Posts

Showing posts from August, 2016

Midweek Prayer

Image
God of the mid-week...and messy middle.
God of the beginnings...and half way through.
God of the light at the end of the tunnel...we pray is not a train.
Be with us today.

Move in our midst.
We pray for those we know who seem stuck in a Monday mindset.  Who struggle with stress. Who live with unrest. Who know pain in body, mind, spirit.
Move in our midst.
We pray for those we know who seem stuck in Tuesday.  Not at the beginning nor any where near the end. Who have weeks of chemo, rehab, treatments ahead.  Who wonder if there is strength that can sustain.
Move in our midst.
We pray for those in the middle, too far to turn back, but not quite seeing the end in sight.  Those who keep on keeping on. Plugging, plodding, and plowing away. Inch by inch.
Move in our midst.
We pray for those who are finding their way.  Starting to sense the possibility of crossing the finish line. A project or a procedure or a process complete.
Move in our midst.
We pray for those on the other side. Those wh…

Ignoring Lines

Image
I will admit that I have caught the adult coloring book craze. I find it to be relaxing when I let go of that inner art critic that wants to remind me that my efforts are not going to win a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair. When I don't listen to the voice that wants to say, "You are not really gonna show that to anyone, right?" When that voices says, "Well, I will give you a B- for effort." But then again, this really about anyone other than me. I find there is joy in the artistic expression that doesn't result in a sermon. I find there is joy in what could be called, "A waste of time." Or, "Unproductive". But in addition to not listening to that inner voice, outwardly, I am learning to color outside the lines. Letting the colors run free...not messy or sloppy...but free form. After all rarely in the world around us do color simply stop and stay in bounds. The blue hues of the sky fade and flow. The greens of the grass gently move fr…

Fully Alive

Image
"The glory of God is a human being fully alive!"  Maybe that is what St. Irenaeus meant...or maybe it has been co-opted by the self-help movement.  Of course, we know that matter matters to God, because God became human...fully alive in Jesus Christ...so that we might be fully alive.  So there must be something about creation that causes the sacred to stir.

Psalm 112 has been called the ABCs of anthropology....what it means to be fully human.  Just as Psalm 111 started with praise...so does 112.  There is something in praise that ties humans and the divine together.  Psalm 112 invites us as humans to be open to God, to not cling to fear, to be generous and gracious.  It is easy sometimes to turn this litany into a "do-to list" as though God requires this...which is a slippery slope to God demands this...and we find ourselves trying to appease an angry, frowning God whose unconditional love which now seems rather conditional!

As a preacher we are often cautioned …

Whole Hearted Ness

Image
I once heart that Psalm 111 offers the ABCs of theology.  It starts off with one word: "Hallelujah" which means "Praise" (halle) "God" (ja or Yah...as in Yahweh).  Our theology is a word about God. At it's best, theology is a prayerful, hopeful, honest, authentic, good word about God.  After this first word, the psalmist invites both individually and communally to worship.  We lift our eyes to look, study, stay open to God.  God's movement in our lives.  God is the one who provides food, covenant (or relationship), justice, and wisdom.  Verse 10 is that truism that reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.  Reverence is not about putting God on a pedestal, but a reminder that God is God and I am not.  That within our relationship with God there is always a dance of glimpses of grace (or traces!), but also honestly admit that we don't know everything.

There are two types of theology: Ap…

The Heart of the Psalms

Image
Psalms 96-99 are often called, "The Heart of the Psalms" and they are beautifully, poetically, and powerfully written words that invite us/immerse us into the holy.

Psalm 96 speaks of singing to God a new song.  The question is, how do we sing a fresh word to God?  It is easy sometimes to let our language grow complacent and stale.  We return time and time again to what is familiar, not necessarily because we find it meaningful, but it is what we've always done.  Plus, change is hard!  So, we trudge down the same well-worn ruts.  But Psalm 96 asks, "Why?"  Why do you keep singing a song with a half-heart?  Explore and expand, find words that at first might seem foreign or even awaken some fear of the unknown, but over time can begin to take you in new directions.  Our souls, like our physical bodies, need some variety along with the known.  To sing a new song because our still speaking and singing and creating God is awaken newness within us and around us.  Th…

Pause

Image
A quick pause from reflecting on the psalms for a short book report.

One of the things that is saving my life right now is reading good books...especially novels.  I love theology.  I love intelligent and thoughtful sentences I have to read two or three times...letting the words wash over me.  But I also love a good story.

This is a GOOD story.  It is about a middle school teacher and three young men in her class.  I totally don't want to spoil this...but suggest that you read it if you would like some insight into:

1.  Friendship
2.  The difficulties of family life
3.  The realities of the frailness of life
4.  Love a good adventure!  My English teacher was fond of saying that, "There are only two types of stories: a person leaves home and a stranger arrives."  This book is about three young men setting out on an adventure to see their teacher.

It is funny and insightful.

Two quick quotes that I loved:

Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge and …

Songs

Image
How do you sing to God a new song?  I wonder is it completely new?  Is it new words from your heart to a familiar tune?  If you had to write a new song to God...which don't laugh because my guess is that many hymn writers did not really think of themselves as professional musicians but as people of faith who wanted to share the good news.  Many of the great hymns are actually sung to tunes that people sang in the bar the night before church.  This was done to take something familiar and turn it on its head...give it new meaning and life.  Could you take a tune from today's culture and transform it with the words of faith spinning and stirring in your heart?  But I digress.

If you had to write a new song to God...where might you start?
With the melody?
With the words?
With a free association of thoughts?
How would you refine it?
Who would you share it with to get feedback and edits?

The world needs new songs.  We need fresh words from you.  Honestly, I get tired of my words.  …