Saturday, April 14, 2012


Scripture:  John 20: 19 - 31

Wiped out and unable to grasp the rigor of the journey from North Carolina to California, I unpacked the car and fell into the old family bed that every sibling had slept in during our rearing days.  This would be my new, old home, a place marked with the past and ripe for a new future.  Rest.  I tried.  It was fitful for many weeks as I unpacked, began work and found Mama to be an emerging friend.  Everything was both new and old and the restoration I longed for was slow in coming, but it came, and comes as I breathe in the breath of Christ’s words of peace.

 Luba Zakharov

Friday, April 13, 2012

FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012

Scripture:  John 20: 19 - 31

Driving across the country alone in the heat of summer makes for tainted visions.  It’s not possible to remember all the details of the drive except the stories I documented to remind myself of the way the mind and body wander when pressed.  Entering the Mojave Desert was particularly hard because of the one hundred degree heat casting in on the day. I remember seeing what once was the dry road below me turn into a wet haze mirage with the help of my polarized sunglasses.  It was hot and I was parched, having downed an iced tea I was chasing with water that couldn’t stay cold.  So I poured the water on my head, pulled over for a refill and wondered if it was possible that the drive was not real at all.  I had to buy food, even though I was not hungry, and ate in order to feel my body, a kind of doubting Thomas, desperate to believe.

 Luba Zakharov

Thursday, April 12, 2012


We saw it
Scripture:  I John 1: 1-2

On our Sunday afternoon drive, Mama and I stumbled onto Penn Park, a darkly lit haunt from my childhood with a round of green grass, swings and a merry-go-round. After a short walk through the hilly shades we drove back over Painter Avenue, up to Beverly Boulevard and over to Workman Mill where we first caught sight of a rainbow.  The colors were so vibrant that we were caught off guard.  When the rainbow split into a double rainbow we had to pull over to gape at it.  We saw it as it formed.  The light twisted its way through while I steered us home, breaking out in colors that we’d long ago missed – as though rainbows had stopped existing, but no, they hadn’t.  It was we – we hadn’t seen one in so long that we had to testify to each other that it was real.  We did indeed see it, that light, not unlike the one made manifest to us in the scripture:  a life who was with us from the beginning of time. 

 Luba Zakharov

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Looking closely
Scripture:  Psalm 133

As Mama’s vision dims, I watch her examine the small details of threads or yarn or broken dishes with the kind of zeal that eluded her in her younger years.  It seems an irony that the disease that forms on the eye and covers peripheral vision forces an adjusted seeing of even the tiny birds in the backyard.  Their collaborative chirps clip into the air as they dart about, taking their song into small and large spaces like tiny drops unseen at first and only later pour like dew into the day. 

 Luba Zakharov

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Dew of Love
Scripture:  Psalm 133

With the sweep of her wrist on the hand-in-laid wooden table, Mama moves the crumbs from our morning toast to the edge in small collected piles like her mother did before her.  She took care of her mother while I was living away, working in an academic world while she made herself into a bridge, standing between the siblings, caring for their lives, pouring oil on their daily hurts as only a mother can.  How precious is the dew of love and the way it lingers with a morning embrace.

 Luba Zakharov

Monday, April 9, 2012


All things together
Scripture:  Acts 4:32-35

The last time we lived together, she was my Mama and I, her adolescent daughter.  Thirty years later, I am the one moving in to care for my Mama.  What surprises us is the partnership we have formed.  “We’re helping each other out,” is the way she describes our new life.  I also work full-time and take care of whatever needs we have concerning this old, large house:  cleaning, repairs, watering the yard. She does the grocery shopping and cooking during the week while I cook on the weekends.  But it’s when we gather at the table that the sweetness of her long life shows itself in the prayers we say before the meals her arthritic hands assemble.  In her simple phrase asking God to “be with us and guide us,” I sense the Holy Spirit descend and turn our small world into a microcosm of what it might mean to share all things in common.

 Luba Zakharov

Sunday, April 8, 2012


The Party is Not Over

Scripture:  Isaiah 6:6-9

Growing up attending Easter services with my new dress and pretty shoes, it all seemed like a letdown when the service was over.  Everyone in my family seemed tired and cranky. Going home to take a nap, as my mom would always suggest, seemed like a really boring idea (though now as a pastor, a Sunday nap always sounds like a really good idea!)  As night would fall each Easter Sunday, the joys of new clothes, beautiful flowers and worship services were over; however, Easter was not.  Easter, in fact, had just begun!

Isaiah prophesied about a time in history when God would make a way for all peoples of the earth to come and feast-- to feast on a mountain of rich food and good wine, to feast on the goodness of the Lord with joyful proclamations.  Being people of Easter means that we have a new reality to claim for our lives, one in which we are ushering in the kingdom of God by whom we invite to our tables.
Consider the last time you hosted or attended a dinner party at someone's home. Who was there? Did everyone look the same? Dress the same? Attend similar schools? Hail from similar countries of origin?

Being people of Easter means now, we, as co-partners with God, have work to do. We are to be about cooking this feast for all nations. We are to be ambassadors for sharing the good news that all are one in Jesus Christ. So, I say, keep celebrating Easter, my friends. Don't put the fancy dresses and party hats away just yet. Invite your neighbors, invite new friends, invite a stranger, and feast this upcoming week on the goodness of the living Lord among you.

Prayer:  Living Lord, we worship you as Almighty God who has done great things among us. Don't let us forget your goodness, though. Don't let us forget to share. Don't let us get so self-consumed that we stop celebrating the good news that is all of ours this day: "You are risen indeed." AMEN.


Go and Proclaim

Scripture:  Mark 16:15-18
Jesus said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever doesn’t believe will be condemned. These signs will be associated with those who believe: they will throw out demons in my name. They will speak in new languages. They will pick up snakes with their bare hands. If they drink anything poisonous, it will not hurt them. They will place their hands on the sick and they will get well.” (Common English Bible, vv 15-18)

This time Jesus really does it! First he amazes us by rising from the grave and with joy we fall in behind our Risen Lord, raising high his banner, proclaiming the good news to every creature that crosses our path. We feel good – we know we can do this. 

But then Jesus tells us what his followers, those who believe that he is the Son of God, will look like. They will be the ones casting out those devilish demons, speaking in new languages, picking up those big slimy snakes with ungloved hands, drinking stuff their mothers always told them not, and placing hands on those bodies racked with disease and watching them heal before their very eyes.

Jesus wants to give us untamed resurrection power. These are the signs that the world is looking for from those who shout “Alleluia” this morning. On this side of the resurrection, snatching a colt or following that man with the jar of water looks pretty pedestrian. Those were mere training lessons. Jesus thinks we are ready to pick up the cross and follow. So ready or not – it’s time to go and proclaim the good news to all. Even on this Easter Morning.

Prayer:  Risen Lord and Savior don’t let us hide behind the Easter hymns and lilies, rather use this day, and use your people, to show the world the power of the resurrection available to all who believe. Alleluia. Amen.

 The Reverend Gloria McCanna

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