Breezes--Pastor Brian Martin's Blog

"The wind blows where it wishes, you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8

I Thirst

          “I thirst” Spoken by Christ from the cross, these two words capture the horror of the cross and its ability to inflict unfathomable suffering. These two words also disclose a deep geographical context. While in seminary, I recall numerous profs tirelessly emphasizing the critical need for context whenever opening the Scriptures. One example of context is water. Given the many references, uses, and metaphors concerning water throughout the Canon, much geographical context is revealed. In the beginning, a river is introduced in Genesis 2. His river watered the Garden of Eden. Water also bookends the Read More »

Rediscovering Manna amid our Wilderness

“What is it?”  “WHAT IS IT?” “What is this strange white stuff glistening in the morning sunlight?” These were the words, repeated by some three million Israelites, as they stood at the door of their tents, staring with wonder across the wilderness plain as the morning dawn greeted them. Their world, perhaps like it is for many of us these days, was turned upside down in the prior weeks. Life as they knew it was forever changed. The norms and rhythms of everyday living were set aside. Life now was totally disorienting, disturbing, and filled with anxiety. Now, free from Read More »

A Necessary Word when Our World is Turned Upside-Down

For all of us, our world has been turned upside-down. The ugly and silent reach of COVID-19 has touched the corners of the globe. The virus’ fallout has been disorienting; its impact is disconcerting and surreal. Living in this new reality is like attempting to create a pathway on shifting sand. Not only is walking steadily a challenge, but a simple or before-assumed task is questionable or quickly deemed impossible. We find ourselves needing to answer questions that that were never asked before. By days end, fatigue and deep exhaustion, like never known or experienced before, settles in. At every Read More »

Pruning hurts

As a young boy growing up on a small farm south of New Holland, I fondly remember, two rather large grapevines which graced our property. The one vine was trellised on a large fourteen-foot square overhead arbor, strategically placed between the summer kitchen and the outhouse. Over summer, its leaves provided a beautiful canopy of shade to walk under where fresh vegetables were often placed out of the sun. The vine branches, which filled the arbor canopy produced green grapes. The other vine grew on a trellis located next to the walk which snaked some thirty feet from our back Read More »

Innocence and the Wind

The December sky was gray and overcast. A stiff northwest wind stung my face as I walked, forcing me to lean forward. Its relentless bite challenged me to increase my pace. Earlier this summer, I rediscovered the simple joy and physical refreshment offered by a fast-paced forty-two-minute, three-mile trek which I practiced throughout my ten-week sabbatical. Now post-sabbatical, I try hard to incorporate this discipline in my daily life. As a creature of habit, I find myself walking the same route. The road is predictably quiet with exception of an occasional car, bicycle, or buggy. The scenery surrounding me captures Read More »

The Scales

I rolled my eyes, frustrated, exhaling deeply as a grumble rolled off my lips. The scale on which I stood smirked back at me. I sensed a hint of smugness rising from the scales as if it enjoyed revealing its discovery. I stepped off the scale to doublecheck the zero setting. Surely, the zero setting must have changed. Not only was the scale zeroed out, the setting proved to be a bit generous in my favor—slightly less than zero. Seriously? Give me a break! I looked again at the scales. Deep suspicion swirled within me as if staring in the Read More »

Do You See Anything? Reflections with MDS in Pine Ridge, South Dakota

I was unable to shake the quotes staring back at me in icy silence. Various quotes, printed on white copy paper, were haphazardly tacked onto the unpainted walls of the unfinished house which temporarily served as the MDS dining hall. Each quote jolted its reader reminding the context in which they were volunteering. The MDS kitchen and lodge trailers were stationed on the 2.8 million acres which comprised the Pine Ridge Reservation. This open prairie was home to some thirty-eight thousand residents of the Oglala Lakota tribe of the Sioux Nation. Oglala Lakota County residents have a life expectancy of Read More »

Two Words

The halfway point of my ten-week sabbatical is now behind me. I find the pace of time incredibly difficult to fathom. Though the past five weeks have been filled with much activity, inactivity also offsets busyness and provides delightful open spaces of absolute nothingness. Even with deliberate steps to totally disconnect from ministry, it took about three weeks until I found myself unhooking in mind and thought. Since then, I have been able to find deep rest in mind and spirit. I find myself enjoying daily exercise, walking or biking, striving to achieve my goal in weight loss. Much to Read More »