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Showing posts from December, 2011

In Between

Beginning this Sunday, January 1 and through Easter morning, I will be walking sequentially through the Gospel of Mark in our Sunday morning worship. Some of my upcoming posts will be on the passages in Mark I will not be preaching on. You can hear the sermons I do preach on through the church's website . I will also still post traces of God's grace that I notice within my life. I hope these in between passages along with the sermons will help open you to the mystery and power of Mark's story telling. Click here to read Mark 1:21-45 Jesus begins his ministry in the wilderness through baptism and prayer. It is Mark's nod to Exodus where the Jewish people wandered for forty long years. Out of the wilderness, Jesus gathers and attracts a community of people around him. We often marvel at the willingness of the disciples to leave a job in order to follow him. And yet, in Jesus' day to be invited to follow a teacher or a rabbi was like getting into an esteem

Merry Christmas

On a silent night On a holy night Long ago the first faint gleam of Christmas Broke into our world It all happened in a little town of Bethlehem And while others might have said, ' what child is this ?' Two parents knew in their hearts who the child was Who slept away in a manger But that wasn't all Angel from the realms of glory Sang out with gusto to shepherd who watched their flock by night And hark the herald angels sing out still The good news of great joy to all people Unto us a child was born Unto us a son give Who is the light to the world Who is the response to the prayer, O Come, O Come Emmanuel Who is Christ. As we inch toward that silent night and holy night this year, May God's unconditional and unceasing love's pure light Shine forth in your life. Thank you for reading Grace Traces...I look forward to continuing to share random thoughts and moments when I notice the traces of God's grace in my life in ways that hopefully speak deeply to y

Stage Set

Over the last several weeks, I have been searching for a new nativity set. Our current set is made of porcelain and is fragile. I really wanted one my kids could touch without sending my anxiety soaring that they might drop one of the pieces. One of the reason why I think nativity sets are important is they invite us to stand in the straw. We see the scene and we are drawn into the stable to be part of the cast of characters witnessing the birth of Jesus. But most importantly, creche pieces are met to be held in our hands because the whole set proclaims the most basic, profound truth of Christmas: God comes into our lives, God moves into our neighborhood, God in flesh and bone . Christmas is not some abstract idea about God. Rather, Christmas proclaims loud and clear that the living, breathing, laughing, crying, eating with outcasts, calling fishermen and women at the well to be disciples, story telling, bread breaking, trial facing, death conquering God comes into our life aga

Left...over

My family and I are still noshing on leftover turkey. Which got me thinking about how leftovers have really gotten a bad reputation over the years. True...turkey sandwiches night after night can numb the taste buds...but leftovers can also inspire us to try new recipes or even experiment with our own culinary talents. And that got me thinking about the sermon I preached on Jeremiah 18:1-11 a few weeks ago...Thanksgiving weekend actually. There are some times I want a mulligan on sermons. Not that the one I preach was necessarily bad (you can click here to hear the "Reformed and Reshaped sermon ) It was just that I could sense that a few of the pieces were not quite coming together the way I'd like. This passage from Jeremiah talks about God being like a potter who reworks a 'marred' piece of clay. On the surface, this can feel like a less than affirming image of God or of us as humanity either. To be sure, we all have flaws or things we want to change. But t