Showing posts from November, 2011

Prepare the Way

Our turkey is thawing in the fridge, the sweet potatoes wait on the counter to be cooked, and well if the pie was in the house it would already be half-eaten. Thanksgiving gathers us around a table of abundance and we bump elbows with our relatives and friends. Around the table there can be everything from laughter to tension if the topics of religion or politics come up. Around the table we celebrate the truth that our connections with each other and with God matter and make a difference. Thanksgiving, in the popular culture signals the entrance to the holiday season. Shopping and parties and frenzied schedules. Thanksgiving in the church marks the entrance to Advent. Advent is a time set aside as the church to be intentional and prayerful about how we journey to Bethlehem to witness again and anew the birth of Jesus. Advent names aloud for all to hear that we already know the road to Bethlehem. This is one place where popular culture helps the church tell the story. Think

Stirring and Swirling Spirit

Something is supposed to happen at church when we gather. Maybe it is not as life changing, earth shattering and disorienting as Acts 2:1-13 makes church out to be. But the movement of God's presence in our midst when we gather as a community of faith holds the promise that something should, could, might just happen every time we gather. Acts 2 is the quintessential church beginning/birthday narrative. We read it on Pentecost every single year, which is celebrated 50 days after Easter. Perhaps reading it in the sanctuary is not the most appropriate place to read this passage. Pentecost is about God working outside the church: in our homes and in our lives. Maybe on Pentecost we would be better to gather as small groups in people's homes, read this passage, sit in silence and share where we've noticed traces of God's grace in our life since Easter morning. Pentecost connects to John 1:14: the Word became flesh and lived (or better yet, 'lives') among us


Hopefully the words of Acts 1 have been roaming around your heart and mind over the last week. Hopefully those words have even settled in and unpacked like welcomed house guest. Here is what I find so compelling about the beginning of Acts: the disciples have to wait. Essentially, they are ready to go. In verse 6, they question when God's kingdom, or realm, is going to be fully realized/fully present in their midst. You sense that the expectation is soon...very get out your calendars and mark the date kind of soon. Jesus responded by essentially saying, don't worry about that. And instead told them to wait. Now, if you are ready for something to happen, if you have your bags all packed ready to go, if you believe that any minute now there is going to be a dramatic, life-shifting kind of change in your life, being told to wait is heart breaking. If you want proof of this, think about an airport. There is a buzz of activity and anticipation. Then, if the