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.

Friday, October 29, 2021

About Job


Job has made several lectionary appearances in October. His is an epic story of many layers…with an epic message.




All Knowing, 

All Mighty God,


This is my take on Job…

Am I off the rails?


He loses children, health and wealth. 


The tragedy is never adequately explained. It’s the classic “why do bad things happen to good people?” It’s further complicated by a Divine foreknowledge. And the wounding continues as Job’s (supposed) friends offer gratuitous, misguided consolation. 


In lament, in despair, Job finds himself in Your presence.  


God is not distant. 

God is available. 


And that Holy presence is enough. 


In Your presence, Job is restored. 


It’s not about understanding God’s plans or God’s ways. That’s beyond our comprehension. 


It’s about knowing Your presence. That is within our reach. 


For some it comes like lightning. For me, much cultivation has been necessary.


And like Job, Your loving presence heals and restores, guides and empowers. Your presence saves. Amen. 


Artwork credit

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Belief = Love




Love God. 
Love neighbor. 
The twin tenets of our faith. 

Sublimely simple, 
but “easier said than done.” 

We complicate 
with catechisms, 
books of discipline,
statements of belief. 

These good intentions 
often accommodate 
our fears and prejudice. 

Loving God 
is circumscribed. 
The definition 
of neighbor narrows. 

The Spirit reminds me 
of Fr. Richard Rohr’s* advice: 

In controversies 
of theology and morality 
always ask… 

What is the loving response? 

Consider a change 
of mind or heart. 
Be prepared 
to set aside 
our rules and regulations 
for love. 

Amen. 


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) 


Friday, April 16, 2021

Pandemic Prophet

Micah is my favorite prophet. That owes entirely to his venerated admonition on the Lord's behalf:

Do justice, 

Love kindness, 

Walk humbly with your God.

(from Micah 6:8)


It is a challenging and powerful mission statement! 


So, I was thinking...

Public health officials (appropriately) and politicians (often inappropriately) dominate the pandemic discussion. What might a prophet have to say?




Woe to you!

Kingdom of America,

Nation of Contagion.


Fealty to your vaunted economy 

tramples a withered humanity. 


You abuse liberty. 

You pervert the

“pursuit of happiness.”


550,000 pandemic dead. 

Still, you resist masks, 

even vaccinations. 

You applaud reckless re-openings.

The common good takes a back seat 

to red/blue politics 

and your culture war.

You invite Divine cancelation!


Infectious

Communicable

Transmissible 

...describe your grievances,

and your behavior,

but not your tepid faith. 


Sick and selfish souls 

are the real pandemic.


Are you so dull, so dim?

What part of this command 

eludes your comprehension?

Love your neighbor as yourself.

(Mark 12:31)


This scolding

brings no pleasure.

Let my harsh tone convict.

Mend your ways!

Our God stands ready

to forgive, heal and restore.


Amen. 



The prophet, for whom negativity is an occupational hazard, asked me to acknowledge the “love your neighbor” care and concern of essential workers, from nurses to grocery store cashiers. And for the mask wearers, the social distancers and the vaccinated.


Artwork credit