Mary Magdalene: The Easter Angel

The Easter Gospel: John 20:1-18

Very often, my wife, Connie, will see me growing cranky looking for something. She says, “What are you looking for?” And no sooner than I name the elusive thing, she finds it. And often it had been hiding in plain sight, right in front of my nose.

Mary Magdalene pulls the same […]

Wounded Wise

This week’s “Dear Abby” column in our local paper started out with a letter from a 25-year-old woman lamenting the absence of a healthy role model in her life. Her father had abandoned the family years earlier, and her mother couldn’t seem to think of anyone other than herself.

It’s easy to get the impression that young […]

Ash Wednesday Petitions

Creator God,  we who stand before you are dust,    and to dust we shall return. But you have breathed into our lips your Holy Breath, so we are also … yours. Help us this Lent to come alive to your Spirit within us. Break down the walls around our souls with which we shut out […]

Say "No" to Fear

Remember those, “No Fear,” decals that young, tough men used to put on their pick-ups? Let’s bring them back and retool them to read, “No to fear.”

Talking with friends lately it is obvious that there is a great sadness enveloping us. We are sad because there are so many people who seem to be driven […]

Refugees, Trump and the Light of the World

Several months ago a team of people went into my heart and fixed it. They, in fact, probed with wires right up through both an artery and a vein in both of my upper thighs, right up into my heart, and burned a number of clusters of cells that were giving off electric signals that […]

The Animals Teach Us Advent Expectation

‘Tis the season for expectation. Pregnant waiting. Yearning flavored with confidence. Confidence born of experience.

Advent has always been a favorite time for me. Of course, as a child, it all led up to that moment when we drove home from Christmas Eve pageant, past the colored lights on the homes and along the runways of […]

More "Us" and Less World in Prayers

Of course, we all know it is a travesty for prayers and sermons to chant on about this and that abstraction. We heap up metaphors but cannot, for the life of us, speak in an apposite way or about practical truths. Saved by the blood of the cross? We explain it using ten more abstractions, and in […]

Evangelism as Deprogramming

 

 

Last night was a night of inspiration. Six motivated laypeople and I were discussing what good doctrine might teach us about current practices in our congregations, and the conversation turned to evangelism.

We returned to two ideas we had begun with five weeks before, as we began our look at “Lutheran Creeds and Confessions;” namely, […]

Christmas Eve Reflections

On this Christmas Eve Connie and I have been touched once again by the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College, Cambridge, England.

 

Two bits of verse from the carols especially touched me.

 

Here is the last verse of  “In the Bleak Midwinter” words by Christina Rosetti and music by Gustav Holst:

 

What can I […]

Handling the Primal

“I want to hold her,” Connie pleaded with me.

 

She rolled up her shirt and undershirt and took puppy Number One from me. An hour or so before I had called to Connie, “We’re losing her.”  

Puppy Number One is so small lying on Abbie’s foreleg. Photo by John

 

 

Tiny, black, with just a half of a […]