Showing posts from October, 2013


Rescue me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck  Psalm 69 Humans have a tremendous capacity for compassion and cruelty.  Humans have an amazing ability to justify our actions.  Life would be great and perfect if not for that one person who is like nails on a chalkboard and whose voice causes your shoulders to tense so tightly they are sore for days.  And because the church is made up of humans...all of the above are true. In those moments when our words cause brokenness, when we decide to speak words that hurt, and when our tone because angry and judgment...even if we think we are justified...we introduce chaos into the ears, hearts, and whole lives of the person on the receiving end of what falls from the tips of our tongues. In Psalm 69, the psalmist speaks of getting caught up in the undertow and sinking down into the slime of deep, dark place.  Chaos is the beginning place of creation in Genesis 1, but Scripture never says that chaos is completely conqu

When is a hymn not a hymn?

To You silence is praise, O God  Psalm 65:1 Shout out to God, all the earth. Hymn God's name's glory. Make God's praise glory.   Psalm 66:1 So one of the amazing realities of the Bible is often stories are set side by side that are inherently and blatantly contradictory without so much of a note of explanation or effort of rationalization.  Psalms 65 and 66 are one example.  (So are Genesis 1 and 2 - does God create with a Word or by sinking God's fingertips into the dirt and mud of earth?  The Bible seems to answer that question by simply saying, "Yes" with a smile on it's face).   Psalm 65 talks about silence as praise.  Being silent and sitting still long enough for our souls to catch up with us.  Listening to the sounds around us, even if all we hear is our own breathing.  Being immersed in the beauty of what Psalm 42 describes as the "deep calling out to the deep".  When that which is within us calls out and cries out for God.

Renovation part two

Renovation is about change.  You cannot remove pews, tear up carpeting, sweep up the debris, then say, "Whew, I am spent..You know on second thought, I am not so sure about this any more.  Let's go grab that ripped up, tattered, torn carpet out of the dumpster."  On of the paradoxes of our faith is that we are a people who inherit a tradition handed down from our forefathers and fore-mothers.  On the other hand, our faith is dynamic, always changing, never static.   Faith is always changing.  Faith is always changeless.  It is a mystery.  On Sunday we gathered around the communion table, a tradition that goes back thousands of years.  We broke bread, just like always.  We poured juice, just like always.  I spilled onto the altar guessed it...just like always.  But we also sang a new song to gather us around the table.  We were also communing in Fellowship Hall which was new.  And there was just a different feeling, a sacred feeling, but a new Spirit

Remodeling Faith part one

Guard me, O God, for I shelter in You.   Psalm 16:1 This week we began renovating, re-imagining, and re-creating our sanctuary.  Since last Sunday, furniture was stored, pews were moved, carpet was torn out, stubborn tack strips were pried up, nails pulled, and the floor from the late 1800s was revealed.  All of that transpired in approximately forty-eight hours.   Yet, if you walk into that transformed sanctuary this morning, there is something still sacred and familiar.  Last Sunday I shared that the first time I walked into the sanctuary at the church I serve, I was speechless.  I was swept up in the beauty that was beyond words and felt the sacred stirring.  The same could be said today.  Only now stirring in the air with the Spirit is dust.  Now, get swept up are still little bits of construction debris.  Now when you talk there is an echo...echo...echo...of your voice, like when God called out to Elijah in a still small voice in 1 Kings 19 . In this passage Elijah cam