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

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 »

The Lake and the Zoo

Travelling at break-neck speed on the Autobahn, I was deep in thought as the beautiful farmland blurred by. The lush countryside and gentle rolling farmland reminded me of Lancaster County. I felt very much at home. As we exited the highway, a deeper beauty unfolded like a painted canvas as we entered the lush farmland framed with treelined fencerows. Hidden from the Autobahn, small farming villages, with picturesque quaint Germanic homes, dotted the countryside. It was like paging through a picture book of meticulously placed, air-brushed photos which passed by my window. The beauty was stunning. Despite the beauty, I Read More »

The Enemy Within

Spring is here! With the glory of spring comes the territorial posturing of birds as romance unfolds and ambitious nesting plans follow. Recently as I went to my vehicle, dirt, grime, and bird droppings greeted me–covering the mirror and expanding across the entire window–and dutifully dripping down the entire door panel. Muddied wing marks were plastered over these areas as this bird forthrightly engaged this intruder and vehemently confronted the threat. Obviously a lot of energy, anxiety and passion was exerted by this bird against the belligerent foe it faced in the mirror. The next day, I parked in the Read More »

The Parking Lot and the Wind

I grimaced and leaned in against the cold February wind, hurriedly sprinting across the parking lot as I sought the comfort of my vehicle. The west wind was stiff and relentless. However, my dreamy ambition was solidly interrupted. I found myself invited into a parking lot conversation. I zipped up my coat and hunkered down amidst the unfolding conversation. I attempted to focus on the dialogue as the wind mercilessly bit through my clothing. I looked longingly at my vehicle, mere feet from where I stood. I began imagining its temperature controlled comfort and heated seat, all of which awaited Read More »