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Showing posts from February, 2017

Sunday Morning Prayer

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I was glad...when was the last time that was the first response/reaction on Sunday morning?
Gladness...not just happy because happiness is fleeting and fading.
Gladness is like a stream that I don't control.
Gladness can wash over me, like baptismal waters.
Gladness gets me caught up in the current.
Gladness isn't about rational, reasonable sense.
Gladness just is.

I was glad when they said...
what have you heard around you this week?
Maybe the truth that if it was for bad news there wouldn't be any news at all.
Maybe words that were harsh like sandpaper.
Maybe absence of words in a stony silence between you and someone you love.
What kind of invitations did you get this week?
Besides ones to save money on insurance...or cable...or enter to win valuable prizes.
Do you hear that sing-song voice of God calling you?

But these voices actually invite us to church...
And this isn't just about coming to save your soul, like a golden ticket to Willa Wonka's factory.
This…

Sacred Every Day Part One

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The season of Lent begins tomorrow with an Ash Wednesday Service.  Over the next forty days, I want to invite you into sensing the sacred all around you.  So much of faith seems to compartmentalize and categorize life.  We get tripped and trapped into thinking that God lives at church.  But as Eugene Peterson translates John 1, the invitation is to see God moving into our neighborhood, into our lives, awakening us not to a new truth, but one that was hidden ~ like a treasure in the field.  The treasure in your very soul.  Yet, we are also not always great at tending our own soul.  Left to our own devices, it is easy (at least for me) to take some random exit ramp and end up stuck in the weeds and reeds of life.  For me, this invitation is not only about the individual.  We need community.  I need folks who will journey with me in the midst of the ups and downs/twists and turns.  The sacred every day is about seeing the sacred flow or animating energy or God moving, still creating and…

It Is Well with My Soul Part 2

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After talking about this hymn...I found this beauty of this video.  I love that the words about peacefulness are juxtaposed in a gray, almost barren scenery.  That seeming contradiction, reminds us that even in the chaos and clutter and cold of the bleak midwinter...God is still up to something.  So instead of more words from me today...just enjoy this beautiful video.

Grace and peace ~~

It Is Well with my Soul

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After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death.  When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.”  And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof;  therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed.  For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”  When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and…

More than a day Part Three

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Sunday morning prayer...


On this day a truth echoed from an empty tomb.
Love wins.
No longer did desertion and denial and betray have the last word.
Love wins.
No longer did military might and flexing your muscles and get yours while the getting is good make sense any more.
Love won.
Not some score keeping victory...not to the blaring soundtrack of "We are the champions" as ticker tape fell from the sky.
Love won in a quiet way.
In a garden where only a few women stepped inside an empty tomb.
Heard their own breathing echoing off the walls...
Perhaps how Moses felt before that burning bush hearing, "Yahweh"...which is exactly what it sounds like to inhale and exhale.
Breath...life...promise.
But resurrection was not simply resuscitation;
Nor was it some mental gymnastics or reduced to some prayer.
Resurrection is new life where we break through the waters of injustice and discrimination and division.
Resurrection was a taste of God's realm where we now breathe…

More than a day Part Two

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 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  Luke 6: 32-36

In the famous words of the theologian Charlie Brown..."Good grief!"  This isn't getting any easier.  A second time Jesus brings up the loving your enemies invitation and know we aren't suppose to expect anything in return?  That is challenging wisdom because sometimes I wanted to love my enemies...take the high road...to feel a bit superior.  I want to love them as the Apostle Pau…

More than one day

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“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.  Luke 6:27-31

One of my favorite quotes is that, "The Christian practice has not been tried and found wanting.. It has been found difficult and left un-tried."  I put the above part of the Sermon on the Plain in that category.  These words set the bar so high for Christians to clear.  Loving our enemies?  I would rather be stuck in a room with a walrus, wallaby, and a whale; which is a great premise for a joke.  But that is the point.  Jesus is turning the world upside down and inside out and two thousand years later, we still struggle.  We tend to not even get clo…

Feasting Part Three

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“But woe to you who are rich,  for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets. Luke 6:24-26

God...I would rather Luke would not make me so uncomfortable.
I would rather get caught up in the blessings rather than these woes.
I would rather get caught up in my own self-righteousness,
Than that empty net Peter washed on the shore line after not catching anything.

Yet...this woe is not about guilt.
It is not about fingers wagging or frowns or smiting.
It is about caution...care...that my wealth can insulate me for the poor, lost and lowly.
It is strong words least I too easily dismiss that my full stomach is different than two-thirds of your beloved children.
It is passionate words least I too easily lean on my lorales and not reach out to those who struggle and feel weighed down by …

Feasting Part Two

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He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.  Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.  Luke 6:17-21

First the healing...
Then the words.
First the listening...looking in eyes...extending God's love.
Then the theology.
How often have I gotten that backwards?
How often has my preaching, pontificating and prose rung hallow in hearts that simply wanted to be seen
hugged
loved?
How often I have I preached rather than looked?

God...help turn me upside down and…

Feasting

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One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them.  But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”  Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”  Luke 6:1-5

A single seed of grain sits in my hand,
Resting and rolling slightly.
Awakening me to the a deeper truth,
That I might rest in God's hand.

Other places in Scripture proclaim,
"Why do you hunger for that which is not food?"
And yet, I do.
I hunger sometimes for power, prestige, privilege.
Hunger to be known.
And yet no amount of positive image can feed me
The way trusting that I am created in God's image does.

We make a…

Blessed Brokenness Part Four

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Then they said to him, “John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.” Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you?  The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old.  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.  But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.  And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”

Growing up, I remember sometimes my parents would compare my brother and I to each other.  "Look, your brother Scott ate all his lima beans."  And this went both ways.  "Loo…

Blessed Brokenness Part Three

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When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown t…

Beloved Brokenness Part Two

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Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

I love the above painting.  It is dynamic and has movement to it.  It is also heartbreaking because Jesus is already in the posture of the cross...arms extended and head hung low.  When we set a course of our life...point our toes to go a certain way...our choices matter and make a difference.  When I moved to Florida, it meant saying "No" to other people and places in my life.  For Jesus, baptism charts a course.  To be sure, in the journey of Jesus' life there are many exit ramps between the Jordan and Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  In the journey of Jesus' life there are many moments he could have decided to go another way.

When you look back at your life, the script you have written, what moments h…