Thursday, March 5, 2020


This I Believe!


For years, I have been on a crusade to express my gratitude and to teach others to express their gratitude.

I am constantly amazed at how many people do not understand the dynamics of this truth. 

Some of the island kids praying in gratitude before opening their Christmas presents. 

Simply amazed! Forever grateful! 

Thank God Regularly!
Thank Others Regularly!

"The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for!"

Tuesday, March 3, 2020



Dear March - Come in Emily Dickinson - 1830-1886

Dear March - Come in -
How glad I am -
I hoped for you before -
Put down your Hat -
You must have walked -
How out of Breath you are -
Dear March, how are you, and the Rest -
Did you leave Nature well -
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me -
I have so much to tell -

I got your Letter, and the Birds -
The Maples never knew that you were coming -
I declare - how Red their Faces grew -
But March, forgive me -
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue -
There was no Purple suitable -
You took it all with you -

Who knocks? That April -
Lock the Door -
I will not be pursued -
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied -
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame -

Sunday, March 1, 2020



At that time, Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit.
Matthew 4:1  

When I was a young boy, we lived across the road from my grandparents. We simply ran back and forth all day, as if we had a home and a branch office across the road. One of the things I remember clearly is going in the front door of their house after dark, knowing they would be sitting side-by-side in the dark in their rocking chairs.   

They sat down in their rocking chairs after supper and, even though the sun had gone down and it had gotten dark, they didn’t bother to turn on a lamp. They just sat there in silence, rocking. I always knew where my grandfather was sitting because I could see the red dot of his unfiltered Camel cigarette glowing in the dark.  It never crossed my mind whether they thought my arrival was a nuisance or a relief from the solitude. I guess I thought I was doing them a favor barging in uninvited!  

I read somewhere that couples who can enjoy their time together in silence will always stay together, but a child cannot imagine anyone actually enjoying silence. 

Today we read about the Spirit leading Jesus into the silence of the desert. On the first Sunday of Lent, to be created anew for the celebration of Easter, Jesus invites us to go to the desert, an empty place where there is nothing to distract, a symbolic place of laser-focused attention. His going to the desert takes place right after his baptism in the Jordan River. As he was coming out of the water, he heard the voice of God tell him: “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” He needed clarity about what “being God’s Son” meant and how that would affect the direction of his life. He needed to clear his head, shut out competing voices and listen to God about how to proceed. This withdrawal to silence, to listen to God for direction, became the pace and pattern of Jesus’ ministry – frantic activity, withdrawal and rest, prayer for clarity and then back to work! 

In the Gospel of Mark, we read about Jesus getting up early in the morning to go off by himself for some silent prayer time. Notice some of the things it says right before he got up early, before dawn, to be by himself in silence. “Everybody was looking for him.” “The whole town was gathered at the door.” “They brought to him all who were sick or possessed.” “He cured many of the sick and drove out their demons.” After all that, it says he rests, prays for direction and then moves on to another town to minister to the people there. In chapter six, after an especially busy time, it says that Jesus took his apostles to a deserted place to rest and pray before going back to work. “People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat!”  

In light of all this, I would like to present Lent to you in a little different perspective this year. Instead of thinking about “giving up stuff,” instead of making resolutions to “do stuff,” let’s make resolutions to “do nothing!”  Instead of focusing on food deprivation, let’s focus on noise deprivation. Let’s think about taking mini-trips to the “desert.” Let’s look for little blocks of silence here and there – if not a day, an hour, if not an hour, fifteen minutes, if not fifteen minutes, five minutes! Five minutes of total silence, a few times a day, would certainly be helpful these days! Let’s look for little blocks of time, each and every day, to shut up, to shut out the noise and to just listen! I guarantee you, it will be the hardest Lent some of you have ever experienced – especially for you extroverts out there!

For many people today, this kind of silence can be downright scary. There is a term for it – sadatephobia – the fear of silenece. This “fear of silence” was relatively unheard of fifty years ago, but today psychotherapists are treating large numbers of individuals and they believe the numbers will continue to rise in the coming decades.  

Many experts believe that technology has given rise to the constant need for sound, therefore producing a greater number of people suffering from sadatephobia. For many more people, not just the young anymore, it is impossible to sit in a quiet room for even a few minutes without cellphones, without earbud music, without TV or without the noise of traffic around them.  

I have suspected for a long time now that there is, as well, a connection between the noise level of the world and the loss of our sense of the divine.  Simply put, it seems to me that the world is so noisy today that even God can’t get a word in edgewise!  

There is a beautiful moment in the Bible when the prophet Elijah feels God’s presence. The Scriptures say that a powerful wind tore the mountains apart, but God was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a roaring fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the roaring fire came a gentle whisper. It was the whisper of God. We need to understand that God doesn’t yell, he whispers. Maybe that is why we can’t hear God too well these days. The world is just too damned noisy! 

Silence, today, is looked on as odd and even dreaded, when in reality it may be dangerous to do without it. Susan Taylor said, “We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly - spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” Brothers and sisters, we need this time of silence with God for clarity and direction. 

Oh, how I miss the days of quiet churches where people knelt in silence and their silence was respected! As an introvert, a person who truly values silence, I have tried to promote silence in churches, but as much as I hate to admit it, I’m afraid the extroverts are winning and we introverts are left to wear ear plugs.