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Showing posts from 2019

Pregnancy, Mary and me

This post is published at We Talk, We Listen Blog. If you would like to see that post there visit: " Pregnancy, Mary and Me " Painting "Let it be unto me" by Pastor Tara L. Eastman As a pastor, I spend a lot of time in hospitals and nursing homes. It has been common for me when visiting an elderly person – most often women; that after communion or prayer to ask if there is anything they would like to talk about and they say with wide smile and glimmering eyes, “Oh I see that you are expecting – when is the baby due?” While there is sweetness to this statement, the truth of the matter is that truly, “I am not pregnant.” When this first happened to me, my ego and self-image took a deep dive. The defensive statements both internal and external bubble to the surface, “My children are grown!” or “Am I really that heavy?” and “Why do I keep being asked this question?” Not too long ago, I was wrapping up a visit with an elderly woman and I asked her if there

The story of Emmanuel - Jesus, with us (Christmas Eve Sermon 2019)

Luke 2:1-14 [15-20] In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.   In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am b

Advent Poems for Wreath Lighting 2019

Last Advent I wrote weekly poems to go along with my sermons and this year I will be using them for the traditional Advent candle wreath lighting - being read by church members. If you are interested in using these poems for your worship setting, please credit them to myself, Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman. Advent Blessings!                                            Advent Mural by Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman A Poem for the first week of Advent - HOPE Hope seems as light as a feather,  but sparks all good, deep things that are yet to come. Hope is a glimmer of light, in the darkest night.  Even in the midst of chaos, hope is new growth of a fig leaf or bud of the cactus plant;  growing slowly to remind us, that Jesus is nearby.  As the Solstice draws near, days grow darker and colder and a single candle of hope shines.  A single candle to wake us up to the promise given.  A single candle to stoke the cooling embers of the heart. A single candle to give, "  confide

Yellow Leaf: A poem for Heather Lynn and all saints

For All Saints Sunday, I shared the poem I wrote in honor of my older sister Heather, who passed away at the age of 15 due complications from a heart defect. After sharing this on Sunday morning, I've had people comment on this poem and how meaningful it was to them in the griefs they were coping with. It's my hope that the words will help you to recount and retell the stories of the loved ones that have passed on. That somehow, in grief, we can  move from silence into times of tearful but joyful conversation. For my sister, I desire that her life be remembered not for her illness, but for her gentleness – laughter – and love of God. As you read this poem written in Heather Lynn Rain's honor, think of the Saints whose stories need to be told. Share their stories... Yellow Leaf    This yellow leaf once was green with promise.  It was connected, nourished, and alive. Hints of the fall were all around: Crisp evenings, rushing winds, and shorter days. But thi

Be Savvy...

My grandson and I have an annual tradition each fall of stringing beads on to stretchy thread and making a set of new prayer beads. We use the beads to pray for our family members, friends from school and work and to talk with God about the things we are joyful or sad about. In between each large bead is a “bumper” bead that we use to give thanks to God for something or someone. At the end of our prayer we are practicing the Lord’s Prayer together. Making and using prayer beads is a faith practice that we enjoy sharing with each other and helps us to remember that God is always with us – and always willing to hear the needs that are on our hearts. Using prayer beads is an everyday way of incorporate prayer into our lives - and so are a savvy way of using the small things and small pockets of time to draw close to God and each other. In Luke 16, Jesus tells a parable of the “shrew” (savvy) manager and tells his followers to be shrewd as the manager is shrewd.  Jesus calls us to u

Longing for wisdom, courage, peacemaking and hope

There is a new app that is incredibly popular this week, the FaceApp . While there is a great deal of controversy on privacy, the source of the app, and the use of it to see what you may look like when you are "old"; I've been thinking about it and what I saw when I saw myself from a more aged perspective. In a world where there is so much emphasis on staying young, I wonder if we may have forgotten the importance of the wisdom that the advancement of years brings? Today would mark Nelson Mandela's 101's birthday, and as person of significant wisdom, he said this in regard to elders: Elders', "support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair.” Courage in fear - agreement in conflict - hope where there is despair There gifts of elders: courage, peacemaking and hope; are things so needed in our homes, communities, work and world. So why is it that seeing ourselves as elder

Who is my neighbor?

I’ve said before how much I appreciate the ministry of Fred Rodgers. On his television show, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” he took seriously the needs of children and used his platform to help children in any way he could. While there are so many anecdotes I could share about Fred – one that comes to  mind on this Sunday we read the lesson of the Good Samaritan, is one that addresses the topic of  differences that can arise between people because of race, religion, gender or orientation.  In Episode 1065 of Mr. Rogers neighborhood, it opens with Rogers inviting viewers to be in his neighborhood; but instead of putting on his iconic cardigan, Rogers talks about how hot the day is  and how nice it would be to put his feet in a pool of cool water.  He moves to his front year where he  fills a small plastic pool with water and begins to  soak his feet. Soon Officer Clemmons, a black  police officer in his neighborhood,  drops by for a visit and is invited to share the pool

Purple Crayons are beautiful

It's important for you to know, that I hate to clean out my wallet. While I love to see it all organized and tidy, the process of un-stuffing and sorting is at the bottom of my list of "things I like to do." However, in the process of un-stuffing my wallet I found something of beauty. I came across a purple crayon. This purple crayon. Yes at first it reminded me of the kid's story, "Harold and the purple crayon" , and then it reminded me of a friend who always stops to take photos of every purple flower she finds.  Hold that thought.  Every. Purple. Flower. Is. Something. To. Take. Note. Of. So when I took the purple crayon out of my wallet. I thought of Harold's Crayon. Then Elle's purple flowers. The purple iris's I saw on a nature walk this week. Every. Purple. Something. Is. Something. To. Take. Note. Of. Purple beauty is everywhere. There is beauty all around us, that hides in plan sight. Crayons are stuffed in

Good Shepherd

Shepherd in the light of day, Share with us your whole heart. Loving people today - make us a new start. Jesus’ blessing, we carry – it’s a blessing we are called to share. Good Shepherd lead us all along the way, From each new beginning and in the midst of the fray. We are bound up in God’s presence – in the dark valley and fields of green. The Good Shepherd is guide us on high ground, low ground and all places in between. Shepherd in the light of day, Shepherd in the dark of night Share with us your “Good Shepherd” heart. Help us love people today – Jesus, make us a new start. Painting -  The Little Shepherdess  is a  painting  by  William-Adolphe Bouguereau  completed in 1889 Poem Copyright 2019 T.L. Eastman Based on 23rd Psalm

Grow where you are planted

Grow where you are planted... This photo was taken 4 years ago today, while in interviews to be approved for Ordination. I knew that day that things were not going well and that I was going to face some difficult criticism. At the end of the day my gifts for ministry were affirmed, but the team determined for me to have experience in a new context and I was told I would serve a vicar year away from home.  In the matter of a day, my whole world seemed to chan ge and the emotions of that moment are still palpable today. However, God in all God’s mystery, love and mercy was with me through all of it...even the ugly crying, wandering and coming through the challenges of a call to a new place. These purple flowers breaking through the cement are still a reminder today that God is present in all things, in all times.  God is with you.  Remember this today.   # gratitudematters

Faithful friend

Give the comfort of presence,  resting gently alongside and with. Notice the warm sun streaming through a window  to reveal the joyful shadow dance of tree leaves on the carpet at my feet. Eat a meal, simple and humble, that is a feast for body and soul. Share space. Give weight to ground me. Look deep into my eyes. Know me fully and still long to know more. This is my faithful friend.   Sometimes they walk on two feet and often they walk on four. Copyright 2019 T.L. Eastman

A little child will lead us...

“Chloe, how big is your family?” Points to her family and counts.. “1, 2, 3 aaannnndddd...” “Four”, I say and point to her. She smiles. “Ok Chloe, how many people are in God’s family?”  Without delay she says, “All the people!” Yes Chloe, God’s family is for all people. 

Slow my roll

A few days ago, a friend told me a story about how in ancient times, leaders of a household would light a lantern at night so that people could move about the home safely. The images  I imagined were something like a three wick candle I might find at a gift shop or even  a red lantern I'd find in the camping section of a box store. But as she explained the type of lantern that these early peoples would have used, what came to mind was that looked like a botched pottery project. These lanterns were made of clay, formed into a bowl to hold the oil and one end was pinched into a narrow spout for a cloth wick to rest. Not only would this kind of ancient lantern not give off a ton of light, required the carrier to walk slowly as to not spill the oil, The lantern bearer had to take their time and travel one dimly illuminated step at a time. In Psalm 119: 105, the Psalmist who would have had personal experience with these ancient lamps writes...  "Your word is a lamp to my feet

Nonpareils, glitter and other uncontrollable things

As I was cleaning up my kitchen table after confectionery preparations for a party, I was struck by the persistence of the golden nonpareils that had been used to decorate cake pops. In my efforts to gather up all these tiny, sweet candies; I was reminded of friends of mine that while my husband and I were away for our honeymoon, had taken it into their hands to "decorate" our place with confetti on the ceiling fan, jello in the bathtub and (of course) nonpareils sprinkled all through my underwear drawer. For months, years and several moves later - the top drawer of that dresser made light tapping noises that were the never ending reminder of the permanence of nonpareils released to the wild of what we know as "life". Nonpareils while tasty (which may be their only redeeming quality) are much like glitter in their ability to stick around EVERYWHERE. While I enjoy glitter for it's light catching glimmer, it also has the same ability to resist containment.