Thursday, July 10, 2014


This July is full of surprises.  I was offered a new job.  New as in totally unexpected.  Principal to elementary school children instead of chaplain to hospice patients.  This month I will be finishing my old job while I start my new one.  A new identity as well as exciting challenges and timely solutions.  I'm blown away!

But as I'm reeling with the changes, my twelve year old turned thirteen. We picked up five boys, fed them all the pizza and rootbeer floats they could handle and let them play basketball at the gym until they were totally worn out.  Josh was in his glory.

Three day's later it was Steve's birthday. I wanted something a little less little-caesars and a little more grown-up-celebration.  I made my mom's to-die-for eggplant patties with arrabbiata sauce, fresh green beans and corn, salad and bread.  And of course, Steve's must-have Southern Living's Best Carrot Cake Ever.    

An hour before our friends arrived for the birthday dinner, I did finishing touches on the house and set the table.  All week I had planned to use a beautiful woven runner for the table that went with my flowers and plates.  I had planned the decorations around it, but our table is a mess, and no matter what way I turned the runner, I couldn't get it right.  So I found a blue table cloth and a red flowered napkin that did the trick.

The next day I got a call from a patient's wife.  She said Larry was rallying today and was wondering if the baptism we had talked about for so long could actually happen today.  I told her I was on my way over.  I looked around my house for what I could take to make this chair bound, spontaneous baptism feel holy and eternal.  I got my Bible and a little glass pitcher.  And on the way out, I grabbed the folded woven runner.

Larry and Gail are  sweet people with a simple, tenacious faith.  Illness has tested it over and over, but they have kept their warm, grateful spirits.  They inspire me every time I visit.  

Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy praise.

Today we read Matthew 3 together.  How John was a voice calling in the wilderness  "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him." We talked about how we want to remove any stumbling blocks from our hearts and clear the way for God to have unobstructed access.  We talked about the symbol of baptism and what it means to hear God's voice saying "This is my beloved child."  We prayed together.  Then I wrapped the woven runner around Larry's neck.  With the pitcher of water I baptized him in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for sounds of loudest praise.

As I dried Larry's head with the ends of the runner, I thought about how an ordinary table cloth had become sacramental stole. Ordained fabric.  I thought about how often I make plans.  Even lovely plans.  But sometimes they just aren't high enough.  

Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.   


  1. I just love you, Erin. This is so tender and sweet.

  2. Oh yes, thin places wrapped in a table runner! isn't it lovely how often the holy runs hand in hand with the everydayness of us? Thank you sweet Annie for bringing me closer to that "Fount of every blessing once again! M2