Sit and Savor: An Offering from Lil Smith

December 22, 2017
(c) Bonnie Oden

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” – Isaiah 52:7


Did you hear the whisper?


Did you see the light?


Did you feel the breath??


Sit and linger.

God is near.

(c) 2017 Rev. Lil Smith

Spiritual Director and Supervisor


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An Offering from Elaine: A Light has shown.

December 28, 2016

Isaiah 9:1-2

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.

(c) Bonnie Oden


Light.  The light of Christ.  It shines.  It overpowers the gloom and darkness.  It is a sign of peace, beauty, and love.

Notice it in these days of Christmas.  Notice it.  Ponder it.  Pray about it.  What does Jesus have to offer you in the light of this Christmas season?


Elaine Weber

Spiritual Director

SMI Board of Directors

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Spirituality of the Swimming Pool

June 23, 2014

On a recent Sunday afternoon I took my young grandson to a neighborhood pool.  What was meant to be a fun-filled way to cool off became a sacred moment when I felt a momentary rush of something that could only be described as the Holy Spirit sweep over me.  We are all basking in sunlight that feels like divine light in this moment; the water a powerful symbol of life and cleansing.  We are many faiths and cultures together in one place that is full of light and laughter and life.  We are community as we encourage our own children and feel a connection with those we don’t know.  Life guards are patrolling the water watching over us and reminding us of ways to remain safe while enjoying the water.  We rest as required and those moments of rest are Sabbath moments in a Sabbath day.


We are all one in the time we are there.    We are delighting in each other without speaking.  There are giggles and peals of laughter, the din of joy supported by the underlying sprays of water.  The moment is holy as I felt all of this wash over me like a healing and refreshing stream on a hot and dusty hike.  Just for a moment my being was touched by all of this as an experience of oneness with everyone in that pool.  Just for a moment – one joyous moment – when the divine made Itself known, I realized I was living – we were all living and playing – in the divine.  Oh, how God must have been smiling with joy and satisfaction watching us and infusing us with the beauty of that oneness.



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The Truck Lights

February 27, 2014


John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Darkness engulfed us as we motored along two lane highways on a recent trip across the Texas Panhandle. Our sole company was 18-wheelers, and even with headlights on high beam, it proved difficult to know whether the road curved, angled or straightened. Not a drive for the faint-hearted! However, much to our delight we began to notice large trunks outlined in red and white lights. As long as we followed the lights we had clear direction.

Sometimes as a result of our own choices or as a victim of another’s choice we fall into a kind of darkness and we realize there has to be something better, something more. It’s like being in an explosion and crawling to safety through the rubble; or trying to find the end of a dark tunnel filled with snakes, spiders and cobwebs; or even struggling to escape a burning building. At first you may feel there is no one to lift you out, show you the way or pull you to safety.

Psalm 18:28, “For You (God) light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness.” coming to the light

But God is real and rescues you through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But for those already Christian, God provides resources; the Bible, prayer, commitment to growth, community of believers, Christian books and friends, wise and godly counselors, to name a few. He draws you back into His light.

Genesis 1:4, “God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.”

Stark distinction exists between light and dark, and God separates us from the darkness. With Him we’re able to step out of the rubble, the tunnel, and the burning building into the light. It feels good and healing begins.

Just as those truck lights showed us the way, God shows us the road to eternal life. But life isn’t only about receiving and living in the light; it’s also about spreading it. As we share, doesn’t our light become brighter as it grows more obvious and more consistent? How will you get and give, discover and display, and follow and feature God’s light this week?

Discovering God’s Way out of Darkness, PJ

COPYRIGHT ©2014 PJ Gover (blog, includes “Bible Thoughts”!) (PJ’s devotional book)

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An Offering from Eunice: Anticipating Light

December 13, 2013


“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12

Advent and the scripture readings that accompany it present us with many images but none more predominant than the image of light.  I think it is difficult to absorb the depth of the meaning of Jesus as our Light in this day and time without imagining earlier times when there was no light at the flip of a switch and the darkness of the short days of autumn made difficult or impossible the daily business of both households and communities. It has been easiest to know Jesus as my Light when in the hours before sunrise far from the light of large cities, I’ve found myself in total darkness – a truly awesome and potentially frightening encounter.  And how welcome and beautiful has been the first break of daylight – the “light that dispels the darkness.”


Courtesy of Martha Jecobson

In celebrating the coming of the light of Christ this Advent, I celebrate the birth of Jesus two thousand years ago, the light Jesus’ life and Good News gives my life and the lives of others today, and the vision I hold for the fulfillment of Christ’s Kingdom to come.  I anticipate and celebrate love, hope and faith not just because of what Jesus did but also because of who Jesus is for me and for the world this moment – a Light in the darkness of disappointment, hurt, humiliation and loss and a Light of Anticipation for the time when “all things will be made new.”

Eunice Cheshire

President, Spiritual Ministries Institute

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An Easter offering from Eunice: Light

April 4, 2013

I have said these things that my joy will be in you, and your joy will be complete.    John 15:11

light the candle

Each day we have the opportunity, the invitation to choose between joy and negativity, to see what is missing or what is present, to speak affirmation or criticism.  We can do this without denying reality or avoiding problems, but by recognizing them, doing what we can, and then focusing on the positive.

“People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it.  They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel the darkness.”  Henri Nouwen,  The Return of the Prodigal Son

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From Lee: Shared Love

March 28, 2013

When I was first becoming “known,” people wanted to get close to me and be my friend or have a special relationship with me. I asked myself how I would choose between all these friends and I realized that the people I really found joy in were not always people who loved me—nearly as much as people who loved what I loved. That helped me understand what I think Richard of St. Victor was trying to teach. The Holy Spirit is the shared love of the Father and the Son, and shared love is always happiness and joy. The Holy Spirit is whatever the Father and the Son are in love with; the Holy Spirit is that excitement and joy—about everything that has been created!

                                                                Adapted from The Shape of God: Deepening the Mystery of the Trinity
by Richard Rohr

Easter Lily

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An Advent Offering from Karen: The Word Became Flesh

December 13, 2012

John 1:1-8

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was with God in the beginning.3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  (NIV)

christmas lightsEvery year, the Christmas lights go up earlier—our local warehouse store had some up before Halloween.  Maybe we’ll see them over Labor Day next year.  And, there are some really tacky displays.  I remember “Go Oilers” written in blue lights above a manger scene in Houston years ago.  In our ‘active adult’ community, many homes still squeeze massive displays from former large properties onto these little postage size lots.  While it would be easy to write off all this as people who ‘just don’t get’ the real meaning of Christmas, I choose to view the lights as reminders of the amazing claims made in today’s reading.

Jesus was with God from the beginning, and He is God.  The life he brings is the light of man, and made flesh He is uniquely qualified to bring it into the world.  In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.  Later, in Jn 12:35-36, Jesus calls for us to believe so that we might be the children of light. “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.”

So, I will try to absorb some of the light from the holiday décor, taking it as a personal reminder to me that I must never miss an opportunity to be in the Presence.  I will take this offering of the “light of life” while I have it.



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An offering from Nancy: Light and Dark

November 11, 2012

In the beginning… God said, “Let there be light.” And so light appeared. God saw how good the light was. God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light Day and the darkness Night.

I’ve heard how trying these days are for those on the east coast who are without power, and my heart goes out to them! They are all eager to get back to having some control over their environment and restore the rhythms they were familiar with.

Our ancestors couldn’t have imagined how we have become accustomed to the availability of power on demand. But the fragility of our human-made environments is not-so-subtly accented by power outages, no matter what causes them.

Musing about how we create much of our own environments made me think how much electric lights have influenced my own sense of what a day is like. How different it must have been for anyone who lived before Thomas Edison gave us a way to light up the night without building a fire or lighting an oil lamp.

I remember long ago seeing a picture of Abraham Lincoln as a boy reading by the fireplace in that log cabin he lived in, and hearing from my teachers how we should admire that he chopped wood all day so that he could read at night. Now maybe the studious image or Abe was a bit romanticized, but it’s true that only three or four generations ago not just everyone could switch on a light on command. Much less a TV or computer or any of a myriad of electrical servants I have authority over.

Pre-Edison, the day was heralded by roosters and other animals who had a sense of the coming dawn. The sky that waited for sunrise was not taken for granted. Now, the shape of my days is different because light is accessible without having to wait for God’s movement of planets and suns. Once the clock radio tells me it’s time to begin my day, I just reach up and turn on my own indoor sun.

And so also my nights are different. Not so long ago, as nightfall approached, daytime busyness settled down considerably. Very few night meetings when wax or lamp oil resources were scarce. Evening entertainment usually meant someone had to go out in the dark. Some cities had oil lamps for some streets, but light in the nighttime wasn’t just everywhere. Mostly the streets were fearful places at night… still are in some parts. Wouldn’t moonlight have been valued differently than it is now?

Cloudless nights might have been glorious in a way most of the civilized world hardly knows today. The stars that I cannot see in my light polluted nights are still there of course. What would it be like to see them again without having to travel many miles for such a view?

What would it be like to applaud the sun rise each morning? What would it be like to sing the songs that go with the first rays of the sun, and the lighting of evening fires and lamps? In the beginning, the whole idea of days and nights belonged to God. Nowadays, in our own ways, we get to join in making the light and the dark, but that is a gift so easily taken for granted. Control of our environment and comfort is part of what helps us survive, but a gift nonetheless. I, for one, don’t want to lose the sense of wonder and gratitude for the rhythms of days and nights that are even more marvelous than electricity on command.




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An offering from Evelyn: Transitions

October 7, 2012

Retirement was like experiencing a death of someone who was extremely close to me.  I was not prepared for the grief process that was to follow.  I thought I had prepared for retirement, but I was wrong.  Finding God in the midst of the loneliness, loss of purpose, and the familiarity of routine became my deepest journey.

Why was this journey such a surprise?

With reflection I think that God had something he wanted me to learn as I searched for God’s light in the midst of the darkness that engulfed me. Like the other transitions of my almost seven- decade- life, this one involved the struggle of resistance and surrender.

My visual image of struggle is the flicker of a candle.  As the flame dances from side to side, I picture the bouncing back and forth of my own willingness and willfulness.  My ego does not want to give up what control it so arrogantly thought it had.

This transition contained other elements left over from previous ones.  Left-over losses combined with the loss of “work” to form the perfect storm.  Again, I asked, “Why, Lord.  Why me?  Why now?” God’s answer is still evolving.  The clarity that has resulted is healing old life to new.

The specifics are still unfolding as my journey continues. But I see God’s light at the end of the tunnel.
When I am aware, I find God’s light in feeling quiet, gentle breezes, conversing with friends, reading God’s Word.  God’s light is in the flicker of the candle symbolizing conflict of surrender and resistance.
God’s light is also the glow of hope at the end of the fog tunnel.  God is in it all.  God’s light whether a flicker, a glow or a bright noon sun sustains, heals and transforms. Perhaps the joy of transitions is the reality that God is with me.

Jeremiah 33:3 NRS
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.



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