This year, wherever you are, at home or traveling, you'll come across moments of grace. Something that feels like a gift, a wink from God, or just good news. Maybe you'll snap a picture with your phone, or take back something from the experience. We share these moments of grace from this year in this space.
A sign from God that, while all may not be right in Ukraine at the moment, each of us can continue to look up & pray for peace. Amen.
Walking the dog at sunset, saw a group of dogwood blossoms that reminded me of a congregation: some of us budding, others in full bloom, some... well our petals don't stretch as far as they used to! How graceful that we all bloom uniquely in God's love, each one covering where another petal ends, with plenty of overlap in between. Amen.
Taking a moment to appreciate those who serve through the eyes of a 6 year old.
On June 8, the condo building in Jones Court, next door and behind GLC caught fire. One of the units belonging to an elderly couple was completely gutted. In responding to the fire the DCFD took out a portion of the church’s back fence. The first and most important act of God’s Grace was that no one was hurt in the fire. The second act of grace was that neither GLC nor any other adjacent property was significantly impacted by the fire, with the lone minor exception of our fence behind the fellowship hall.
GLC finding grace in service to others.
A nearby bridal shop on Wisconsin Ave often has notable storefront displays. Descriptions of the current one might include “a rainbow of colorful flowers… celebrating diversity & pride… a gorgeous spectrum of blossoms.” A quote by the late English poet John Keats could grace this scene as well: ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. Amen.
Beautiful stained glass window at the Latvian Lutheran Church in Rockville, Maryland.
Hospitality abroad. Walking the Dingle Way in Ireland, I stayed at a B&B where our gracious host offered to take me to Sunday mass. It was in Gaelic, but the familiar contour of the liturgy was welcomed me. And so were a few poignant lines of the pastor's sermon spoken in English. As he greeted me and asked my name (Christopher) at the door, he declared "Christ-bearer!" and I replied, "yes, and only because Christ bears me, and bears with me." We bonded and he reached into his pocket, handed me a beaded crucifix and allowed me this warm photograph of luminous welcome. I learned later that he had been a teacher and married and when he became widowed, entered seminary and the priesthood to be a blessing again! Surely to me that day.
A gargantuan US Flag displayed over the central courtyard of a hotel—a poignant reminder that whether as a congregation, community, or country “We the People” all play a role in our collective success toward a healthier future. JFK may have said it best (in Jan 1961): “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Amen.
Sharing in the joy of spending some time with this cutie- Mileila, my Goddaughter McKayla's little one. She was a rainbow baby, so every time I see her I'm reminded of God's amazing grace.
- Jill S
This large ball of wound rubber bands was spotted at a store service-desk... LORD, often we stretch ourselves thin to keep it all together: work responsibilities, relationships, bills, home chores, etc. Thank You for the grace of Sabbath, encouraging us to take time to relax and embrace self-care, in effect “rewinding” ourselves in your Love, so we may share this gift of renewal with others. Amen.
- Jim S
This is a resurrection lily from GLC's garden. Each year its leaves sprout in the spring and die back in June. Then in mid-summer, the flowers spring dramatically from the ground on a bare stalk. Its passage from apparent death to surprising life reminds me of a similar story.
One Sunday morning I walked by a scrap on the sidewalk. After a dozen steps, my conscience told me to witness it, so I snapped a cellphone pic, then proceeded to church. Viewing it later, I realized the frame captured red spray paint; a trodden oak leaf; perpendicular sidewalk slab joints; and the scrap piece of cardboard with one and a half words…which filled me with three: “Thank You, Jesus.” Amen.
- Jim S.
A white rose in my mother’s flower bed was in peak bloom during a recent summer visit. Along with a central red heart, black cross, and a circling ring of gold—this flower symbolizes Martin Luther’s pure and courageous Faith, which has now blossomed for more than five centuries in Christian ministries around the world. Amen.
- Jim S
In early May a young squirrel, no bigger than a stick of butter, scurried by on the fire escape. I gently tapped on the window, and he just stood up—tiny paws on the sill—as if to say: “HELLO!” Although he probably had not slept in a cave for three nights prior to our encounter, he was certainly the most AWAKE squirrel I’ve ever met. Amen.
- Jim S
Life’s tough for an acorn; after monoecious pollination amongst spring oak blossoms, they grow for 6-18 months on the branch, ripen, and fall to the ground. Then, if not carried away or consumed by wildlife, they have a very scant chance of rooting in a spot with favorable elements to grow into a sapling. The MORAL: Better to ‘BE LEAF’ than be nuts! Ecclesiastes 3 and… Amen.
- Jim S.
Note to Self: Sometimes you need to let go… of anger, frustration, hurt, disappointment, fear, phobias, control (but no, NOT the steering wheel!) and just trust God is shaping, molding you into the person you are supposed to be—both for yourself, and as a gift in others' lives. As the last line in the poem “Desiderata” (Max Ehrmann, 1927) states: ‘Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.’ Amen.
A tree displaying autumn foliage near the Tenleytown neighborhood in early October. LEADERSHIP: it’s not necessarily about being an early adopter, oldest, wisest, loudest, or even the most respected. It IS about being willing and able to encourage others to be the best THEY can be. Look up to Jesus Christ for a prime example… Hallelujah! Amen.
- Jim S.
After Thanksgiving comes Advent, and with it... Christmas CAROL season! As we wait, and hopefully make a little space in our day for prayer & reflection--in the morning, after a meal, or before bedtime--this holiday MUSIC also reminds us of wintertime, fun, and the arrival of the Holy family. SO, come all ye faithful, SING with joy to the world--IT is WELL, with your Soul. Psalm 95:2 * Amen.