Musings from the Midwest

Month: January 2021

Despicable Me

Despicable Me January 18. 2021

Gabriele Replogle

I want refining without fire
I want success without hard labor
I want pleasure without constrictions
Only joy and never sorrow.

I want victory without battles
I want glory without God’s face
I want peace, with no justice
Only if it keeps my place.

I want truth as my sword
I want it always pointed away
I want to divide their bone and morrow
Surely I have not gone astray?

I want passion and performance
I want to be entertained
I want ease & comfort
For my attention that has waned.

I want likes and hearts
I want my valentines displayed
I want the nations to adore me
And my memory never fade.

I want resurrection without death
I want to be born without pains
I want power without purpose
And my kingdom to forever reign.

I want apples and more apples
I want to see it all.
I want knowledge & enlightenment
To never see My Fall.

I want His Kingdom to be on MY side
I want Him to follow me.
I want victory without death.
Or crucifixion to a tree.

2020’s Here & 2020’s Gone

2020’s Here and 2020’s Gone

Inspired by my Summer’s Here & Summer’s Gone (2019)- here’s my reflection on this past year.

AHHHHHHHH!, it’s time for
Scary, social distance days.
Frantic, tantric political days
          Catching virus and catching craze.
Confederate flags and no parades
          Police stand guard, protesters wave
Dumpsters lighted, enemies made

Boring nights, boring days
Bored and frightened, bills to pay
No holidays and dream vacas
Nightmares, doomscrolling, political parlay
TV, TV, DVD me, catching up on all my streaming
          Nothing to do, everything to say
          This schooling at home will kill us today

Black Lives Matter, All to gather
Against the people who would rather
Protect their privilege, blame the other
Forget that all people have a mother
          March for real change, March for each other
          Labeled mobsters, attacked by “proud brothers”

Senseless deaths, again and again
Black lives don’t matter, it’s proven
No Justice for these black bodies
No justice for blood or nooses on trees
No guilt will be granted to your oppressors
          but covered tracks and senseless slander,
           of those supporting Black Lives Matter

Whirling winds above the seas
Hurricanes tearing down the trees
Growing larger, going slow
Make a path of destruction where ‘re they go
          Arthur, Bertha, Crystobal
          Hannah first to make landfall
Laura in Louisiana, blistering winds take their toll
          Then comes Sally rolling slowly
                    Dumping rain and causing flooding

Burning, burning on my TV
Acres of forest, flame tinged RVs
Where to go, where to sleep
          There’s no place where the flames don’t creep
          Fighting fires, West Coast state emergencies
                    Blaming, it’s their own fault, you see

Cooler nights and cooler days
Back to school the President raves
          Get your kids there, get them fast
        Or financial support for you won’t last.
                    Zoom Calls, zoom calls
                    Please no more
                            Lying exhausted on the floor.

But wait, it’s time for November
Time to turn the nation asunder
Mail your vote. Mail it fast.
The USPS sure won’t last.
          In person voting, or it’s libel.
          Envelopes your surest rival.
            Drop box missing, what to do.
            Wait for hours, pay your due.

Counting, counting. what’s the trouble?
Arizona takes forever, hurry hurry on the double
PA, GA turning blue.
Holding their breath the nation does too.
            What to do, oh what to do?
            Biden, Trump will never concede to you.

Not only are black lives not good,
but their votes are surely falsehoods
            Pittsburg, Atlanta, Madison
            Litigations just begun.

Electorates, will you please vote?
Give a yep, or a nope?
          Do your duty, tell the truth?
          Or will you seek to join the coup?

Bustling thoughts, it’s time to rest
Where to go, what to do
Hibernate til COVID’s through
Too scared to move, too scared to rest
          2020 at its best
          Downing drinks and popping pills
            Mistrusting neighbors, opposing views,
            glare from top their window sills

Frenzied frantic, beleaguered, now done
2020’s here and 2020’s gone.

Gabriele Replogle January 7, 2021

Hallowed Be

Holy is Your Name by Gabriele Replogle

The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6: 9b Hallowed Be Your Name


As a mother of four small(ish) children there is not a lot of ‘hallowed’ space in our house. Literally almost none. There is nothing sacrosanct. Nothing we aren’t willing to sacrifice on the altar of sanity. Maybe the windows to our house? I think we’d fuss if our kids broke all of those.  Sometimes it seems like nothing is really ‘sacred’ anymore in our culture and people throw words around smashing windows, with little care. I suppose it comes with a strong decline is a little word that carries a lot of weight- RESPECT.  And yet, here comes Jesus asking us to keep God’s name ‘hallowed’.  

Hallowed Be

To the hearers of this prayer God’s name being hallow wasn’t really counter-cultural, it was firmly grounded in their upbringing.  God’s name was not even allowed to be spoken out loud. Rather than say “Yahweh”, speakers would call God “Adonai” or “Lord”.  In Hebrew, each name had a very specific meaning.Adam- coming from the earth, Eve- to breathe/to live!  God even changes names the founders of this Jewish faith from Abram -father, to Abraham- father of many and Sarai- princess, to Sarah- princess of many, with the promise of an heir and a blessing to all nations.  A name had profound meaning.  It was one’s identity.

Hallowed Be Your

I’ve had the blessing of getting to name four kiddos– and it wasn’t quite as simple as I had thought.  I had journaled names of my future children for literally YEARS, but somehow when it came time to name my own children, my childhood dreams of names were just that- childish notions.  They had been pondered and enjoyed by a girl, not one who had really lived life, or even known who would be the father to her children.  For us, naming our kids was sort of a tag-team effort, if I got to do the first one, he got to do the next one. Oddly enough, both of the children I named meant ‘LIFE’!  Our first pregnancy occurred after lots of health problems and frequent trips to the doctor. I wouldn’t have even dared to try to get pregnant and yet–Surprise! God had given us Zoe- from the Greek word meaning life given by God.   My other child named Life is Eva from the Hebrew- `breath.  This baby was born after another baby miscarried– she was a rainbow baby. Life and promise after death.

Hallowed Be Your Name

I love that God has been given so many names in the Bible. El Elyon– The God Most High. El Olam– Everlasting God.  El Roi– the God who sees me- this name given to God by Hagaar a female slave who God personally attends in the desert!  Jehovah-Jireh- The Lord Will Provide- given by Jacob when a lamb is provided in place of his son Isaac.  Jehovah- Rapha- The Lord Who Heals, Jehovah- Rohi- The Lord is My Shepherd. YHWH- I AM.  And this is just a start.  Each one comes with a story. Each name has a meaning.  Each name is testifying to God- who He IS, not just what He is called. Just as His own words brought life out of nothing and brought life back from death.  So does His name invoke His power, His presence, His personality and His perfection.  

Take Away:

Hallowed be your name isn’t something you must do or protect, but it is something that “IS”. His name is set apart, because He IS Holy.  God revealing who He is in His various names and experiences reveals a God who is worthy of respect. The real meaning of “Hallowed be Your Name” is not just refraining from saying “Oh my God,” but living a life in fear of the LORD. 


Jesus- your name brings life and hope and you have shown us the way to your Father, who you invite us to call Daddy, yet, you are still the great Jehovah Sabaoth– Lord of Hosts.  We trust in You. We trust in Your name.  Forgive us Lord when we treat You and Your name with disrespect.  Grant us to fear You Lord, Who You are, that we might gain a heart of wisdom and also bring Glory to You.  Thank You Lord that although you are Elohim – the All-Powerful One you are Immanuel-  God with us, and you know our names. Blessed be your name, now and forever!

Shorter version originally posted on Commonway Church’s Blog Lenten Series on The Lord’s Prayer March 2, 2020

Teach Us To Pray; In Our Frustration

Teach Us To Pray; In Our Frustration

By Gabriele Replogle

Matthew 17: 14-17

When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”  “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.

I don’t know if you’ve caught this already from previous blogs, but despite my typical sunny disposition, I am not a saint. I am not an unlimited wellspring of positivity, and my husband says I sigh… a lot. Sigh. I think it’s just my body trying to remember to breathe. You might say I am a person prone to well, what’s the word for it? Constant frustration!  Have you ever been around a two year old? Fed a toddler spaghetti, chocolate milk, or left a child unattended with a water bottle? Heard your child chanting from another room, “A mess, a mess, a mess!”? Have you put socks on a child over 6 times that day, changed more than 1,000 diapers? I’ve been mothering toddlers for over six years now and let me say, I’ve probably sighed enough piles of frustration to build Mt. Saint Helens (yes, I chose a volcano). And while my stories sound humorous from a knowing grandparent stance, the everyday realities of having one’s plans and efforts frustrated is really not something that’s always easy to laugh about.

Like you, if you’ve chosen to follow Jesus, my life is not my own. Sigh. I sometimes find it hard to give up. My work is not glamorous or even paid. Sigh. My day to day moments are full of interruptions, silly situations, and eye-roll worthy antics. Antics that, at times, I could do without. Attitudes I’d rather not console, and limited time to console my own. Sigh. I am not in control of my schedule. Sigh.

Your life might look different than mine, but I can imagine you know what frustration feels like. Frustration of school closures, entire routines changed, and a lack of information. Filling out a complicated medical form, seeing ten different doctors, having to change your diet, grocery shopping, or driving at rush hour, being misunderstood by your co-worker, boss, friend, or spouse. Have you ever been swimming in debt, unemployed, unable to see anything positive your future might hold? Have you been left overwhelmed at the markets that crashed and depleted your savings for the future? Or perhaps you’ve been left waiting, and waiting some more for the spouse that never came, the pregnancy test that never turned blue, the career that collapsed, your health that never healed. Frustrations small, large, short-lived, and chronic, we all face them.

Gratefully, unlike the typical portrayal of a plaster smiled Christian, the Bible doesn’t sugarcoat frustration and or skip over it to forced happiness. Life is not always positive and encouraging. Patriarchs wrestle with God, and argue over His plans. The Psalms are full of lament and discouragement, and even dare say- complaining.  Even Jesus gets frustrated again and again with the Jewish leaders, the nation’s unbelief, and his disciples. In Matthew 17: 14-17, Jesus declares in frustration, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” He is deeply upset that his disciples were unable to heal a child who was prone to seizures. He explains to them that their faith was too small (apparently smaller than a mustard seed for he said a mustard seed size faith could have moved a mountain!) Yes, even Jesus gets frustrated. His cry on the cross is (quoting from the Psalms) “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” He does not sanitize his negative emotions or try to put a positive spin on his pain.

How is this possible? Why is he not always joyful, or thinking only about what is noble, true, and right? Perhaps in our Western modern ‘enlightened’ minds, we have quarantined our full range of emotions? But Jesus does not avoid pain or frustration. He is able to walk into it fully. Confident that even railing against his heavenly Father for abandonment was not outside the threshold of giving Him glory.

Just as my children have cried to me in frustration and called out for help, with unfettered wails of unfairness, hunger, pain, in need of assistance to accomplish their deeply needed goals of getting something unstuck from their bare foot, or their inability to open a door, or making sure they get their turn- we may cry out to God. HELP. And with the ear of a loving, compassionate father, He will come to our aid. He will not mock us for our frustrations, or belittle us for not bucking up and accomplishing it on our own., He will be endeared that in our time of distress, we came asking for Him. He may give us what we want, or He might give us what we need, or He might just stroke our cheek and smile that knowing-smile that He alone knows what is for our ultimate good.


God, I’m frustrated. Sometimes so deeply and too proud to admit it. Sometimes I’m frustrated, and I can’t even see my need for help. Will you help me anyway? Help. Grant me what I need in my troubled spirit, my troubled relationships, my troubled health, my troubled goals, my troubled nation, because you love me, and you are good even in the pain and frustration. Amen

Originally Published on Commonway Church’s Blog March 24, 2020

The Love of Strangers & The Love of Family

The Love of Strangers and the Love of Family

I was a poor graduate student in Portland, Oregon.  Despite at one point, working four different part time jobs in addition to my class work, not owning a car (I rode my bike), I was going hungry and losing weight.  My meals were wheat thins and avocados and way, way too much cereal.  I reworked my coffee beans twice before I got new ground coffee.  Maybe you too have had times of working your hind off and still hunger before you.  Gratefully, I heard of a food bank and was able to stockpile my groceries there each week. Although, if I recall correctly, I remember trying to go when no one else would see me.  I received love from strangers.  People who had been in need perhaps themselves at some point, or just knew of the financial difficulties of many students.  I am grateful to them… and I don’t even know their names.

As an American, I was subconsciously raised to be independent, self-reliant and maybe a little proud that somehow my “hard work” was what had got me to where I was.  But maybe you too have been on the other side, working hard, and still dependent.  I had been vigilant not to try and take out loans I didn’t have to.  I had just paid off my undergrad working as a nanny and if I were to be a missionary, I knew I couldn’t afford to have much debt. One night I remember breaking down in tears with my parents. I’m hungry and stressed. I can’t take it– I don’t know how to cook for one! (Even though I had just cooked two years for a family of five.)  My parents graciously helped pay for my meal plan so I could dine at the student center.  I humbled myself and received help from my family.

So often we like to associate ourselves with what we see as the heroes of our Christian faith stories.  We feel God’s approval when we are like the Samaritan who gave for the stranger in need.  Or like Jesus, through God’s power we find ways of multiplying loaves to feed those who are hungry.  We want to be the ones entertaining strangers and somehow meeting angels.  But we must also be willing to identify with those who are broken- Jesus- the lamb who was slain.  “Blessed are those poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5:3-4)   And while we seek and pray, abiding by his Spirit we are faithful to follow the path of Jesus to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison.  (Matt 25: 35-39) Yet, we must also realize that by the King declaring, “As you did to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me,” Jesus identifies with the hungry, the thirsty, he is the stranger, and the inmate.  He is not above them and if he is not above them, we should not have undo shame when we experience them.

Autumn is here. As we look to bring in the harvest, may we remember how we sowed our seeds in hope that what died, brought new life- life that multiplies.  We remember that it is God who has supplied our seeds and bread for food.  We pray, like God, that we may be cheerful givers, just as God has so freely given to us.(2 Cor 9)  And may we rejoice when God allows us the grace to be like him, to accept the gift of a brother or sister, in our time of need.  May we humble ourselves as Jesus did, and accept the love of strangers and the care of our family.  Knowing that even when we are weak– He is strong! (2 Cor 12:10). Praise be to Jesus.

Help me Jesus, to see my needs and to humbly receive help when I need it.  Thank you that you make dead things come alive and you can multiply what is good for your glory.

Published originally on Commonway Church’s Blog Oct 22, 2020

Simple Gifts

I find myself a bit snarky these days (even more than usual).  My stuffed down anger at the seeming insanity that is our current culture is coming out sideways.  I don’t feel entirely horrible about this, sometimes snarky can bring out the humor and bring relief to the tension that feels almost unbearable.  But in my lifelong attempt to retrain myself to have a critical mind without a critical spirit and to offer grace while at the same time requiring truth, I am seeking to celebrate the simple gifts in my life.

I’m not talking about simplicity that is found in lack of awareness, or simplicity that is found in my privilege, or even simplicity found in a minimalist lifestyle that I will likely never attain (sorry Marie Kondo),  but simplicity that asks me to find JOY in what God has offered me.  This JOY is found in life eternal, which really doesn’t mean life that will only ‘get good’ once the going gets dead, but LIFE IN THE NOW. Life to the full.

Here are the simple gifts I am celebrating.

I am grateful for my toddlers who chase bubbles with abandon on a surprisingly warm fall day. Instead of running inside for my new iPhone, I soak up their little towheads and bare feet as I feel the sun on my face and the joy of watching a simple delight.  Thank you for bubbling joy.

I am grateful for my church, the staff that gave CommonwayKids care packages with bubbles this summer, that has continued to reach out and let us know they care even when we couldn’t be there.  Even as I imagine much of their reaching out feels unnoticed, or unanswered, we notice. Thank you church for your care.

I am grateful for what could be constituted as two miracles this summer.  The first, finding a workable, unopened, 30-year-old, 8ft, plastic kiddie pool, hidden in our garage from previous owners.  When there were no pools in the entirety of the US, we had one appear in our garage.  And the second, scoring a trampoline off of Craigslist, like a needle in a haystack when there was an Olympic-style competition for finding said needles.  For endless hours of wading in the safety of 18 inches of water and bounding with unbounding energy within the confines of a safety net, I thank you pool & trampoline for your assistance at making a shutdown summer more palatable and even more memorable.

I am grateful for food in my pantry.  Yes, in the spring I hoarded too many bags of flour that the bugs have now found, 2 huge tubs of quinoa that we will likely not finish off for 5 years, and a 1lb vacuum sealed bag of yeast I haven’t opened, but despite my fears, I never had to go hungry. The grocery store never ran out of food as predicted and my paltry excuse of a garden with 8 carrots and 8 cucumbers and a couple of dead vines that would have had to feed my ravenous family was supplemented by the 6 grocery stores that all live within 5 miles of my house.  I never wanted even for a snack.  Thank you Jesus for food in our tummies and Lord have mercy on those who are hungry.  

I am grateful that school is in session this fall. For teachers who WALK THE LINE for us.  Who juggle crazy for us. Who promote peace and learning in unprecedented times. For bus drivers, crossing guards, administrators, cafeteria workers, aides and janitors who are making the world go round. Thank you, thank you, thank you, in Jesus name Amen!

I am grateful for negative COVID tests.  For the brave nurses and doctors & health care workers, & janitors who put themselves on the line every day to serve a scared and sometimes reckless society. For smart scientists and chemists who know how to run labs and for engineers who can post results online and get said results to people.  Thank you, Lord for science & servants.

I am grateful for technology so that I can stay connected–new smartphone, Zoom, Facetime, Bookface, you are new to me, but you are like an estranged cousin that I just met at a family reunion.  I didn’t know you before, but now I can’t help but admit our shared commonalities. Thank you for allowing me to share and be known in a time of isolation. Dare I say it, thank you Lord for social media and technology.

I am grateful for the brilliant fall colors that seem brighter and more beautiful this year. For the brilliant goldenrod yellows found on redbud trees and the cheerful orange oaks. I shiver at the scarlet RED glow of sugar maples and the burning bushes found in my neighborhood–you remind me there is beauty in death, glory in transformation. Thank you nature for providing normalcy, beauty, and rest in these trying times.

I am grateful for the chance to have spent fall break with my parents and share moments together that remind us that even while we still disagree politically, we are more than our political beliefs.  We shared those differing political beliefs, but we also shared hot cocoa, walks in the woods, times of pumpkin carving, and many meals with munchkins.  Thank you for the gift of communion with fellow believers despite very real differences.

I am grateful for my freedoms found in Christ–my freedom to submit to His Kingdom ways rather than my own selfish desires.  To treat others the way I want to be treated (Luke 6:31) through the power of His Spirit who helps me put away all “bitterness, rage, anger, violent assertiveness and slander, along with all spitefulness” (Eph 4:31), and for those with whom I might disagree, instead let my speech be “full of grace and seasoned with salt”(Col 4:6).  
Thank you Jesus for all your simple gifts.

originally posted for Commonway Church’s Blog on Nov 20,2020

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