Category Archives: Uncategorized

God’s Word

Henri Nouwen writes, “the Word of God is always sacramental. In the book of Genesis we are told that God created the world, but in Hebrew the words for ‘speaking’ and for ‘creating’ are the same word. Literally translated it means ‘God spoke light and light was.’ For God, speaking is creating. When we say that God’s word is sacred, we are saying God’s word is full of God’s presence.”

“Full of His Presence.” What an incredible way to read the Bible this deeply, allowing ourselves to be completely surrounded by him and so letting ourselves be changed and transformed

Unstinting gratitude

I get so tired of my ego. It appears in so many different unfruitful ways. Joan Chittister in her book, “The Breath of the Soul,” guides me in an important way to take me beyond myself and into a deeper faith in God.

“Gratitude is not only the posture of praise, but it is also the basic element of real belief in God.
When we bow our heads in gratitude, we acknowledge that the works of God are good. We recognize that we cannot, of ourselves, save ourselves. We proclaim that our existence and all its goods come not from our own devices but are part of the works of God. Gratitude is the alleluia to existence, the praise that thunders through the universe as a tribute to the ongoing presence of God even now. “

Healing and new beginnings

The past is filled at best with minor regrets or frustrations, and at worst, with outright bitterness or anger. Christ does heal brokenness and gives us a new beginning, a foundation to start again and finish well. 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Anyone who belongs to Jesus Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Tilda Norberg, in her book Ashes Transformed, writes, “Even when God intervenes mightily, such as melting a tumor
or pouring miraculous spiritual comfort on breathtaking pain, healing is still a process, one that continues as long as you are alive to God’s presence. You can expect an awareness of God’s presence to break into your life many times. God continually invites you to yet another step toward wholeness.”

The pursuit of truth and beauty

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”
Albert Einstein

We all carry baggage and brokenness of one sort or another. Yet through love and forgiveness, recovery is possible. We can regain a childlike wonder. As children of God, given His original blessing, our lives are unique and beautiful. Whether we or society see this beauty is incidental to its existence–our Creator sees it.

And we too can see beauty in obscure and forlorn places. The purple flower was growing in a back alley of La Grande against the peeling paint of an abandoned garage. And the yellow hibiscus, growing above and beyond the barbed wire fence, bringing beauty to a dusty street yard, found sustenance in Catamayo, Ecuador.

If you are inclined, check my web site at and click on Alleys of La Grande to see similar pictures.

I arrived home early yesterday afternoon. My flight from Houston was delayed, so I did not arrive at my Portland motel until late Saturday night. Since I had gotten up at 4:00AM in Quito,my day was a 22 hour one. So, I am catching up on my sleep, and will need some time to process the experience, I but I am deeply amazed and lifted up by the quality of the group and the way personalities merged together under the common purpose to share God’s love as His hands, feet, and voices.
Over forty people joined us, from ages in the twenties to one doctor who celebrated his 80th birthday last night in Quito at our farewell dinner overlooking the lights of the city. The group included a number of dedicated Ecuadorian translators. We had two surgeons, a nurse anethesist, two ob-gyn’s, three family docs, a pediatrician, two nurses, and four pharmacists, two of whom were bi lingual, as was one of the surgeons. The intensity of the work was incredible–long lines of people and long hours, but the happiness and the gratitude of the patients was, as with past trips, always awesome. I spent a good deal of time working with reading glasses–exhaustingly intense but good.
WARNING: what follows is explicitly religious, so just skip to the pictures if you want.
While sitting in Houston at the waiting area of my Portland departure gate, I saw a poster for Continental Airlines. It set out an impressive statement:
“There are industry standards. Thankfully, we have our own.”
Traveling and serving with Global Health Outreach, the mission arm of the Christian Medical Dental Association, our time with the people of Ecuador is more than the “industry standard” of good thoughts/good deeds. As we pray with and for patients, as we share morning devotions and life journeys, we know we are the branches of Christ’s vine. We are His hands, feet, and voice.The pills run out, the bodily aches and pains return, but the love, forgiveness, grace, hope, joy, and salvation of Jesus Christ is eternal.
More pictures will follow as I readjust at home, but these two images of the people and the scenery reflect the profound intensity of our trip. Blessings, Eric

Children of God (Ecuador)

An essential reminder for me on any of these mission trips is that we are all God’s children, created by Him out of His abundant, unfailing love. We come to Him not out of our supposed power, position or prestige, but out of humility and poverty. He is totally indifferent to my status as a retired judge, although I honor by using the gifts He has blessed me with.
I have always enjoyed the AW Tozer statement that “an infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children as fully as if there were no others.” Indeed we each of His beloved. “We belong to God who claims us as beloved children and holds us close in the embrace of strength and love.” (Rueben Job)