Awakening a Keen Observer

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hand after hand

In Chennai India not far from the beach that was swamped when the Tsunami hit stands one of the churches that was begin at the time the apostle Thomas was in India and spread the Good news of Jesus.
It is now a Catholic church and very beautiful inside by it's age and simplicity. There are religious statues along windows and in small gratto's with candles before them. You approach something that looks like an altar except there are steps down into the basement, where encased in glass are proposed to be the bones, some of the bones, of St. Thomas. The disciple who wanted to see Jesus' wounds to believe. And who declared his faith as others have since there..."My Lord and My God."

We were an ecumenical group there for the International Rural Church meeting. Off to the right was a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary. Standing at her feet was a woman, clothed in a bright though very simple sari, with her hand on the foot of Mary in tears. No she wasn't in tears she was weeping she was sobbing, visibly. From where we stood you could see her shoulders heaving in her pain. The name of that pain I never knew.
One of the men in the group loudly condemned her for praying to Mary. I suggested if he had trouble with it perhaps he would be more comfortable in the garden. (Later I noted the garden had another statue of Mary.) He did leave.
From a distance i watched this woman, her life no doubt different from mine, and I also began to cry with her and for her. Whatever was her pain perhaps my crying and tears would take some of her pain. Ok, that wouldn't just happen but it was a moving experience. I don't know how long she stood there or where she went from there or what happened to her life or whatever the situation was that brought her such pain..... but I've carried that image of her with me ever since.
After she left I approached the statue. The simpleness of it was even more beautiful than I had seen before. But look there, the foot, the toes of Mary's extended foot are worn away. Worn away from hand after hand after hand after hand after hand that has been placed there in prayer in fullest belief and faithfulness.
I seemed in my faith to fall short of hers.


God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Rev. Dr. Bobbie G. McGarey

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Great Blue

"Great Blue Herons are non-migratory and are present in all over
Oklahoma. They will bark like a dog when startled and can be seen
stalking small fish in shallow water."

Do you know the bird the Great Blue Heron? OHHHH
it has to be one of my very favorites and has lived everywhere in the
US that I've lived- Ohio, Arizona, Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah,
Florida. They are stately birds that around here can be seen very often
in farm ponds wading along the side or sitting statue-still watching.
They have long legs and to see them take off or land is an amazing

Two days in a row as I've driven from home to work I've
seen a Great Blue crossing the road. Yesterday it was flying parallel
to the road and crossed but today it was come from north to south with
it's gentle graceful powerful wing stroke. It went over my car,(yeah
for the sun roof) but then on the road ahead was the shadow that
crossed. It was awesome.

My Daddy, Dr. Maurice Giltz was an ornithologist and so I grew up observing
birds. At Ohio State, my ornithology (bird study) professor was Dr.
Carl Reese. He and my father were dear friends. Dr. Reese was a gentle
man who oversaw my Senior project and encouraged me along the way both
personally and academically.

So, when I see the Great Blue
Heron and marvel at it's gracefulness I wonder what image in the world
will trigger a positive memory of me? Or what will be the image that
will trigger a positive memory of you?

Watch for the Great Blue.
Here's a link if you want to see some pictures.

God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Rev.Dr. Bobbie G. McGarey

Friday, March 21, 2008

Flowers Good Friday

On the corner of my desk is a vase, square with some pebbles in the bottom. I have three jonquils and three hyacinths. The hyacinths were hiding just outside my office window in the left over cannas stalks. Their pink potent fragrance is great.

This is Holy Friday, Good Friday for Christians. We mark the day that
Jesus went to the cross. I believe he 'went' to the cross and that he
wasn't just taken. I believe that Jesus in his 'Godness' understood all that was ahead and that also meant the joy of Easter.

This is Good News. Others have asked me how can the day he died be
Good-- because even that which is feared by so many - death - is in
God's hands. "In life and in death we belong to God" so reads the Brief
Statement of Faith,PCUSA. I believe this fully. Take a deep breath --- again--

That breath is the Spirit of God in you--right now. And that Breath
tells you that you are alive and that this is your day to be who you
were truly created to be.
So, even on Good Friday we know that 'nothing in all of creation can separate us from the Love of God.' Romans 8
Good Friday
God Abide with You

Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Rev. Dr. Bobbie G. McGarey

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Thursday

Grace and Peace
I was driving to the church this morning and
noticed a bunch of roses in the ditch along the side of the road. I
looked up and realized that they had probably come from thecemetery near them. But they looked really pretty. They weren't "real". They were way out of place there beside the road.

The beauty of the roses that I enjoyed continued even though I knew
they weren't real. But they evoked in me memories of beautiful roses
I've seen in the past.
Columbus Ohio has a beautiful Garden of
Roses. It has been several years since I was there last but the roses
were spectacular. The varied colors, the shape of the flowers, the
wonderful smell are all part of what I remembered when I saw the roses
on the road.
Beauty is in the seeing and in the remembering and
in the sharing. I wished for someone else to see them. Alas, I will
just have to share the image with you.
Beauty is in the living of our lives with the love of God enfolding us.
Beauty is in the hope we have that we can out of thankfulness make a difference in the world.
Beauty is in the simple as much as in the complex.

God bless you with beauty these days.
God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Rev. Dr. Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Life

The calves are out in the fields and having such a good time. Yesterday on the way home from Dallas I looked in a field and saw a beautiful horse, pale in color, and it's colt being the very essence of Frisky. It was jumping around and looked like it felt good to do that. What fun. What a beautiful image. If you wanted an image of play... there it was.
One time on MASH Father McCahey walked through a party saying, Jocularity, Jocularity. We need someone to remind us play is an option. We can work and still have fun.

We don't often play well do we? I mean this world says that we should be serious and that we should look to all the things that we have to accomplish or...well for sure the whole world will collapse without charge.
In charge? In charge? Ha! There's no time for play.

We are so not in charge and for the most part that is Ok by me. If we were imagine what a world this would be? Wait, what is the world right now. Doesn't seem to be doing so great without us in charge...maybe WE should take charge? Oh my!
But then again we seem to enjoy judging what other people are doing. Can they dance? Can they cook? Can they model? Can they work in a business? Why are these so popular?
Perhaps because it is not US under judgment.

We'd rather go frolic like the colt in the meadow or the calves in the field.
We are so not in charge of everything... surprise

God Abide
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Rev, Dr. Bobbie G. McGarey

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Language of Love

Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan:
And the language of love, which is, in our human experience, a curious combination of spontaneity and convention. There just aren't terribly many ways to say "I love you" besides saying "I love you." We're recording this in the state of Minnesota, in which the old story is of the Norwegian who loved his wife so much he almost told her. And so in one sense, it's a very conventional, repetitive, rote thing to do, to say "I love you." "You are the one I love. There is no one else I love." There aren't very many permutations.
And on the other hand, the language of love is spontaneous. You can't repress it. It comes time to say it, darn it, you say it and take the consequences. And that's how it is, how God's love is expressed both spontaneously by God and conventionally by God. God also says, "I love you," and in a very conventional way, and in turn, our love to God, which is always a response to a love that started with Him and ends in Him, our response to that love is the service of one another and of humanity but also an act of adoration.

On a radio program called "Speaking of Faith" they interviewed Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan. Somewhere in a seminary education we all read Pelikan, one of his many tomes. This conversation with him was a wonderful reminder of what a great theological brain produces in writing and speech. You can listen to it online if you want.
There is also a transcript of the full discussion.
Today however wanted you to have a chance to read these words he spoke. About love ...and Creeds and how we have a Need for Creeds to state who we are and what we believe and that the Creeds of the Christian church are written in a certain time and place and reflect that individuality.
God says to you every day... I love you.
Remember that and hear that... and live into that freedom.

God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Rev. Dr. Bobbie McGarey

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


This sweet gentleman in a church in SW Oklahoma always had peppermints for everyone at church. Two days ago I ran across an article called Peppermint Christians.

Critics have called the peppermint a kind of "opium" that permits the congregation to settle back and allow the most fiery sermon to wash over them without the least bit of damage. But that accusation has been dismissed by several theologians of high repute. The latter have pointed out that the Israelites of old used to tithe mint as part of their religious obligations, providing therewith the Old Testament foundation for the New Testament eating of mint. The Pharisees were, of course, condemned for relying on this tithing of mint to the exclusion of seeking judgment (not to be confused with "judgemint"), mercy, and faith. But peppermints have never been idolized that way in the Reformed tradition, say such doctrinal stalwarts as Berkhof and Bonnhoffer.

Another part of the article said that a sermon should only last as long as a pappermint.
But the most interesting part echoed what I read the other day that the smell of peppermints would clear your mind and help you focus. My cousin Gail and I used to love peppermint patties. I would leave some for her in her dorm room when I went by. I still guess that part of why I like them is that the flavor and taste remind me of another time.
So, I guess I'd best put some on my desk to share with others. Mmmm come and get one or buy some for yourselves to share.

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey

Monday, March 03, 2008


Lyrics. Sing along if you know it.

From the movie "Leap of Faith"
(Art Reynolds / Bunny Hull)

Recorded by: Patti LaBelle; Gary Puckett.

Are you ready for a miracle
As ready as I can be)
Are you ready for a miracle
The spirit will set you free
Are you ready, ready, ready, ready
I'm ready, I'm ready for a miracle

Jesus went unto the well
and made the water wine
Raised up Lazarus from the dead
Restored sight to the blind
Jesus man of Galilee
He walked across the sea
He said Greater than this shall you do
Gave the power to you and me

Are you ready for a miracle
As ready as I can be
Are you ready for a miracle
The spirit will set you free
Are you ready, ready, ready, ready
I'm ready, I'm ready for a miracle

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle," said Albert Einstein.

So lets look for miracles around us, write them down when you see them. Share them with a friend. What a joy it will be to a world so in need of Good NEWS. See there.. Go get it... write it down.... share with a friend. Call out for a miracle for a friend in need. The world in need.
Go for it. Believe

God abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey