Pray With Me

As we have moved through the phrases of The Lord’s Prayer each week, we have been reading different interpretations and versions of the prayer that Jesus taught us. Here is another one that I think you will find beautiful and meaningful.

The Lord’s Prayer

Words Adapted by Parker Palmer

Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, Holy and blessed is your true name. We pray for your reign of peace to come. We pray that your good will be done. Let heaven and earth become one.

Give us this day the bread we need, give it to those who have none. Let forgiveness flow like a river, from each one to each one to each one.

Lead us to holy innocence, beyond the evil of our days,

Come swiftly Mother, Father, come For yours is the power, and the mercy and the glory. Forever your name is all in One.


Pastor Lillie

The Lord's Prayer

Since the middle of September, we have digging into the deeper meaning of each phrase of the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. Though we read this version one Sunday in worship, I wanted to share it more widely as I love this particular interpretation that is taken from The New Zealand Book of Prayer . . .

Eternal Spirit,

Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom

sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,

now and forever. Amen.

Speak this every day and see how it changes you . . .

Pray with Me,

Pastor Lillie

Back to Faith

This is a season when we hunker down and get ourselves “Back to School” and “Back to Work” after summer vacations and a more flexible lifestyle. In that spirit, I want to invite you “Back to Faith” and encourage you to dive a little deeper in your spiritual life.

Have you ever noticed how we are prone to “lean in” to our faith when things are challenging in our lives? Over many years of ministry, I’ve watched us hold vigils when there are tragedies and hold prayer services when violence has overtaken us and double down on our giving when there’s an emergency. And I keep asking myself, what would happen if we “leaned in” to our faith most of the time, no matter the circumstances?

As I’ve pondered this question and meditated on it regularly, I can’t help but conclude that, though hard to quantify, there would be less violence, fewer tragedies and fewer emergencies. But perhaps more important, I am moved to believe that our presence in the world would change us, and everyone around us, for the better.

Of course, learning to “lean in” to our faith takes practice and intention. Like a muscle you strengthen, our spiritual muscle has to be worked and exercised and practiced. So, in that spirit, I hope you will give some serious thought to how you will practice and strengthen your ability to “lean in” more of the time as we move into the fall season.

This fall, we are offering quite a number of things that will allow you to engage your spiritual life beyond worship on Sundays.

Here are some of the things that you can engage . . .

  • Join a Meetup Group and make better connections with others.

  • Attend Soup With Soul and strengthen your spiritual muscles.

  • Join the Grief Support Group and grow through the losses.

  • Attend one of the Social Justice Film Screenings to ensure you are educated.

  • Participate in one of our Outreach Programs as a way to serve others.

As a growing faith community, my prayer is that we will learn to “lean in” to our faith and be God’s grace in the world around us.

Dive In!

Pastor Lillie

Making Connections

Based on the conversations that I find myself a part of, it seems many of us struggle with how to balance the brilliance and efficiency of digital life with the inherent addictive and expedient channels it gives us to avoid or miss real, human interaction. Arguably, both sides of the coin offer us satisfying connection . . . the real question is which side of the coin is winning our time and focus?

Well, who knows? I’m sure I don’t but I DO know that we all benefit from face-to-face time with others. I also know that we’re all pretty busy and so the face-to-face time often goes lacking. With that in mind, I want to invite us all into the summer of 2017 and ask that each of us make a point to participate in at least one program where we can connect with others in our spiritual community. Play together. Laugh together. Learn together. Share stories together. Connect in meaningful ways.

I said to a friend just this week, “in the end, we all find time to do what we really want to do.” So, what will you take time to do around connection? What is really important to you in the realm of connecting with others? What do you really want to do when it comes to establishing meaningful connections? Perhaps this can be our contemplation and maybe, just maybe, we’ll find ourselves reaping the joy of greater connection.

New opportunities for connection are coming to Church of the Trinity . . . get ready!

Dive in!

Pastor Lillie

The Tipping Point

Some years ago, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point. He gives example after example of how products and ideas have found a “tipping point” that led them to huge success and/or exposure. In many ways, the ministry of Jesus was that way. It only lasted for 3 years but seemed to build epidemic following. Gladwell would identify this phenomenon as contagious – one that led to an epidemic that has lasted through the centuries.

When I ask myself how we, as people of faith, might find our own tipping point, I admittedly feel discouraged. Why? Because everywhere I look – at the fundamentalists or the liberals and everyone in between – I fail to see contagion around the message of Jesus. I fail to see a message that is spreading in epidemic proportions in a short period of time. I fail to see what Gladwell would call translation. In short, I fail to see Christians living a life that others would want and would find life changing.

In a world where racism, name calling, suspicion, violence and hate are contagious on a regular basis, the message of Jesus is incredibly relevant but has not been contagious. Why is that? Perhaps, as those who follow Jesus, we need to seriously consider whether our lives reflect the life of Jesus enough that we become part of the tipping point. This Sunday, we will tackle this important question so I hope you will be in worship. We have been called . . . so who will we be?

Here’s to tipping . . .

Pastor Lillie

A Generous Heart

I don’t know about you but I’ve had a week . . . of a very long to do list . . . of dates and deadlines . . . of less sleep than usual . . . of demands from multiple places . . . and on and on I could go. My head feels almost dizzy from carrying so many things around in it and so I find myself in the place I’ve been in many times . . . I’m too busy and too stressed!

Then, as I prepare for the sermon on Sunday: Extravagant Generosity, I run across this image.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

It stops me dead in my tracks because it reminds me that being refreshed and renewed is much simpler than it often seems. Essentially, I have to switch my priorities so that what is at the top of my list is doing things that help to refresh others. Often, I get so wrapped up in my busyness that I forget to give time, energy, money and intention to others so that their needs for “refreshing” are invisible to me.

This week, join me in stopping every day for a few minutes to notice those around me who could use “refreshing.” Offer them a kind word, a hug, a smile or simply send good thoughts their way. The writer of Proverbs seemed to understand how quickly our perspective is shifted when we remember what generosity really is . . . offering refreshment to others.

Here’s to refreshing others and experiencing the gift of being refreshed as a result!

Pastor Lillie

All Aboard

I remember the first cruise I went on and how awe struck I was as we walked up the plank to step onto this huge ship. I’ve often wondered how something that big (220,000 tons) can float while some people who weigh 100 pounds sink in the water!! I was mesmerized by the size and grandeur of the ship and as we set sail, I felt as though I was in very unfamiliar territory. I had to learn my way around the ship. I struggled with taking a shower while the ship was moving. As we set out further and further into the sea it felt like we were a speck on the landscape, despite how huge the ship was. When the storm came the first night, I learned why you take Dramamine on these cruises! Yes, I had embarked on a journey that was totally unfamiliar to me and though it took me a couple of days to get acclimated, it was totally worth it.

Jesus and his disciples often found themselves out on the sea. Sometimes they were getting from town to town on the water. Sometimes they were fishing. Sometimes they were just getting away from the crowds. They were familiar with the sea since most of them were fishermen. But the stories we know about their experiences on the seas include the times when storms raged, fish were hard to find and Jesus walked on water! It is clear that when these things happened to them, they needed help to acclimate and learn from the experiences.

Such are the storms, surprises and miracles that pop up in our lives. It is so easy for these experiences to overwhelm us and set us on a course of doubt, fear, confusion and/or distrust. In truth, these are the moments when we have the most profound opportunity to encounter the God who not only loves us beyond measure but is eager to walk with us as we learn to have hope, peace, clarity and trust. Even in the face of things unfamiliar and sometimes painful, God is “all in” with us.

Our challenge is to lean in to the Spirit that is filling the gaps and providing the strength we may not have on our own. Our struggle is to adjust and realize that there is guidance as we get acclimated to something new. Our resistance is one of trusting our own steam more than we trust God to move us through whatever is ahead.

So, I invite you into the fall season and the cruise that Spirit is inviting us to take. I invite you to trust that “the anchor holds.” I invite you to experience the vastness of God’s love and care.

All Aboard! Be prepared to Doubt Your Doubts and Have Faith in Your Faith!!!

Pastor Lillie

The Great Adventure

When Disney World first opened, there was a categorized system (A to E) that let you know that it was level of ride it was. So an “E” ride at Disney might be the scariest and riskiest or the most beautiful or the longest. “E” Rides included the biggest roller coaster, the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World and lots of others.

I’ve been thinking about the ride we are on as a church these days! God is calling us to big things and is doing amazing things with us already. If I were to categorize the ride we are on together, I would have to give it an “E”! No doubt, there are moments when it is scary to think about what might be around the bend or over the next hill. There are risks and sometimes they take our breath away. But for some reason, God has entrusted us with a great vision and has asked us to step into it, prepared to have our “E” ticket stamped at the door!

In our humanness, we tend to focus in on the risk and fear factors that come with “E” Rides. But, just like at Disney, “E” rides are also the ones that provide the most laughs, the most exciting adventures, the best music, and the greatest beauty. I’ve met a lot of people who never buy “E” tickets at Disney because they are only thinking about the scary ones. So I have begun to pray that we will become people who gladly take the “E” ticket because we have prepared our spirits to see beauty, hear music, long for adventure and feel the laughter, even in the face of risk and fear.

“E” tickets are available. The great adventure with God is calling us!

Let’s go!

Pastor Lillie

How Do We Pray?

How Do We Pray?

I don’t know about you, but watching the news the last couple of weeks has most surely caused my blood pressure to go up!

The political climate is nasty, expensive, cut-throat and confounding.

  • Some religious leaders seemed to use the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting as an opportunity to demonize gay people and people of color.

  • An activist is being tried by a jury for helping migrants by giving them food, water and shelter.

  • The beloved baseball player, David Ortiz was shot for reasons unknown.

  • A helicopter flew into a building in New York City and though the causes are unknown, it seemed far too close to our memories of 9/11.

And that was just in the United States.

Goodness. How do we pray for and about these things?

Well, I decided to be inspired by the life of Mohammed Ali to help me learn how to pray for all the horrible things that are happening in our country and around the world.

Ali said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

I guess this spoke to me because when I watch the news, I feel as if the mountains in our world keep getting higher and steeper and the terrain more treacherous. Every glance at the mountains feels discouraging and impossible to see beyond, let alone, overcome. And when those realities overtake me, I find it hard to know how to pray.

And then, I see the second part of Ali’s words: It’s the pebbles in your shoe that are wearing you out! Wow! This reminds me, and all of us, that the one thing we can do is work on the “pebbles” in own little part of the world. It suggests to us that when we ignore the person on the street who needs a drink of water . . . we add a pebble to our own heart. When we are moving so fast that we fail to see a lonely friend standing right in front of us, we add a pebble to our own soul. When we just don’t have time in our busy schedule to check on a sick friend, we add a pebble to our own conscience. Pretty soon, the pebbles pile up and though we may not make the headlines, we’ve participated in the whole of what creates negativity, violence, selfishness and greed.

So how do we pray for a world in such a mess? We pray for ourselves . . . that we might free ourselves of the pebbles that build up and cause us to be less of the people and citizens God created us to be. I hope you will write your own prayer with this in mind. Here is mine . . .

God, in your infinite love and mercy, nudge me when I selfishly move through the world without noticing those who need something that would be easy for me to give. With your wisdom, gently remind me of the blessings that you have so freely offered me so that I might be a blessing to someone else. In your grace, forgive me when I fail to speak for those who have no voice, act for those who have no agency or advocate for those who have no privilege. God, let your Holy Spirit rain down on me so that the pebbles of my own making might be washed away and the mountains ahead might not seem so impossible to climb. I give myself as you intended for me to be in your service. Amen

May all of our mountains begin to move . . .

pastor Lillie

What We Can Learn from a Sloth

What We Can Learn from a Sloth

Please watch this video . . . CLICK HERE

I watched this with amazement last week on Facebook. The kindness of this man to help the poor sloth across the road and then into a tree, is so touching. But the real moment was when the sloth clearly turns, waves and thanks the man for helping her.

I’m dismayed almost every day by the level of unkindness that pervades the newspaper, newscasts, Facebook and on the highways. It’s hard for me to get my head around the level of permission people feel to mock, curse, demean, accuse, and generally insult other humans. I’m guessing most of us were not raised to behave in this way and if that is the case, then let’s all demand of ourselves that we return to what we were taught about kindness. After all, if a sloth can do it, surely we can.

The only way I know to combat the take over of unkindness is to put as much kindness out there as possible. This week, I invite you to join me in a commitment to do something kind for someone every day and when possible, do it anonymously. True kindness does not need acknowledgement, it just needs to be delivered. After all, if a sloth can do it, surely we can!

If everyone who reads this delivers one act of kindness each day this week, then we will have changed our little part of the world for the good.

May the Sloth Be With You!

Pastor Lillie

Between the Dreaming and the Coming True

Word from Pastor Lillie

l show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)

I ran across one of my goal setting journals the other day while unpacking boxes and sat down in the floor to look at it. According to the dates in the journal, I must have been about 28 years old. It was a time in my life when I was religiously setting goals and attaining them. It was fascinating for me to see how many things I set out to accomplish and DID!

After looking through all those goals, I started to ask myself, “When did I stop setting goals?” The answer was crystal clear . . . six years ago when my life as I had known it, fell apart, and I literally had to start over. Wow. That seems like a crazy time to stop setting goals but it is the truth. It took me a few years to start dreaming again and seeing my dreams come true.

It is easy to get busy and complacent with life and miss the joy we find when we pursue our dreams. In the scripture recorded above, there is a promise from God to take care of us, show up for us and give us the future we hope for! What a promise! I take this promise to mean that God will be doing Her part, so we must do ours. We are in a partnership . . . one where God is making provisions for the future WE hope for and we are clarifying and working toward that future.

I want to invite you to engage your dreams again. Your dreams are born from the heart of God and kept in the heart of God so dreaming is a spiritual practice, not something to throw away or become cynical about.

Next Sunday, April 7th, we will formally covenant together with each other and God, to trust in our dreams and God’s deep desire to fulfill them in us. I hope all of you will make an effort to attend my installation as your senior pastor because it is not just for me but for US!

We were born to be the light of the world . . . may our lights shine brightly with the dreams that God has given us!

Many Blessings,

Rev. Lillie