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This is Not the End: One Woman’s Tale of Surviving—and Thriving—After an Unexpected Loss

I have recently read Sarah Burke’s book, This is Not the End: Reflections on Finding Hope During the End of the Marriage. While, as the title suggests, this book is most directly relevant to those who have experienced the loss of a marriage, I think her writing will speak to anyone who has experienced an unexpected loss of any sort.  It certainly spoke to someone like me, who has never lost a marriage—but has lost a child.  As Sarah says in the book: “Loss is loss is loss; the only difference is there’s yours there’s mine.”  
In the book, Sarah shares her experience of losing her marriage to her high-school sweetheart and “best friend” unexpectedly after over 13 years together, which thrust her into an unchosen journey on which she rediscovered the “story of her”, and found hope—and God—along the way, sometimes in surprising places.  She describes how she grieved her loss, began pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, and create new ones, as she moved forward into a new day with b…
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Easter: The Lenten Journey Ends... The Journey to Galilee Begins

I had a wonderful Lent and Holy Week experience.  After beginning Lent with a community Ash Wednesday service on Valentine’s Day at another United Methodist church in our community, our church (Good Shepherd UMC in Waldorf, MD) spent six weeks in worship intentionally journeying closer to the cross via prayer.  In successive weeks, we looked at prayer in the context of community, sacrifice, service, transformation (discipleship), and perseverance.  We also invited people to participate in the practice of prayer both individually and corporately.  In lieu of our regular 11 AM Adult Sunday School class I normally attend, two of us committed to be present in the Chapel each week during Lent, for any who wanted to come and pray.  Each week we had at least two—and wherever two or more are gathered, Christ promises to be there.  (And he’s there when we’re praying on our own too!) 

To start out Holy Week, on Palm Sunday, we considered the prayer of Hosanna—God save us—which can be both a joy…

Saving Today

In the climactic scene of the movie Wonder Woman, a plane filled with deadly gas is about to be unleashed on London.  Thousands of innocent civilians will die unless someone acts heroically.  The only way to stop it is to get onboard and pilot the aircraft to a high altitude where it could be safely detonated.  There was clearly no coming back from this mission.  Captain Steve Trevor knows this; he volunteers anyway.


Steve was the pilot and spy who crash-landed his plan on Themyscira—the hidden island of the Amazons—thereby setting the plot of the movie in motion. At one point earlier in the film, he said, “My father told me once, he said, ‘If you see something wrong happening in the world, you can either do nothing, or you can do something’. And I already tried nothing.”Steve was tired of doing nothing.This was his moment to do something—and he wasn’t going to miss it.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.Edmund Burke
Steve Trevo…

When Ashes and Love Mingle

This year, Ash Wednesday on the liturgical calendar coincided with Valentine’s Day on the secular calendar.  On the surface of things, the two days don't seem like they should go together.  But the rare convergence of chronos and kairos time that caused hearts and ashes to mingle this year provides an opportunity to contemplate the connection between these two observances a bit more.   I think, as we do, we discover that both observances celebrate love, each in a very different way.
Valentine's Day is an in-your-face celebration of romantic love (eros), as we shower the one we love with gifts to prove to them just how much we love him or her.  It's sort of hard to miss because our culture clobbers us over the head with cards, flowers, chocolates, and all matter of other creative gifts for February 14.  In fact, the holiday is difficult for people who don't have that "special someone" in their life.   I remember when I was single, it wasn't my favorite da…