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!

Christ

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.]

Advertisements

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)

Sing a New Song

“Happy New Year!” is the common cry of the day, but I prefer to wish people a blessed new year. Not everything that happened in 2017 was happy. On an international and national scale, there were natural and man-made disasters of all sorts, leaving many people homeless and some mourning those dear to them who were lost. On a personal front, my mother died on Easter 2017, I had unexpected heart surgery in July, and without having planned or thought about it, as a result of the surgery, I went from being a classroom teacher to an administrator.

But there have been blessings: My second granddaughter was born in May; the change in job is definitely better for my recovery (way less stressful, and fewer hours!), and I am finding that the new job is actually where I am supposed to be at this time in my lfe. I recognize God’s hand in all that has come to pass.

So as we enter a new calendar year, with no idea what may be in store, may we always remember to praise God, and with the psalmist, sing a new song:

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Have a blessed new year, knowing wherever it leads you, God is with you always.

 

A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE (Written in 2014)

It’s Christmas. That should come as no surprise. The traffic around the malls has been backed up for two weeks. Christmas carols have been playing on the radio since Thanksgiving. And stores have been decorated since before Halloween. If anything, we should be saying, “Thank heaven it’s finally Christmas.” But Christmas is anything but final.

For Christians, there are constant reminders that Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus. Slogans such as “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “Wise men still seek him” appear on Christmas cards and sweatshirts and Facebook posts—reminders that it isn’t about the gifts or the decorations or the food. But I have to say this: Christmas is NOT ALL about the birth of Jesus.

If Jesus had only been born, we would have nothing to celebrate. If God had come to us in the form of one of us and . . . what? Just lived and died? Lived and ascended? Lived here forever? . . . Christmas would not have the meaning it does for our lives.

The celebration of Jesus’ birth is only fulfilled by the agony of his death and the glory of his resurrection. When we bask in the gentle glow of the manger scene, it is with the certain knowledge that of all babies everywhere, this baby was born to die—and not just to die but to die for us. And everything in that scene and everything in our celebration points to that certainty.

o The infant sleeps in a manger because people did not make room for him.
o The man will walk the road to the cross because people do not accept him.

o The nighttime sky turns bright as day at the announcement of his birth.
o The daytime sky will turn dark as night at the moment of his death.

o His mother wraps him in swaddling cloths—a tight wrapping all around his body.
o Friends will wrap his body tightly in cloth to prepare it for the grave.

o Sometime in his early years, and still associated with the Christmas story, wise men bring him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
o The gold is a symbol of kingship, the frankincense a symbol of priesthood, but the myrrh is a foretelling of his death. John says that Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about 100 pounds to be used in the preparation of the body for burial.

o He is laid in a borrowed manger, which was probably a hollowed-out stone.
o He will be laid in a borrowed tomb, which was probably a hollowed-out stone.

Even our Christmas traditions echo the reality that this birth is also about his death.

o Loving family around us reminds us that through this child’s sacrifice we become part of God’s family.

o The feast we eat at Christmas reminds us of his final meal with his disciples and of the feast we will share with him forever.

o Evergreens remind us of the eternal life this child will suffer to bring us.

o Cutting down a tree reminds us of his cross, made from a tree, and of his life cut down.

o Carrying the tree reminds us that he carried his cross.

o Lights on the tree remind us that the child in the manger is the light of the world, the light that shines so that no darkness can overcome it—but the darkness will try.

o Sharing with the poor reminds us that he came to earth poor, that he cared for the marginalized people of his society, and that he told us to do likewise.

o Wrapping gifts reminds us that he was wrapped as an infant and again wrapped for burial.

o Opening gifts reminds us that the stone was rolled away and the tomb was opened and the empty wrappings lay folded there.

o Giving gifts reminds us that God has given us the best gift of all—the gift of himself.

For the most important comparison of the season is this:

o At Jesus’ birth, the angel said, “Fear not—he is here.”

o At Jesus’ tomb, the angel said, “Fear not—he is not here.”

And that is why we celebrate Christmas.

It’s Christmas. Make room for Jesus. In everything you do, remember the infant, remember the man, remember the sacrifice he made for us, remember his resurrection, and remember that he loves you beyond measure. Follow his light, for on this night of all nights Bethlehem is everywhere, and Christ is here, God is with us. Fear not.

Amen.

A CHRISTMAS SONNET

The day slips into memory; the storm

No longer keens among the weary trees.

A savage people in their anguish freeze

Before the God who wears a human form.

Stilled is the sound of battle, stilled the cry

Of pain, and stilled the voice of hate and fear—

For one brief moment all creation hears

The hush that echoes farther than the sky.

This night begins a day that for all time

Becomes the dawn of Time; the dream ignites.

The candle that alone withstands the night

Will kindle yet a flame to save mankind.

Listen for the laughter of the stars:

A child is born; tomorrow will be ours!

 

– M.A. Moore

Taste and See

From a young age, we are told that we need to have a balanced diet. Our bodies require a variety of nutrients. Although some foods are more wholesome than others (and some have no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever), there is no one superfood that provides one hundred percent of our needs.

Like our bodies, our spirits require feeding so that they do not wither and die. We “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). The difference is that there is only one food for the spirit: our Lord Jesus Christ. We receive this food in many forms: the waters of baptism, Christ’s body and blood in communion, God’s divine Word, confession and absolution, corporate worship and fellowship with other Christians, solitary prayer and meditation–and so many ways that God reaches out to us in our daily lives.

Just as we give thanks for our meals, we should give thanks–daily, constantly,  not just one day in a year–for God’s grace, mercy and love, our source of life.

Taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8)