About Martha A. Moore (M.A. Moore)

I used to define myself as a writer who worked in other fields for a living, but I've come to realize that I'm a teacher who likes to write occasionally in my spare time - which is not the calling of a full-time writer. Up until this year, I served as a classroom teacher for more than 30 years; this year I became a school administrator at a nondenominational Christian school in southeast Washington, DC. I'm an active member of Lutheran Church of the Cross-Missouri Synod in Rockville, MD, where I worship with my daughter and my three-year-old and seven-month-old granddaughters. I am also an active member of Vineyard Via de Cristo, and a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts. I sometimes write songs for VdC and for friends in Scouting. I've also written plays in the past for my church youth group and for some school students to perform. I am in the midst of rehab after open heart surgery in July 2017. I believe in God who is my Father and my Creator, God who is my Brother and my Savior, and God who is my Comforter and my Advocate - and God has made it abundantly clear that He believes in me and is always with me, whatever I may be going through. Soli Deo Gloria!


Today I took my five-year-old granddaughter to see Frozen II. It was my first time seeing the movie, but it was her third – she is really a Frozen fan!

The storyline involved the four elements: earth, water, wind and fire. They were represented in the movie by four spirit beings. Now, I’m not saying that the movie in any way had a Christian message – it didn’t. But I did start thinking later about the Holy Spirit in connection to those same four elements.

The Spirit came on Pentecost in wind and fire. We are baptized by water and the Spirit. But where did earth come into the picture? Then I realized that, as all humans come from the earth (“dust you are, and to dust you shall return”), the earth of the elements is Jesus, because he became human. And the earth that is Christ becomes a part of each of us when we receive it in the Eucharist.

What does that mean for us? We should stay grounded in God’s Word; we should be walking wet, remembering that our baptism makes us children of God, we should breathe in the breath of God, knowing that the Holy Spirit lives in us; and we should be on fire for Christ!

A blessed Epiphany season to all of our readers!

The Light Shines in the Darkness

No one really knows the date of Jesus’ birth. A number of scholars believe it was in the spring, when shepherds would be out in the fields with their flocks. I’ve also heard some who claim it was in September or October, although I don’t remember their reasoning.

The early Christian church chose to celebrate some of their holy days at times when non-Christians already had festivals, so some people think the mass for Christ’s birth was scheduled for the end of December because many pagan groups celebrate the winter solstice, when the days begin to grow longer – hence, the return of the light. It wasn’t much of a stretch, then, to convince them to celebrate the coming of the Light of the World at that time of year. And this is why Light is our theme for December.

As John said (John1:1-5, 9-14): In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

As we enter Advent, celebrating both the approaching Christmas season and the approaching return of Christ, may we lift up in prayer all who are going through dark times and all who live in darkness, and may we joyously look to the Light that forever banishes the darkness and brings us grace and love and peace.


It probably seems strange that our October theme is Rest and Relaxation. After all, most people think of summer as the time for R&R–taking a cruise or chilling in a beach chair at the ocean, or whatever you find restful and relaxing.

That’s not what nature does, however. In fact, summer is nature’s time to hit the high temperatures and bring out all the fresh fruits and garden produce. Winter doesn’t seem very relaxing, either, with the wind and the snow and short days with early darkness. Nature is obviously very industrious in spring, as everything comes back to life. But in fall, and usually starting in October, nature begins to shut down for the long rest.

The leaves change color and drift to the ground. The temperatures begin to drop (okay, they’re taking their time this year, but you know it’s coming!). Caterpillars form cocoons. Many animals prepare for a winter of hibernation. Nature has to go to sleep for awhile to renew itself for next year. This pattern is related to what Jesus says in John 12:24: Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Jesus is not referring only to his own death. As Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. As we watch the leaves fall this month, we should remember that in our baptism we died to sin and became a part of God’s kingdom, which is here and now with us.

And our lives have periods of growth and productivity, and periods of hibernation when it seems like nothing very productive is happening. It is happening–God is using those periods to prepare us for the next part of His plan for us. Wait for it. Fall is here and winter is on the way, but spring will surely come for all of us. When everything slows down, God is preparing us to grow.

Freedom from Tyranny + Freedom from Sin

There’s a joke that’s been going around for years: “Do they have a Fourth of July in England?” Many Americans respond, “No,” but the answer is, “Yes, they have a fourth of July everywhere – they just don’t celebrate American Independence!”

[Although July 4 is the day we set aside to celebrate America’s freedom from Great Britain, that really should be celebrated on July 2, the day in 1776 that the Second Continental Congress voted to be “free and independent states.” July 4 is the day they approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence, which wasn’t signed until August 2.]

For me, July 4 is a day of double celebration. Not only is it a national day to celebrate freedom, but it is also a personal day to celebrate freedom because I was baptized on July 4 (1965, when I was 15 years old). America’s declaration and subsequent war for independence set us free to govern ourselves. In baptism, Christians are freed from sin and from the constant drive to “make things right” with God. Christ has made things right through His sacrifice, and we are joined to that sacrifice in baptism and become children of God.

We are free. As a nation, we are free to choose our leaders, to worship as we wish, to say what we want to say, and to exercise many other rights and privileges. As God’s children, we are free from the chains of sin and death, free to live as people of the light, free to live forever in the presence of our God and Savior. Praise God for freedom!

The last night

On the night on which he was betrayed, our Lord knew he would die the next day. He knew that before that happened he would be betrayed (and by whom) and denied (and by whom). He knew he would be abandoned, mocked, scorned, slapped, punched, and scourged. He knew he who was sinless would take on himself all the sins of all of us.

How would you spend your last night if you knew it would be your last night? He chose to wash the feet of his disciples. He gave bread and wine, his body and blood, and forgiveness. He gave the promise of a Comforter, the Holy Spirit. He gave a command to love one another.

Holy communion always brings us close to Christ, but never closer than on Maundy Thursday, when we are aware of that night and what he did and what he said and what he faced for us. It was profound sorrow and pure joy to be in his presence on this night of all nights.

Faith and Tribulation

The theme for February will be Faith and Tribulation. We chose this theme because we are seeing a great deal of tribulation in our world, and words of faith are needed now as much as–if not more than–ever.

Natural disasters are wreaking havoc around the globe:

  • Weather that makes Chicago colder than Antarctica
  • Weather that destroys entire towns and more–hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, droughts, famines, floods–so many people trying to piece their lives together out of ruin and loss

Man-made disasters can be equally destructive:

  • Forest fires in places with high winds and no rains (some have natural causes, but others are started by human carelessness)
  • Wars and raids and suicide attacks
  • Shootings in crowds, shootings in schools, shootings in churches, shooting in malls . . . and on and on and on.

Personal losses are also devastating: loss of home, health, job, parent or spouse or child or other loved one.

Most destructive of all, in my opinion, is our constant exposure to words of hate as people use social media and other public forums to condemn not just individuals, but every member of a group based on the ideals and actions of the most extreme.

But there is hope, and that hope lies in faith–faith that Christ is with us, that he died for us, that he rose from the dead, and that he is holding us in his arms through every tribulation. He told us this:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

As humans, we are likely to feel overwhelmed, but through piety (worship and prayer), study of God’s Word, and the actions we choose to make to his glory, we find our faith growing stronger and giving us the fortitude to face whatever the future may bring.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Hold on to the sure knowledge that God is in control, that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28), and that God loves you. Have faith!

Theme for November

November begins with All Saints Day, a day to remember all who have died in the past year or in earlier years. The Roman Catholic church has its own definition for saint, requiring specific criteria be met before sanctification, and many Protestant churches are named for saints of old: St. Stephen, St. Luke, St. Andrew, etc. But the Bible–particularly Paul–refers to all believers as saints:

Romans 1:7 – to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:2 – To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

2 Corinthians 1:1 – Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia:

Colossians 1:2 – To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Ephesians 1:1 – Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 1:1 – Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:

1 Corinthians 14:33 – for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

Ephesians 2:19 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,

Colossians 1:26 – that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

Jude 1:3 – Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

Ephesians 3:18 – may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

Colossians 1:12 – giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Ephesians 5:3 – But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;

Ephesians 6:18 – With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

Romans 8:27 – and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

By Paul’s account, believers are saints, and that is our theme for November. Write about people whose sainthood has shone through your life, those who inspire you. Write about what it means to be part of the family of God. Even as saints, we are also all sinners, so write about the struggle to live up to the name saint. And, as always, write as the Spirit leads you, whether on this topic or any other. We look forward to spending November hearing about the saints as written by the saints!


One day

as he braved a twisted, tortuous road

beneath an angry, grey-streaked sky

burdened by wood and love

he held me in his heart

so carefully I did not fall

and shatter on the stones

when he stumbled


He laid him down in dirt

until ribbons of pain tied him

to the angry, blood-stained sky

still holding me in his heart

so carefully I did not suffocate

as his lungs clawed the heavens

to keep from bursting


When it was finished

he held me in his heart

so carefully

I did not spill out

when his blood rained down

beneath an angry, night-black sky

to purify the broken earth


When he died

he held me in his heart

so carefully

I lived


I live

as I have always lived

as I shall always live

so carefully held

in his heart


[NOTE: I wrote this on Resurrection Day (April 4), 2010.]

Daddy’s Girl

At the end of a trail of thought last night, I asked myself why, at 68, I am still such a child.

God replied, “Because you are my child.”

And it is true: We can never even remotely approach the maturity of God. This is our Father who expressed his love by sacrificing his Son so that we could live. The seriousness, the intensity, the integrity, the ineffable maturity of that love is beyond human comprehension – except to know that it surrounds us, and if we allow it, it fills us, and it draws us closer to him in preparation for that day when we will unite with him forever.

I suspect that there is still a little child deep inside each of us, full of uncertainty and prone to making mistakes. Yet it is that child whose faith truly connects to Christ, the big brother who loves and protects us.

So I’m not going to worry about growing up or growing old – just so I keep growing closer to my Father – just so long as I continue to be my Daddy’s girl.

Joy Returning with a Smile

In 2004 I served on my first Via de Cristo coed team. I had been a pilgrim in 2001, then served on women’s teams after that (my first being led by Joan Culler!), but this was my first coed team. Due to some unexpected problems, the team had been formed late. I had not met the rector (head of the team) before, but he was looking for a female who would serve on the music team and I was willing to give it a try.

The rector, a man named Andy Foor, instantly became a dear friend (Andy is like that). I remember so clearly that whenever we were leading the singing, Andy would step into the aisle between the tables and walk toward the music team, and he would smile – and when Andy smiles, so does everyone around him. I started smiling as I sang – with a joy that goes beyond ordinary smiling – and I continued smiling when singing praise music for a long time afterward.

The reason this is significant is that I was one of the music team at today’s Ultreya (a reunion gathering of the Via de Cristo community – ours are held every other month). And the reason that is significant is that it’s the first time I’ve led music since my surgery last summer (almost the first time I’ve held a guitar). Leading music takes a lot of energy, and I have to steward my energy carefully as I continue to recover.

Still, I thought I’d try it for this short period of time (actually, I thought I wouldn’t risk it, but God said, “Why not try?”). We sang only a few songs, but the room was full of unity and joy. As I heard the words, as I looked at the faces of old friends and new, I started to smile again and felt that joy in my heart – the joy of the presence of the Lord.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. (Psalm 68 4)