a chance to sleep and nap and sleep some more.

I thought I’d write about the communion part of World Communion when I took the pictures for this blog post. Maybe say something about remembering Christians around the globe, connected in the one body of Christ.

But since the six days at the hospital I’ve been thinking about the the world part. The medical school at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics attracts smart, kind, thoughtful people from across planet Earth. John and I delight in meeting, however briefly, persons with difficult (for us) to pronounce names. We are grateful beyond words for their expertise, their care, their commitment. Their presence reminds us that we are all connected in the precious journey of life.

Thanks be to God for the diversity and the gifts of the world’s peoples.

World Communion Sunday, Urbandale United Church of Christ, Urbandale, Iowa, October 6, 2019.

Photo Challenge: Groceries

Groceries. Who takes pictures when grocery shopping?!! I did today! Just because Frank issued a groceries photo challenge on Tuesday. My husband John agreed to be photographed as we did the weekly shopping. Come along to the store with us.

First, a list!

John adding to the grocery list. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

Next, decide on a grocery store. John had a prescription ready for pick-up at the Hy-Vee Pharmacy so the decision was easy. Our other choice is Fareway – it’s closer to where we live. Fareway stores are smaller than Hy-Vee stores. If you want lots of choices and don’t mind adding a lot of steps to your pedometer, go to Hy-Vee. If you just want to get the basics and prefer to be done sooner rather than later, go to Fareway. (There are other choices, but it’s Fareway or Hy-Vee for us.)

Hy-Vee, North Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

We almost always start on the end with the produce section. I was going to take a picture of the Honey Crisp apples but as I pulled out my camera three other shoppers appeared. What you can’t see is the Starbucks stand behind me and a salad bar and a Hy-Vee Market Grill to my left (less restaurant than it used to be but still a place to sit down to eat).

Pears and Apples. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

The bakery – or, more precisely, the bread – is one reason I like shopping in this store.

Bread in the Bakery. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

Since having all of his teeth extracted this summer, we’ve been supplementing John’s diet. Here he is trying to decide on which flavor of protein shakes to buy.

Supplemental Nutrition Aisle. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

It’s the cereal aisle! Did you know you can know get peanut butter and honey flavored instant oatmeal?

Cereal Aisle. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

Ah, yogurt. So many choices.

Yogurt Choices. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

Always glad to walk by the in-store florist shop. Flowers make me smile. Just because.

Flowers…Just Because. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

John picked-up his prescription while I paid for the groceries before we headed out the door.

Grocerie Bagged. Photo: TLClark, 10/3/19.

Musing: Refuge in God

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

Psalm 46:1-3, NRSV
Window, St. John United Church of Christ, Melbourne, Iowa. Photo: TLClark, 9/29/19.

We were singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther Sunday morning when I looked across the front of the sanctuary and saw the window pictured above. Too bad I hadn’t seen it earlier – I would have pointed it out while preaching! Did you know Luther based the hymn on Psalm 46?

I quoted Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen more than once in the sermon. Here’s my favorite quote:

“Taking refuge does not mean hiding from life.  It means finding a place of strength, the capacity to live the life we have been given with greater courage and sometimes even with gratitude.”

Rachel Naomi Remen, M D., My Grandfather’s Blessings:  Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging, p.165.

Four or five years ago I lead a series of one-day retreats centered on themes from the Psalms. The first focused on God as a refuge/fortress/dwelling place/shelter and used the last line of Psalm 2:13 as the starting point: “Happy are all who take refuge in the Lord.”

Before the end of the day, I invited participants to reflect on questions that moved from being sheltered by God to being agents who join in God’s effort to provide shelter for others. Here are the questions as preserved in my notes:

  • Where have you found a refuge in the midst of life’s storms?
  • Who has modeled God’s loving care in your life?
  • How or when have you provided shelter for others?
  • Who in your local community is in need of shelter today?  How might you respond?
  • What organizations or agencies provide refuge in places around the world?  How might you join their efforts?

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91:1-2, NRSV