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 […]

Empty Lambing Pen--Empty Tomb

           Saint Matthew’s account of the Empty Tomb contains this angelic message: “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, […]

The Woman at the Well

The famous dialog between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is part of a series of beautifully crafted dialogs in the Fourth Gospel. Several themes appear repeatedly in this series.

 

Spiritual knowing or seeing is one theme. Jesus is operating on the highest spiritual plane and he works to lift others up—something that […]