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Cheryl Davis

The Best Partnership Ever -- Posted July 15, 2015
2015.07.16 03:37:24

I retired on May 3rd. It had been a long run: for 33 years I taught piano and music. For 33 years my life was divided into time slots that accommodated both private and group lessons. Students came to my studio early in the morning and late into the evening. Some were very young; others had recently retired. They brought their lives with them to their lessons, their learning styles, their inner motivation (or lack of), and their hearts. Together we created music while we learned to work together as a team. Sometimes a solid partnership formed and sometimes, well, not so much!


When I was a young teacher, I believed that I could make everyone want to learn. Every single student would excel if I just said the right things, smiled enough, provided the right incentives, and gave enough praise. Somewhere along the line I realized that there were students who had no desire to learn, and there was nothing I could do to change that. I couldn’t force them. I couldn’t rearrange their lives at home to make room for practice. I couldn’t fulfill their end of our partnership. I could offer, but they were the ones who had to receive.


Of course, most students wanted to learn, and it was an absolute joy to see their musical growth. I’d provide the music, the instruction and the incentive. They’d go home and do the hard work, finding their own inner motivation and discovering that hard work brings success. They’d learn to express their hearts through music, and then they’d touch others’ hearts with beauty. It was a wonderful adventure to share with them.


I wonder what this can teach us about our partnership with the Lord. Are we students who’d rather not be there? Or are we on an adventure to learn and grow with the best Teacher ever? It’s a question worth asking ourselves periodically—not as a way to navel gaze but rather as a way to deepen our commitment to the One who has so much to teach us and longs for us to learn.


Sharing the adventure with you,


Cheryl Davis


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Precious Jewels
2015.07.16 02:45:42

We finally hit it off. I’m not sure why it didn’t happen sooner, except, perhaps, that Horace bonded with her first. She chose him early on and would run right past me to be swooped up in his arms. They’d play games and drink tea together. She even wore a T-shirt that read, “Grandpa’s girl.” If I showed up without him, she’d want to know why and then walk away in disappointment. However, during my last stay with my son’s family, Thea and I finally became friends.


It happened like this. I leaned over to kiss her goodnight. As I brushed the hair out of her eyes, I said, “You’re a jewel.”


“What’s a jewel?”


“It’s something beautiful. It’s a treasure. It sparkles. It’s usually worth a lot like the diamonds in wedding rings. If you’re a jewel, you’re precious.”


“What’s precious?”


“Precious is something very dear. Something that’s loved a lot. Something that we hold close. If I tell you you’re precious, it means that I love you. It means you’re important to me, and you always will be.” I paused and then said, “You’re a jewel, Thea, and you’re precious.”


She smiled and was quiet for a few seconds. Then she said, “Guess what, Grandma? You’re a jewel. That means you’re precious.” I was surprised and warmed by her response. We grinned at each other and bonded for life.


It feels great to know you’re precious to someone. My conversation with Thea reminded me of God’s words to God’s people through the prophet Isaiah:


“For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you (Isaiah 43:3-4).

The Hebrew word that is translated as “precious” also means, “to be valued, rare, esteemed, honored.” Wow! Can you get your mind around that? Can you believe that God is saying it to you? It’s true! Allow it to permeate all the nooks and crannies of your heart. Maybe you’ll find yourself responding to God as Thea responded to me. When you do, you’ll realize that you are lovingly bonded to the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…..forever.


Savoring this truth,


Vicar Cheryl


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The Mark of a Christian in a Broken World -- Posted July 15, 2015
2015.07.16 02:38:08

The Trestle Trail shootings have brought me back to one of the most important reasons I’m a Christian. It’s expressed clearly by Elton Trueblood: “For the Christian, there’s something deeper than the tears.” That “something deeper” holds us steady when all of life is spinning out of control. It gives us hope when we have every reason to despair. It keeps its promise when every human promise has been broken. It lifts our head when we have no strength to lift it on our own. It looks tragedy and broken dreams in the face and says to them, “You are not the winner. Just wait. God will bring something good out of this yet.” (Romans 8:28)

Today is Pentecost Sunday. Today we remember that the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son to the believers in Jerusalem who could not imagine what would happen next. Jesus had recently returned to his Father. He’d said that they would not be orphans; he would send them another Counselor to be with them forever.

The Spirit-Counselor would go deeply into their beings and live with them there. It would light a fire in their hearts. It would hold them steady when life was not steady. It would give them hope when they could not hope on their own. The Spirit would give them direction, comfort them in grief, and give them holy joy in the darkest nights.

And so they waited…for something deeper than their sense of loss at Jesus’ departure, for something deeper than their fear and uncertainty. And the Spirit came—in a rush of wind and fire--and made them new. It gave them the power to live out Jesus’ commands and to spread his gospel to the ends of the earth. It gave them the power to live in unity with one another. It gave them power to remain strong in the faith.

That same Spirit empowers us today, no matter the circumstance, no matter the pain of life in a broken world. Even when our pain goes all the way to the depths of our being, the Holy Spirit goes deeper. The Spirit enables us to hope in God’s faithfulness even when the world expects us to despair.

This is the mark of a Christian in our world today. Thanks be to God.

Vicar Cheryl


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The Crow Revisited -- Posted July 15, 2015
2015.07.16 02:36:13

In order for this blog to make sense, read the blog right below it.  It was written first and this blog is the second in a series.

Last week I wrote to you about the crow that had taken over our backyard. I likened it to evil because it had scared away the wildlife that brought goodness and joy into our lives. If you remember, I told you that Horace had smacked a couple boards together and scared the crow away. At the time of my writing, the crow had not come back and our yard was once again teeming with songbirds, squirrels, and a rabbit or two.


Well, the crow came back. But since we’d evicted it once, we were determined to keep it away forever. So now, every time we see it floating over our yard or resting on the neighbor’s fence, we rush into the yard with boards and start beating them against each other. It flies away for a couple more days. We’ve realized that we have to be vigilant. Perhaps if we’re consistent, the crow will get the message and never come back.


This has been a powerful illustration to me of the Bible verse from 1 Peter 5:8: “Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.” How might victory over this kind of evil play out in our everyday lives?


Well, let’s say that you’ve got a habit that really brings you or others down. For instance, you judge others and want them to live up to your expectations. You decide to evict this “crow” from your life, and so you ask the Holy Spirit to give you the power to do so. You have a day of freedom….and then, you find yourself face to face with your own personal “crow” again. This is not the time to give up or give in. It’s time to call on the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to choose different behavior as often as is necessary.


Be disciplined. Be alert. Beat the boards together. They will sound the triumph to evil: “Jesus died and rose again so that we can be free from sin and death. Jesus gives us the freedom to be free. We live in step with the Spirit and not with evil. Hallelujah and Amen!”


Fighting the “crows” with you,


Vicar Cheryl Davis


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We Can Cling to This Truth -- Posted July 15, 2015
2015.07.16 02:33:28

This column was written a few days after the Trestle Trail shootings in our area in which three people plus the killer died and another was seriously wounded.

The crow is gone. It wasn’t as hard to get rid of it as we’d thought it would be. Following the advice of a stranger, Horace took two cutting boards from the kitchen into the backyard. He smacked them together good and loud. The crow flew away and hasn’t come back.

But wait, let me explain. This spring a glistening crow decided to take over our yard. Each morning we’d look out the window to see the big, black bird dominating our lovely space that had been teeming with life before. Now, all of the songbirds and animals had disappeared—except for the squirrels. They remained, but only navigated along the fences so that they could make quick escapes. The crow’s presence had taken out what was good, leaving fear in its place.

The crow reminds me of evil. Evil never promotes life or wellbeing. It replaces joy and trust with fear. Habits and addictions form that are almost impossible to overcome. Misunderstandings occur and fester. Relationships fracture. Violence explodes. Hope slips away. Isolation results.

This week in the Fox Valley we have seen evil up close. We have experienced it in “full bloom,” and we are shocked and in grief. How could this have happened here in our beautiful backyard? More importantly, how will we—as believers in Christ—continue to live as people of the resurrection when evil threatens to extinguish our hope?

First of all, we will stand firm in the knowledge that the crow does not have the last word, and neither does sin. Jesus triumphs. His death and resurrection pronounce the resounding clap of thunder against the devastation of evil.

In the midst of all that is wrong, Jesus gives us the power to hold to all that is right. In the midst of his crucifixion, Jesus cried, “Father, forgive them!” And in the quiet of Easter morning, Jesus spoke with love to the heartbroken Mary Magdalene. He was making everything new then, and he still is. He will make all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28). Life will flourish again. We can cling to this truth.

Vicar Cheryl


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Faith Stepping - Posted July 15, 2015
2015.07.16 02:28:48

Sometimes we have a pretty good idea where we’ll be a year from now, but sometimes, we have no idea at all. Right now, my husband and I are at the “no idea at all” place. We hope that I will have received and accepted a call to a parish, but we simply don’t know if that will happen and if it does, where it will be and how it will play out.

So the poem I wrote over a year ago is helpful to us now, and perhaps it can be helpful to you, too—as individuals and as a church body. As Christians, we are anchored in the trustworthy character of the One-who-Promises. We are on a sure path—even when uncertainty is all around us.

Stepping into nowhere

My foot over the edge of a cliff

“Do not fear”

“All is well”

“I will never leave you or forsake you”

“I know the future; it is good”


Well, then


There is no cliff

There is no step into nowhere

There is only

A step of strong assurance

A step into the Promise of God


This is good news! This is our assurance as we navigate every day of our lives within the care of our good and loving Father.


Faith-stepping with you,


Vicar Cheryl Davis


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Lookin' for Love... Posted July 15, 2015
2015.07.16 02:25:40

How long does it take to believe someone loves you?

Well, that depends.

On what?

On what has come before. If you’ve known loving acceptance, promises that were made and kept, respect for your privacy, comfort in your pain and celebration in your joy, you might easily believe that you’re worth loving.


But it might be harder to believe if you haven’t known acceptance, understanding, respect, comfort, or mutual joy. You might feel uncertain in relationships. You might have your guard up, misread cues, label things “love” that are destructive, and feel as if you can never get things right in relationships. You might be “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places” as the songwriter penned.


A question has plagued me concerning this for a long time, and I invite you to think about it with me. Is it difficult to receive God’s love if you’ve never been loved well or if you’ve been badly betrayed by those who claimed they loved you?


I’m not sure. Some inconclusive research has been done on this and no one can say for certain. But this one thing I know for sure: God knows how to open our hearts to God’s love. It starts in Baptism when God claims us as God’s own. The Holy Spirit actively works in us from then on, and with great wisdom, the Spirit leads us (often through the words and love of others) to a place of freedom and joy—that place where we know deep within that we are loved by Almighty God and redeemed by Jesus Christ.


This is such good news. This is the Gospel of our Lord. Thanks be to God when we feel lovable and especially when we don’t!


In God’s magnificent and all-wise love,


Vicar Cheryl Davis


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Beauty from Chaos: The Work of the Spirit
2015.07.16 02:23:27

Twelve years ago my backyard was an ugly, overgrown, weed-filled mess. Thistles were taller than I was. A rock wall was crumbling because of the weeds and varmints living there. Shooters from the neighbors lilac bushes were growing all over the lawn. The old cement patio had caved in and shifted. (In my own defense, I have to say that I kept the lawn mowed, but there were gardens on all sides of the backyard that I did not have time to tend.)


This sight was so discouraging to me that I seldom looked out the back windows, and I kept the blinds closed so that no one else would either.   I was ashamed that this mess belonged to me. I finally found the courage and money to call a landscape architect. She stood in dumbfounded silence as her eyes traveled from one side of the yard to the other.


“Well,” she said. More silence. “Well,” she continued. “There are certainly a lot of possibilities here.”


A week later she had created a new backyard for me on paper. I hired her company to pull out the mess and put in the beds. They worked hard and long for many days, and when they left the last day, my backyard was a work of art. I was awed by the curving lines of the beds and the beautiful ground covers. And then came a terrible, sinking feeling. Now what? The huge beds were empty. What should I do with them? I’m not a gardener!


Fortunately, I met Horace that fall. He’s a gardener. The following July he started to work in those gardens, and he’s been creating beauty in the backyard ever since.


As I write this, I’m gazing at the backyard through a large bay window. The Holy Spirit reminds me that this is a picture of what he desires to do in the life of each of his children. Bara is the Hebrew word to describe this. It means to create something new from chaos.


The Spirit comes to us—weeds and all—and begins the work of creation within us. We may hide entire backyards of shame from everyone’s view, but he sees. He knows. He enables us to open the door to his love, and then he begins his creative work in our hearts. It can be a ton of work for him and for us, but the results are beautiful! If you need a visual, come and check out our backyard. Really. It’s a miracle we love to share.


Trusting the Spirit with you—Vicar Cheryl            


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The Simple, Profound Truth July 15, 2015
2015.07.16 02:19:51

I looked up from the keyboard into the face of heavenly joy. The last time I’d seen this kind of joy, it had been on the face of a young and trusting child. But this time I was looking into the face of an elderly woman with dementia. She was smiling broadly. Her eyes were sparkling. It seemed that light was emanating from her face; in fact, she appeared to have a halo. I couldn’t look away from her. She was gazing directly at me, so I returned her smile, and we shared the beautiful moment. I’m not sure, but I think she gave me a glimpse into heaven and the joy we will experience there.

My fingers continued to float over the keys, playing the familiar song. She continued to sing joyfully, and although others were singing, too, this was her song, her moment of immersion in the love of Christ.

This woman and I had run into each other repeatedly during the first days of my summer chaplaincy internship at a long term care facility. I learned her name, and she started to recognize me. We saw each other so often that we laughed whenever it happened—just because it had happened again. And then it stopped happening. I didn’t know it then, but she had been moved from the general population into a specialized home for those with dementia. Of course, I was thrilled to see her again today, and she seemed to recognize me.

The song came to an end, but her glow continued.   “You really love that song, don’t you?” I said to her. She nodded her head vigorously, still smiling, still bathed in warmth and joy. I could tell that the song was the touchstone for her faith. It took her back to a time when she was a young and trusting child who received the love of Jesus with open hands. It had carried her through life, and now it was flowing from an old and trusting heart that had proven the song to be true. It tied her entire life together and pointed her to the magnificent future awaiting her.

The song? Oh, have I neglected to mention that? We were singing “Jesus Loves Me.”

Glad for the simple, profound truth,

Vicar Cheryl Davis

Tags: Jesus Loves Me | dementia | Cheryl Davis

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Restoring the Deleted
2015.05.28 04:22:02

Hi there!


If you've happened upon this blog and are hoping for something new...please come back in a few days.  Today the entire blog was completely deleted--accidentally, of course--and now I'm in the process of restoring it for you.  It's been fun to read the old blogs--although a bit tedious to copy and paste them all back into this format.  Thanks for your patience!




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Christmas Reflections
2015.05.28 04:18:09

December 24, 2014

It’s just the cat and me moving around here at the Davis house on this early, dark, Christmas Eve morning. The sounds of the house are comforting: clocks ticking; the coffee maker gurgling as it changes water and brown stuff into liquid gold; the furnace kicking in, and the washer swishing my clerical robe in preparation for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. It’s not the same peace the shepherds experienced on the hillside, but it’s peace, and it warms my heart.


I’d been warned that Advent and Christmas would be a whirlwind. The warning has proved valid, but I’ve found that it’s a good whirlwind—a time for focus and teamwork. HOW many different bulletins need to be prepared for the week of Christmas? Really? And tell me again why we’re working on them in November? Oh! So that the services get planned and things are ready when they need to be. I get it. Let’s go.


There are sermons and more sermons to write, Christmas programs to attend, events to enjoy. There’s a ton of planning, and sometimes I’ve wished it would be over so that I could breathe normally again. But this morning, sitting here in the quiet Davis house, anticipating the wonders of today and tomorrow, I just plain old feel blessed to be your intern this year. I’m learning so much about being a pastor. You have been a consistent encouragement to me as I try my wings and learn to fly. Thank you!


You know, sometimes life just feels right, and everything seems to be exactly as it should be for a particular point in time. I know what it feels like when it’s not this way, but today, I know what it feels like when it is. It feels like Christmas. It feels like God is here, that God has come to earth and into our personal lives to dwell with us forever.


Nothing could be better. Rejoice! Jesus has come for you, for me…for all of us. We are so blessed to be claimed and redeemed by him.


Surrounded with you by God’s blessings this season,

Vicar Cheryl Davis


Comments 19 | Hits: 722 |

Are You Ready to be a Shepherd?
2015.05.28 04:15:01

December 21, 2014

How many more days until Christmas? The kids know, and so do the adults. The kids are counting down the days in anticipation, and the parents are counting down their lists, checking off the things that are done and stressing over the things that aren’t. The excitement ramps up in the elementary classrooms, and the tension builds up in church offices where personnel are trying to keep all of the bulletins straight for the many Advent and Christmas services.


It’s truly a time of both expectation and preparation…and also exhaustion and frustration. So much is expected of us! We’re supposed to honor traditions and shop to find perfect gifts. We cook and bake, remember all of our friends with cards and letters, decorate the house and yard, go to parties, go to church, and at the same time, we try to express joy while cramming all of this into our already-crowded schedules.


Wouldn’t it be nice to be a shepherd instead? Shut your eyes and imagine it. You’re outside at night in the quiet, watching over animals that you know by name. While they sleep, you listen to the sounds of the night and count the stars. It’s incredibly peaceful. You look into the sky, wondering what lies beyond it, wondering if you’ll ever know.


And then, everything explodes into brightness, and the sky becomes as light as day. A heavenly creature and the glory of God surround you. You are seized with fear right before you are seized with wonder. Then the entire sky is filled with heavenly angels. They are singing about glory and peace. You have never seen or heard anything so beautiful. You can’t move. You can’t believe it’s real. You can’t wait to follow their instructions and go into Bethlehem to visit the Christ child who has been born to save you from your sins.


You and the other shepherds go quickly. You find the new parents, and you find the baby Jesus. You fall on your knees and worship. You can’t think of anything else to say or do. The Savior, the long-awaited Messiah, has been born. And you’ve been invited to his birthplace by heaven itself. Nothing will ever be the same again.


Are you ready to be a shepherd? To hurry to the manger with awe and wonder? Are you ready to find the Christ Child? If you are, you’ll discover that everything else slips into its rightful place when you fall on your knees and worship him.


Kneeling beside you there,

Vicar Cheryl Davis


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Old Saints and the Goodness of God
2015.05.28 04:08:59

November 30, 2014

Old saints. Contrary to medieval art, they don’t have glowing halos hovering above their heads. They don’t wear long robes. They aren’t in a constant prayer posture; in fact, they’re often bent over a bit. They walk with canes and walkers and ride in wheelchairs. They struggle to see and hear. They often depend on other people to help them through each day.

You wouldn’t know they’re saints just to listen to them because they don’t spout religiosity. But when someone says to them, “We serve a good God, don’t we?” they light up and reply, “Oh, we sure do. We sure do.” As their physical abilities fail, their spiritual certainties kick into high gear. And so does their gratitude.

“We are so grateful for all God has given us,” they say, reflecting on the past and looking into their future in heaven with Jesus and the saints who’ve gone before. They wait with expectation for what lies ahead.

This mindset—“heart-set”—didn’t happen overnight. They were children once, and their faith was probably young and fragile. Their lives did not unfold perfectly. Many experienced extreme hardship and tremendous loss. But through it all they discovered that Jesus kept his promise: he never left them or forsook them, and now they rest in the knowledge that he never will.

Old saints show us how God works. God starts as small as a seed within the cold earth or a tiny baby within a woman. He grows that beginning into something beautiful. He uses the hardships of life to create strength and endurance. And as the end nears, he brings the beauty of faith to full-bloom.

Advent begins today: we wait anew for God to fulfill God’s plans. The old saints among us have learned to wait with confidence. They know that God is good.

Vicar Cheryl Davis







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Our Weakness, God's Strength
2015.05.28 04:06:29

 November 23, 2014

“I use my morning drive to the health club to talk to God,” she said. “The morning of the first snowfall, I prayed that I would have patience with the way everyone would be driving because of the snow. Well, my trip there was fine, but on the way back, my patience was tried to the limit.”

Isn’t that just like God? We pray for something, and then he gives us a chance to put his strength to work. We pray for patience, and we discover that we don’t have any on our own: we have to rely on him. We pray for more faith, and a situation occurs that brings doubt and questioning. We have to ask God for clarity and strength. When we look back, we realize that our faith grew amidst the difficulty.

Today is the last Sunday of the church year. We call it “Christ the King Sunday.” We are reminded that Christ is glorious and powerful. We are also reminded that Christ comes to us in the weakness of others: the naked, the hungry, the imprisoned and the unlovely.

Christ even comes to us in our own weakness and ugliness. When we have lost our temper with our loved ones, when we have behaved with childlike impudence, when we have doubted God’s provision and neglected the needs of others…well, Christ still comes to us and offers us himself.

“Here I am,” he says. “Take my body and my blood. Receive my forgiveness. Receive my strength, patience, faith, and compassion. And after you’ve received me, you’ll be able to give me to others.”

Receiving Christ with all of you,

Vicar Cheryl Davis



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Sparrows and Still Points
2015.05.28 04:04:17

November 16, 2014

Encouragement came in an envelope this week: a thoughtfully written note tucked within a beautiful card. Sunflowers and a sparrow adorned the front of the card, and their images jettisoned me back to one of the “still points” in my life.

It was at least 25 years ago. My kids were teenagers, and I was on overload. The clothes dryer had died, so I’d lugged the wet clothes to the laundromat at 6:00 am to get the job done before the day crashed in on me.

I sat in my car while the clothes were drying, opened the windows to the early morning breeze and tried to have devotions. I couldn’t focus. When was life going to get easier? When would I be able to relax? When could I let go of the anxiety associated with each and every day?

Just then a sparrow landed on the fence in front of my car. It was so close that I could see the amazing detail in its feathers. It hopped around there long enough for the Holy Spirit to speak gentle thoughts to my heart:

“Do you see that sparrow, Cheryl? It’s one of the most common,  non-extraordinary birds I’ve created, but look at it. Just look at it! It’s amazing in its detail and capabilities. Not one feather is out of place. It’s perfectly suited to its environment. Truly, it’s an unsung wonder.

Now, my dear, if I can create something like this—and someone like you—don’t you think that I’m wise enough and strong enough to bring calm to your heart and get you through this day?”

I observed the bird a while longer. Peace settled in. The Creator of the sparrow had spoken to my deepest need. God was still in control of the big picture as well as the details. He still knew what was best for all creation, and that included what was best for me. I could enter my day trusting him…and so can you.

Confident of this,

Vicar Cheryl Davis


Comments 13 | Hits: 593 |

2015.05.28 04:00:47

November 9, 2014

I write these columns early in the morning. In the summer, the breeze wafts through the windows, the sun shines on my efforts, and the birds sing along. The beauty of nature soaks into my being as I sip my coffee.   The words flow easily.

It’s different today. This morning it’s pitch black outside. There are raindrops on the windows. The furnace is pumping out heat. I’ve got my warm slippers and sweatshirt on. Things have changed. We’re in a new season. It’s November.

I think of November as the “time before”—a waiting time that seems empty. Yes, Thanksgiving and deer hunting come at the end of the month, but before that we face increasing darkness, the leafless trees, the first snowfalls, and the realization that a winter of unknown proportions is right around the corner. We hunker down, change our mindset, start to complain, and try to predict the severity of what’s to come. We toughen up on the inside. And we wait.

Some say that waiting is the toughest of all spiritual disciplines. Waiting tries our souls: we wonder when and how God will answer our prayers. Perhaps we wonder if he has heard us at all. Sometimes we cry out, “O Lord, how long?” But within that “November” time, God’s Spirit draws near to remind us that God is good and has our best interests at heart.

And so, we can wait with expectation, hope and courage. We can expect God to act. God will make things clear. We will know what to do when the time is right. God will answer our prayers in the best ways possible. We will again be amazed by God’s marvelous goodness.


Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27:14.


Waiting, expecting, hoping,


 Vicar Cheryl Davis


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Waiting for that Day
2015.05.28 03:58:14

November 2, 2014

For some reason, I remember that the sun was shining and the birds were singing that morning—a strange memory to hold onto for 53 years, except for the fact that it was my first experience with death.


I was seven years old and already a creature of habit: I awoke and looked for Mom. She was in the kitchen preparing breakfast. That was normal. But this morning she was crying. That was not normal. She stopped what she was doing to tell me that Melody’s mom had died.


Melody was one of my best friends. Her father was a pastor in our small town. Melody’s mom had been sick a long time with something they called cancer. No one talked much about cancer back then, so I don’t think I realized that her mom was going to die from it.


I went to one of my favorite spots in the house and thought about it. There was a window in that room that was translucent. The sunshine came in, but I couldn’t see out. Because of that, my hearing sharpened to what was outside, and that’s when I heard the birds singing. I remember thinking how strange it was that my mom could cry and the birds could sing at the same time. Even at my young age, it didn’t seem right that death and beauty were so closely entwined.


Today is All Saints Day, and we feel that same incongruity. With love and tears we remember those who have left this world to join the Church Triumphant in the next life. We miss them so much! At the same time, we know that now they are full of life and love and peace, and we can’t wish them back.


And so, we “see through the glass darkly,” as St. Paul said. And we wait. We wait for our grief to pass. We wait for our lives to feel normal again. We wait for the day when we, too, will enter the Church Triumphant and will once again see our loved ones face to face.


God’s peace to you,

Vicar Cheryl Davis


Comments 42 | Hits: 699 |

2015.05.28 03:55:34

October 19, 2014

The envelope came in the mail on Wednesday. I hastily ripped it open with grandma-style urgency and pulled out the pictures. There he was: two-year-old Henry, blonde and blue-eyed with a beautiful smile on his face. His hands were plunged into his little jean pockets, and he looked like a miniature teenager. My heart melted.


Henry and his parents—along with nine of his cousins, two aunts, two uncles and two grandparents—lived for a week this past summer as one family in a large house on a lake. On the second day of our stay, his mom threw a big party for his dad who had just completed his surgical residency in Boston.


The house and porch were filled with people. Henry must have felt lost in the forest of legs. He couldn’t find his mom, but he didn’t dissolve into tears. Instead, he called out “MaMA!” accenting the second syllable. His mother would run to him and pick him up, or another caring adult would rescue him from the leg forest and transfer him to his mother or father’s arms.


We laughed about Henry’s “French accent” and his repeated cries, but now I realize that he was smarter than a lot of us adults when we feel lost. We often scramble over several rocky paths in our own particular forests. We get frustrated and anxious, lose sleep, kick the dog, and crab at those we love the most. We furrow our brows, sigh deeply, eat or drink too much, and complain. Sometimes we shut down or move into despair.


But all we really need to do is call out, “Jesus!” Whether we use a French, Spanish, or Wisconsin accent, Jesus is tuned in to our cries. He responds at once. He picks us up and carries us out of our dark, confusing forests and into the safety of his light.


Praising God for this,

Vicar Cheryl Davis


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It Had to Be You
2015.05.28 03:52:23

I’m the crazy lady in the greeting card aisle. You know what I mean: the person who tries out every card that makes music or noise. I laugh as I reach for one card after another.   It may seem to onlookers that I have nothing better to do, but that’s absolutely untrue. I never have time to do this, but once I start, I can’t stop.


I had a great time in the card aisle in August right before our tenth wedding anniversary. The card I loved the most had a “pull me” ribbon on the right side. As I pulled the ribbon, the card stretched into an elongated tropical beach, and Frank Sinatra started to sing “It had to be you, it had to be you...”


I wanted to buy it for Horace but decided that it was too expensive; I’d tell him about it instead. But I didn’t need to tell him because the card he gave me had a “pull me” ribbon on the right side. It turned into an elongated tropical beach, and Frank Sinatra started to sing. We laughed about it for awhile and then put it on the fireplace mantel.


For days it sat there, a gentle reminder of our déjà vu. And then one morning at 7:01 when I was spending quiet time with the Lord, Frank Sinatra started up: It had to be you… He jolted me out of my reverie. I chuckled because I suspected it was God’s humorous way of reassuring me that he had chosen me to be his own.


Since then, the card sings to me almost every morning when I’m having my quiet time. It always surprises me. It always splashes the refreshing water of love over me. It always reminds me that God comes to each of us in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected moments just to remind us that he has intentionally claimed us as his very own.



Vicar Cheryl Davis




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Reflections and Remembering
2015.05.28 03:44:31

September 17, 2014

Joyful thoughts have been on my mind this week as I’ve reveled in the burgeoning beauty everywhere—the bright blue skies, balmy air, brilliant trees, golden corn fields and country landscapes that take my breath away.

But there have been other thoughts, too. This fall is just like the fall when my mom died.   The air smells the same, and the sun feels the same on my skin. It transports me back to those days in September 1986 when Mom fought her last battle on earth and entered into the glorious, joyful presence of God.

Mom had brain cancer and was in a coma her last few days. We sat vigil by her bedside. Her favorite hymns were playing. They unlocked our tears and turned us toward God. They reminded us that God was with us in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

For three days the wind howled. Thunder and lightning split the skies, and the rain pounded the roof. In the middle of the third night, Mom breathed her last breath and the rain stopped. The next morning the sun shone in all its brilliance. The air was clean and new. The sky was sapphire blue, and the leaves of the trees had somehow survived the storm and were resplendent in shades of gold and orange.

My three little children and I walked down to the lake. We talked about Grandma and heaven. When we sat down to eat lunch, my nine-year-old daughter said, “I wonder what Grandma’s having for lunch today.” We laughed and made some wild guesses and felt the comforting arms of God around us. Twenty-eight years later I am still warmed by this memory.

These are my thoughts this autumn. I wanted to share them with you.


Vicar Cheryl


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