Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Remembering and Speaking out.

Grace and greetings.

I am not sure if you can read the comic strip, but I received it in an email this morning, asking to send on the message that we never forget. Quickly, the girl notices the number tattoo, the gentleman quickly tells her his story of the concentration camps. She asks if he keeps it to remind him; his answer: "no, to remind you!"

The reason I wanted to copy this and place it here in my blog is because for my wife Kim, this conversation, or one very like it, happened to her many years ago. When Kim's mother was in the hospital, her roomate was a survivor. Kim being an innocent little girl asked about the number tattoo, and the woman told Kim her story over the next couple of days. She no longer had any family left alive at that time, so she make Kim her "Legacy", Kim is the one to tell her story that we may never forget; that we may forever speak out. The woman died shortly afterward. Please continue to speak out at the crimes against humanity that continue throughout the world, in the name of God, nation, fighting terrorism or for whatever reason. Genocide must not happen again, and yet it does.

Getting down off my soap box now; I heard back from the person I was thinking of when I wrote an earlier blog about lost friends. Not only did the one person write me back, but two others did as well. Be sure to keep in contact with your friends, where ever they may be.

Peace and blessings.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Grace and greetings.

My email is not working again. So I thought I would try and send this to see if we can print on a color printer.

We are planning a Revival here in Barrow. It is the first one in a while at the Presbyterian Church; it will be the first one that I have ever participated and been apart of. We are bringing up the Rev. Joan Gray, who is the Past Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has grown up in the South, and Revivals were part of her life, so she is going to lead ours here this coming week, Wednesday April 1 through to Sunday Morning, Palm Sunday, April 5th. I ask for you to join our prayers that God's Spirit renew and revitalize Barrow and the North Slope. We continue to deal with the pain and suffering of those left behind from the loved one who have committed suicide, intentionally or accidentally.

Peace and blessings.

The High Priest

Grace and greetings.

Here is a picture of Mount Redoubt as it erupted earlier this week. The picture was published in the Anchorage Daily News, taken during an early morning eruption and the storm that goes along with it. Though the ash has not made the 1,000 mile journey north, it has blanketed parts of the South Central Alaska, including Anchorage, which has interrupted the air flights, including to Barrow and other villages. For the villages, when the planes do not fly, then we do not get food, supplies, mail as well as the people traveling in and out of our villages.

I am still not feeling 100% yet, and hopefully will get back to writing again. Below, is a copy of the meditation from tonight's service.

The True High Priest
Hebrews 5.5-10

As we come to consider what this passage is about, let us look at the role of the High Priest at the time. In the Jewish temple, there is a place called the Holy of Holies. It is the most sacred part of the temple. Only the priest that is serving for that time can approach. It is part of the family tradition of being from the Levite line, you will serve your time, usually a year as the community priest. This is a person who is totally human, with all the faults, tears and misunderstanding as the rest of us; but for this time, the priest would enter into the Holy of Holies to offer up the prayers as well as the sacrificial acts and prayers of the people to God. The priest is someone just like us, struggling along like the rest of us, who is also called upon to receive, to bear, and to lift before God the needs that are common to us all. It is with this understanding, that Jesus is being associated with the priesthood forever. To be able to see Jesus this way puts him squarely in our nature and our world, and sees his work as intimate, connectional, and costly.

Jesus is the priest that offers up our prayers to God, though he does not offer up sacrifices any more, but offers up the prayers with loud cries and tears. He continues to present himself to God on our behalf. Jesus, being the obedient son, asks that his hardship and suffering be taken away; but knows he has to follow the path that God has set before him; that he goes to the cross, that he may come out on the other side of death and the tomb through resurrection and new life.

As we read this passage, and remember Jesus in the Garden before his death, we remember his anguish, passion, tears and cries to God. He is not lifting up a lamb or dove, or even bread and wine; he is offering up his soul with the prayers for all to understand; the grief of the world is upon his shoulders. Into the presence of God, Jesus offers weeping and screaming in the lifting up of prayers and he is lifting them up to God on behalf of the people.

His passion embodies and suffers not only the guilt of the world, but also the grief of the world, the anguish, isolation, the longing, misery and rage, crying out to the heavens. He comes before God, not only for his own deliverance, but for the cries and tears of us all. The passage declares that Jesus is the “priest forever”, and he is lifting up our prayers, pain, agony, desperation with loud shouts in prayer.

If we are now the Body of Christ to one another, to our community and the world, where does that leave us? I believe that it means we step into the priestly role with Christ to lift up the prayers of the people. We lift up all who have reason for tears and loud cries, mourners, the war-ravaged, the poor, the terrified, the oppressed, those who are too much alone, the hungry and the forgotten. Their tears, cries, and clenched silences are gathered into a groaning divine cry, ceaselessly rising, painfully lifting the suffering world toward hope of transformation. We, as the Body of Christ are not only to hear these cries lifted up to God, but to join in and lift the prayers up as well.

Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Grace and greetings.

Have you ever had to wait for something to happen? Rhetorical question, right? Yeah, I know. A couple of years ago I signed up on the classmate web site. It was my hope to re-unite with certain people; of course, after I made contact with the individuals, we just as quickly have not written each other again. There are still others that I wish to get in contact with again. This afternoon, I came across a name that I have been waiting for since I signed up. So I contacted the person, now I get to wait to see if the person will respond.

Once I make contact again, will this relationship be like the others; a quick hi, how are you doing? Let's write again...knowing that the writing will be a long time in coming. Just like coming across a long lost friend on the street, with promises of keeping in touch, and reality comes crashing in; lives that were close thirty years ago, no longer have that much in common.

Well, I continue to hope; to up hold my anticipation that one day, I will keep the commitment to stay in touch, (outside of my blog, of course).

Peace and blessings

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Down by not out...Yet

Grace and greetings.
Sunday morning, I woke up with a sore throat, I tried not to think about it too much.

Yesterday, I had further test from my yearly physical, a stress test. Though I did not make the ten minute mark, due to being too out of shape, the doctor said that I had no heart issues at the moment.
I ran a couple of errands, and then it felt like I was hit up side of the head, throat and everywhere else. I laid down for a few minutes, which stretched throughout the rest of the day and night. I felt so bad that I had Kim go pick up Sam after school, and Kim is not suppose to be driving.

Today I finally went to the clinic and confirmed that I had strep. They gave me a shot of antibiotics, which is some respects, is already working. Kim and Sam decided to go out to eat, which is leaving me a few moments of quiet, so I thought I would up load a few other pictures from my day out on Saturday. Other than that, tonight is going to be a quiet night too.

Hopefully I will feeling better soon.

Peace and blessing

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saved by Grace

Grace and greetings.

Here is my offering for Sunday Night..

Saved by Grace
Ephesians 2.1-10

Though the writer was writing to a church two thousand years ago, and was responding to different situations and experiences, we still can hear of his call to the people. As we come to hear the words written in the Letter to the Ephesians, we can listen whether the words were written by Paul, or latter by a student of Paul, using Paul’s understanding of God’s grace and love.

Each of us in our lives do not always do what we want to do; in fact Paul even wrote that he does the very thing he does not want to do. There are times in our lives that we try to hide what we do, whether it is something big as an affair of the heart; going to places on the Internet that we know we should be going to; maybe it is the abusing of alcohol and illegal drugs; or something that seems innocent at the time, like a “white lie” to avoid somebody’s wrath or displeasure. For each of us, we have the opportunity to come before God and receive forgiveness.

As we read the passage, we understand that everything here, God does all the work. God initiates the relationship with each and every one of us. God gives us the faith to believe, God gives us the strength to come and ask for forgiveness. God blesses us with grace in our lives that we can reach out to God, and say “Thank you.” This is NOT of our doing, but it is ALL GOD!

So where does that leave us here and now? We understand that our faith in God comes from God. We do not need to spend our lives worrying about our salvation; that is all in the hands of God. We do not need to worry if we are accepted by God; God reaches out and claims us as one of God’s own.

But this does not mean that we can just let God do everything else. God has already set in motion the salvation for the entire world through the saving actions of Jesus. Now we need to go out and tell the rest of the world about God’s love and saving grace that comes about by faith; and even the faith that we have in God is a gift from God. We share the Good News of the gospel, by how we treat our neighbor, acknowledging them, helping them, sharing with them and loving them. It is from the parable of the Good Samaritan that we know who our neighbor is: it is ANYBODY that we come across, or ANYBODY that we come in contact with, whether it is in person, or over the Internet, or over the phone. We are each other’s neighbor where ever we may be located at any particular time. We respond to our neighbor, because of the wonders that God has given us. It is ALL God’s doing.

Peace and blessings.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Writing Class here we come

Grace and greetings.

Kim and I signed up for a creative writing class, to tell our own story. It will only be for five weeks, until the middle of April. This morning, we started out with an in class assignment to write a 500 word earliest memory or a fond memory. Of course this is the first day of Spring, so eventually my thoughts went to baseball. Since it is only -35 this morning, we are not playing ball too soon here. I have included a couple of pictures of the ball field here in Barrow to go with the story, since I do not have a picture of "The Big A". Though this is not my earliest memory, it is a memory I thought I could write for 500 words. As it turned out, I was the only one in the class of eight to get a 500 word story in the hour allocated. Here is my story before it is graded...

"The Big A"

Being a Cub Scout, my project is about one of the two baseball teams in Southern California area, the Los Angeles Angels. Since it is just before spring training, I search the newspapers every morning to cut and paste to complete my project.

I cut out articles with pictures, paste them into the booklet and sometimes write my reactions. Coach Bill Rigney is standing in this picture with outfielder Jay Johnstone; still not much to go on for my report. I find articles that talk about the owner, Gene Autry; some say he use to act or something.

As a ten year old, I am fairly independent; I get to walk the six blocks to the grocery store. The poster in the front window is advertising a raffle to win tickets to the the Angels first game at the newly built Anaheim Stadium; "The Big A," stands just outside the center-field wall.

I fill out a raffle ticket, slowly filling out my name so that when I win, they will call it out loudly, "And the winner is David Green." The drawing is not for a few more weeks, but I hope to win anyway.

Of course nothing comes about as we think it out in our heads, but in this one instance, I won. What a way to finish off my project, going to the first game at Anaheim Stadium with the newly named California Angels.

The day of the game finally arrives; I wait anxiously as my grandparents drive down to Westminster from Pasadena. My father seems very calm, as he usually is. It is agreed then, my grandfather, Dad and I get to go to the game, after all, I won the ticket. My little sister and brother are staying home with Mom and Grandma.

The drive on the freeway seems confusing, why is it taking so long to get there? Can't we get there any quicker? It seems as though my Dad will never get there. My Grandpa sits in the front seat next to my Dad, as I get the whole back seat to myself, watching the trees and buildings go by slowly. It is another beautiful sunny day in Southern California.

I can see the "Big A" from the freeway, but I also see the long line of other cars. As long as we get in, I can hardly wait to see my first professional baseball game in person.

Finally we get to the front of the line of cars, my Dad pulls up to the man directing the cars where to go and park. Some of the other cars are just driving away. My Dad is talking to the person, I can't hear everything...the game is sold out, we can't get in? But I have a ticket!

"Dad, tell him I already have a ticket!" Dad is already pulling away, "Dad tell him I won the ticket." My Grandpa turns to me and explains that there is no room for all three of us, so we can not get into the game.

Not to lose the whole day, Grandpa suggested another favorite game of mine, bowling. It is not the baseball game, but I get to spend time bowling with my Grandpa and Dad.

(Though the story is true, I took some liberties, my Cub Scout project was actually the year or two before the opening of Anaheim Stadium. Also, this was before I started going by my middle name, Ian, which was not until the fifth grade).

Peace and blessings

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hiding in Plain Sight

Grace and greetings

Have you ever come upon something that you see everyday, but do not really notice it? When I was taking these pictures back in January, I first noticed the room with windows on the second floor of the Alaska Airlines building. After I noticed it, I wondered what it was used for.

Last week, I found out that it is just a glorified break room for the airline employees, with exercise equipment to boot. I found out, because they will sometimes use the room for other occasions as well, like last week. The mother of the young man that died was flying in from the oil fields where she works, I think for Alaska Airlines. They ushered her directly up there from the plane to meet with her family; as pastor, I was part of the group.

Yesterday, we had the funeral, it was a long and emotional service for the Witness of the Resurrection. This afternoon, I officiated another funeral for a young woman who died from cancer that she had been battling for the past year or so.

How often do we walk, or drive by something everyday and not notice it; whether the "it" is a place, thing or a person. All too often, we, especially I, become too focused that I do not notice things that are out of my line of vision. Just as Jesus taught that anytime we do something for the "least of these", the outcast, the unnoticed, we do it for Jesus as well. The opposite is true as well, every time we walk by and not notice the least of these, we do not notice Jesus.

It is time that I started becoming more aware of where I am looking.

Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Carrying a Heavy Load

Grace and greetings.

Just like this large truck we found a couple of weeks ago, there is something so heavy in our community that even this weight bearing truck could not hold, the reality of death and suicide here in the North Slope.

Saturday morning, alcohol and a gun concluded with another death of a young man here in Barrow. Whether it was accidental, intentional or otherwise, it resulted in his death. This is the third death with the same elements in as many months here in Barrow alone, along with other deaths throughout the North Slope. The worst part of the deaths, is that close family and friends are not willing to accept that the young men, (the three deaths have all been males), could have a hand in their own deaths.

Suicide, again, intentionally or accidentally, need to be acknowledged and talked about openly. For some reason, the communities still hold on to the stigma of suicide can only be talked about in secret, and a great family dark skeleton locked away in the family closets.

I understand the hurt and pain that any death will bring, especially that of young men still in their early to mid twenties. I have heard from people, including a young woman who called me a couple of days ago about the death last month. She continued to refuse to hear or acknowledge that the young man had any involvement in his own death. She yelled and screamed at me, as well as those who were with her when the phone call was make, that the young man was murdered, and the murderer was still out there somewhere in Barrow. The young woman's friends were trying to calm her and help her to see the truth, but she just could not accept what others were telling her.

In some respects, the caller was correct, the murderer is still out there; the murderer's name: Alcohol, Guns and Silence. The more the families and friends allow the murderer to continue, the more lives will be lost.

There are groups that are trying to address these issues, of silence and death. People are starting to become organized to talk about the situations; trying to bring understanding and healing to the community. It will take time, energy, compassion, listening and prayer to overcome the great silence.

I ask for your prayers for our communities in the North Slope, that we may find ways to speak out and find a way to stop the deaths. In the meantime, I will be officiating another funeral tomorrow afternoon for yet another grieving family.

Peace and blessings.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Getting Caught Up

Grace and greetings.

Like the picture to the left, I am trying to get up on something high so I can see the landscape; in my case, it is getting caught up with my blogging. Friday night I asked for some help but did not get any replies; I do not know if that means nobody wears hearing aids, or no body has been reading my blog. Either way, if you wear hearing aids and have a preference to "In the Ear" or "Behind the Ear", please let me know.

I talked with my father last night to wish him a happy birthday, and he commented that they had not been able to pull up my blog since December, I hope they are able to get it now.

In our book club at the local library, we have read two books since I last commented on our book selection. The first book that we read for January was Tracy Kidder's book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains"; it is about the real life story of Paul Farmer and his work through the hospital he helped build up in Haiti. Though it deals with more than just his life there, I admit that I have not finished the book yet, but it is now on my list to do so.

The other book is called "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young. It is a story of one man's journey to heal following the violent death of his young daughter. It is a book that started making its way through churches and other book groups last year, many loving the book; others were put off by it. I enjoyed the book, and would encourage you to read it. It presents God in a different light than a lot of people are use to. For me, it forced me to look at how I looked at God as well; it is a book that is worth passing on to others.

Peace and blessings.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Need your help

Grace and greetings.

It has been a long time, I know. First I will ill, missing the last day of Kivig. Then I was traveling to Fairbanks and then to Kansas City. Of course while we were out of town, we lost the Internet connection to the house. We are trying to get it fixed, but the people will not be able to come to the house until next week sometime.

I was in Fairbanks, Alaska for our Presbytery of Yukon Spring Meeting. Presbytery is the geographical body of the Presbyterian Church. In our case, the Presbytery of Yukon is most of the State of Alaska, everything North of Anchorage, and from the Canadian Border to Saint Lawrence Island with the communities of Gamble and Savoonga. The next level of government is the Synod, in our case the Synod of Alaska Northwest. There are 176 presbyteries, 16 synods and one General Assembly. While at the meeting, Kim transferred her membership from Pennsylvania to here, (ministers are members of the presbytery, and not the local church). In the mean time Sam was in Anchorage at the Model United Nations high school gathering.

Then I was in Kansas City for a Stewardship conference. It was good to get out, but just too short for the distance traveled.

Now to my request. I returned from Kansas City last night, and this morning had an hearing exam; yes, I need hearing aids. My question to the general population out there of those who wear hearing aids: Do you have a preference to the "In the Ear" or "Behind the Ear?" I have the option, just do not know which way to go...then come up with the money before I place my order. Please let me know of your recommendations.

Well, it is getting late tonight, and I need to head home. I hope the Internet connection is fixed soon, so I can take care of other things at home rather than at my office.

Peace and blessings.