Monday, November 21, 2022

For Thanksgiving




My twin themes for Thanksgiving are gratitude and food. I tend to overemphasize the victuals. This prayerful thought - about God’s unlimited buffet - comes from Scripture Union and a Methodist chaplain in Plymouth UK, Jonny Libby.


 


Lord Christ,

Your healings and miracles often end with a meal.


Thousands encounter your healing power and find strength in the breaking of bread.


It was your Mother’s song. He has filled the hungry with good things.

(Luke 1:53)


It continues in real time. You feed humankind with your Spirit at Holy Communion.


We may be hungry in different ways. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.


You offer to feed us, to satisfy that hunger. We are deeply grateful.


And we give thanks for this meal, the people who raised and grew the food, the hands that prepare and serve it, and for the hands we hold around this table. Let this be a holy communion for our friends and  family.


Amen.


Artwork credit

Saturday, October 8, 2022

The Church in Decline




O Lord!

Much is written about declining church attendance and religious affiliation.


But this isn’t a lamentation. I’m taking the long view, trusting that your power far exceeds the problem.


Many blame society or the culture, but maybe the church has fallen short? It's a self-inflicted wound. Evangelicals have so often embraced the wrong things. The mainline church struggles to stand for important things. Angry Jesus or a watered down Jesus. Not a compelling choice.


And people drifted away. Many sprinted. It’s happened in my own family. My heart breaks.


Could this be an Isaiah 43 moment?


See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

  (Isaiah 43:19)


Lord Christ, I don't believe you need the endorsement of politicians, the praise of patriots. You don’t see nationalities or borders. You are recruiting Jesus followers. It’s a grace filled, global program for healers, for servants, for Fruits of the Spirit people.


I am confident you will rework, reconfigure and rebuild your church. Now, how can I help, where can I help with that project? Amen.


Photo credit



[Pew study]

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

My Heart Melts


I recently read an essay by Fr. Ron Rolheiser about the incarnation and the intentional significance of Jesus coming first to us as a baby… 

Why? Why doesn’t the all-powerful Creator of the universe flex more muscle? Why is God normally revealed more in the body of an infant than in that of Superstar? Why? Because the power of God works to melt hearts rather than break them, and that’s what vulnerability and helplessness can do. That’s what infants can do. (In Exile, 12/21/2020

And my reading coincided with the arrival of our fourth grandchild, Margaret Dove, all of which inspires a bit of improvisation on Fr. Rolheiser’s words: 

Praise God!!! 
...for our new grandchild!!! 

I cradle her in my arms. The tiniest fingers and toes, a gossamer mane, eight pounds and thirteen ounces of cotton. 

Your creation power is manifest in this tender baby. No might or muscle in this miracle. Helpless. Vulnerable. Intimate. I can feel her soft breath. Those big eyes stare at my curious face. I covet a coo, but crying is her super power at present. And it melts my heart. 

Praise God!!! 
...for this GRAND child!!! 

Amen.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Born Again: Spring & Easter




Lord Christ,

In every generation there are wars and haters, broken places and broken people. 

But to every generation You offer an invitation, over and over again, a standing invitation, for transformation. (Sanctification is the churchy term, or getting saved in the Bible Belt.)


It’s so obvious in nature during the spring. The earth is reborn, both flora and fauna. 


Then comes Easter. In Your resurrection we see the possibility for our own rebirth.


You find us in our winter and offer a springtime.


We are transformed to be peacemakers, justice seekers, healers, listeners, lovers. 


To impact our families, workplaces and communities - pushing back against the broken places. 


Again this Easter, I hear the invitation. Accept my RSVP. Amen. 


Friday, April 15, 2022

An Awful Day | Good Friday



We stand at the intersection of Passover and Easter. An Old Testament epic meets New Testament truth. Both observances reinforce the theme of a mighty, loving God at work - on behalf of his people - in the worst of times. In Egypt, God conducts a miraculous rescue of the ancient Hebrews. At Easter, God leads the rescue of all people in all times through the miraculous resurrection of Jesus. This is our Hope writ large. In what might appear to be the worst of times, our rescue is underway and assured…by Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!


~ ~ ~


We come to a hard, a very hard place on this Good Friday. It is an awful day.


But a most Holy day, for sure. It is the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.


A day of deep pain: betrayal, injustice, mocking, torture…murder.


That God would stoop to endure this experience is testimony to 

our Lord’s solidarity with humanity.


Because pain is universal. It resonates with everyone.

Physical, mental or spiritual; for a moment, a season or a lifetime.


Jesus knows it, feels it, understands it.


Jesus grasps the cup of suffering with us. His spirit embraces us in our pain.


And the spirt heals, as the spirit loves. Yes, it is a reason to call this day good.


Amen.


Artwork credit

Friday, December 31, 2021

People of Promise, Hope, Light



Birthed in a stable, 
the mark of humility. 

Revealed first to shepherds, 
no hint of hierarchy. 

Yet extraordinary! 

God comes before us 
as an infant, 
that we would be 
people of promise, 
people of hope. 


Born beneath a star 
that we would be 
His wayfinders, 
God’s people of light. 


In a New Year
as our world groans 
for God’s restoration, 
how will this wayfinder 
humbly carry the promise, 
the hope, the light? 

Amen.

Artwork credits: top, middle, bottom

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Peace, Good Will Toward Men


“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” 
(Luke 2:14 KJV) 


Can I help to transform that proclamation of Jesus’ birth into reality? How can I live it? Isaiah 2 was in my Advent reading with this most famous prophecy about peace on earth: 

They will beat their swords into plowshares
    
and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    
nor will they train for war anymore. 

Again, how do we make that our reality? How do we live that? We pray! 


Lord Christ, 

Isaiah is disturbing my holiday card Advent with God’s ideal, God’s path. It’s jarring, challenging.

Something to ponder about the last days, where Jesus leads us. 

It will be universal, inclusive: All nations. Many peoples. 

It will be free of coercion and conflict: Swords are converted to plows, spears become pruning tools, repurposed for cultivation and growth. 

Today, I declare a cease fire in the culture war. I pledge to disarm my social media. And I pray that we will lay down our weapons - figuratively, literally. 

Let us walk in the light of the Lord. 

Amen.