Thursday, December 21, 2023

The Infancy of Faith

This is my theology of the Incarnation. You might call it infantile?!? As a grandfather, I am all about babies and little kids. I’ve been to three Christmas pageants this month. In this mad, mad world, the children’s retelling of the Christmas story stokes my hope.

Our “Big Bang” Creator God,

Who hung the stars and planets,

Who speaks in the volcano and typhoon,

Comes stealthily to us at Christmas - as a baby!

To know our lives from the very beginning,

To identify with all that is vulnerable, small and dependent,*

To remind us of hope and promise - something we sense acutely with our own babies.

The Christ Child is our connection with the Creator, and vice versa. We are known, sustained and hope-filled. Amen.

Browse my Advent and Christmas prayers.

*Henri Nouwen   

Photo credit

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Christian Community | Praying with Henri

I highly recommend Henri Nouwen’s daily meditations. His writing resonates with me. There’s a spot-on spiritual and emotional connection as he interprets and channels our Triune God.

This meditation was an irresistible prayer prompt. It’s about Christian community and explains my need to be in church. Also, I believe it explains why people are drawn to church during the Christmas season. This is more than nostalgia or tradition. It’s a time and place - in solidarity - to push back against the darkness.

Waiting in Community

Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us. In this way we can live with courage, trusting that there is a spiritual power in us when we are together that allows us to live in this world without surrendering to the powerful forces constantly seducing us toward despair. That is how we dare to say that God is a God of love even when we see hatred all around us. That is why we can claim that God is a God of life even when we see death and destruction and agony all around us. We say it together. We affirm it in each other. 

Henri Nouwen Society | Daily Meditation | 11/27/23

Lord Christ,

I watch too much news.

I ingest too much social media.

Will I allow myself to be seduced by despair?

The antidote, the corrective, is your church.

With hymns and prayers,

Reciting our liturgy by candlelight, 

We push back!

Hatred has reached a rolling boil.

We proclaim a God of love!

Destruction and death overwhelm.

We worship a God of life!

We will not despair.

We will not capitulate.

Hope is alive in us.

We live with courage.

As Advent begins,

We make this claim as a community of Christians,

Inspired by the Holy Spirit.


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

At Easter: Selfless Love, Divine Power


Lord Christ,

I sense your presence and blessing as spring unfolds. And I find it in family, especially my marvelous grandkids! Still, I suffer from “grumpy old man” syndrome. 

I need Easter! Can I get an Alleluia!?!

Too much news. Too much Twitter. School shootings. Deadly tornados. Political turmoil. MAGA. Ukraine. The new Cold War. 

I need the Resurrection. I need the promise of restoration. I need that celebration of Christian hope!

Atonement theory trips me up. The conservative canon of inerrancy, hellfire and End Times confounds me, too. I am, however, fully convinced of two Easter tenets:

“Christ Crucified” proves your devotion to humankind. In a most ignominious way, you surrendered your life. That ultimate sacrifice is convicting. Your selfless, mighty love for us is deep and wide.

“The Risen Christ” demonstrates your authority over evil and death. This super natural, awe inspiring display of Divine power is compelling. The most daunting obstacles can be overcome when we put our trust in you.

For the intensity of Christ’s Easter love, Alleluia!

For the supremacy of Christ’s Easter love, Alleluia!


Artwork credit

Sunday, March 5, 2023

"I Quit!" in Lent

My career ends as Lent begins. 

I treasure the accolades, the friendships and memories, but the real treasure is God’s faithfulness over fifty years. 

Retirement unfolds and I’m called to relax my grip on what was. There’s a Holy knowing in this Lenten season that it’s merely dust and ashes. 

Mark my forehead with those ashes - a sign of humility, a reminder of my mortality.

Bass, Rohr and Nouwen are my counselors (via e-mail.*) They are far more helpful than Job’s friends! 

Bass reminds me about “stripping the alter,” about our monuments turning to dust. It’s time to sweep out the attic; create something new. 

Rohr calls me away from prestige, success and influence. What he calls my survival dance is to be replaced by a sacred dance. 

Nouwen encourages a new focus: to think God’s thoughts, to speak God’s words, to take God’s action. 

May all of this take hold in my head and my life. Amen. 

* Links to Diana Butler Bass, Richard Rohr and Henri Nouwen: