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Showing posts from February, 2012

Singing a Psalm

Psalms are important for several reasons. First, since psalms are really a hybrid of poetry and song, you need to slow down when you read one. Imagine letting each line taking several seconds to read so it sinks into your mind, heart and imagination. Second, I recently ran across this thought from Eugene Peterson, “The prayer life of Jesus was formed, as the lives of all praying Jews were formed in the first century, by the Psalm - those 150 prayers that gather everything in our lives into a responsive believing and obedience to God.” (The Jesus Way, pg. 218). As we open our hearts and imaginations to the psalms that very action is prayer.
Today, the psalm I selected is Psalm 2, not usually one that makes our Top Ten Lists of the best loved psalms of all time. But Psalm 2 is one of the most quoted psalms in the New Testament. Portions of this psalm are found in Matthew 3:17; Acts 4:25-26 and 13:33; Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5; 2 Peter 1:17; Revelation 2:26-27, 12:5 and 19.15. So, I encourage …

Grief

I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping
Psalm 6:6

This week I have two funerals on two consecutive days. This is unusual for me. But, it gives me time to think prayerfully about how we do and do not deal with grief in our world.

Most of us are uncomfortable with grief. This is in spite of the fact that every single day we encounter moments of loss and the grief that comes with it. Often these are little things. Maybe we notice that our body is not healing as quickly as we'd like. Maybe we are facing a job transition. Maybe we notice that our kids seem older. Maybe we see a co-worker retire whose wisdom we always appreciated. Maybe a friend moves out of the community. Then, of course, there is the grief we sense when someone passes from this life into the next.

The psalms are full of honest emotions in response to heartfelt grief. Especially the one listed above. Another translation of the passage is that the psal…

Ordinary

It has felt like an ordinary, average week. Trudging through the days with my trusty to-do list on my desk, checking off items, and generally immersed in the everyday-ness of life. That feels true around the church where the nearest sacred day (Easter) is a little less than two months away, but also feels true at home where the routine of making lunches, doing homework, and the day in, day out common events have worn a rut in our lives.

Don't get me wrong, I love schedules. I like the orderliness of it all. To be honest, it makes me feel like I am in control, because I know what to expect next. Yet, I also like serendipity and some surprises every day.

This week was short of surprises. Usually, when I think of traces of God's grace, those surprise moments are the ones that rise to the top for me...like cream. But when it is an ordinary, average week; when nothing in particular seems to distinguish itself from the to-do list, what then?

Is God found in moments when I am …

Faithful Seeing

Mark 6:47-56

The often quoted and somewhat misleading cliche is that, "Seeing is believing". It is phrase shaped by the Enlightenment where what could be observed through the scientific method was believed to be closest to the truth. What the phrase misses is that what we see, experience, taste, and touch can have an emotional impact on how we see and what we believe.

A quick example: both my kids are now playing basketball. I love both my kids, but they could not be more opposite in their personalities. Every Saturday, my wife or I trek down to the Y and cheer on our kids. It is a blast. But what do I see when I watch my daughter who constantly passes the ball and has yet to try to take a shot? What do I see when my son races for every rebound? What I see is an extended reflection of what I am coming to know of both their personalities. In some ways, what I believe can impact what I see or at least what I am willing to see.

The disciples six chapters into Mark's g…