What’s your break-the-glass scripture?

I suspect that a lot of us have some break-the-glass resources we keep stashed away in our lives, resources we turn to in moments of trial. Read more

Are you glad for God’s works?

You, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy (Psalm 92:4) There’s little that impedes life in Christ more than the inability to experience delight.  Our spirits get crusted with disappointment and jadedness, annoyance and lumps of judgmentalism.  We gaze at the world and sees nothing worthy of our interest and attention.  Nothing worthy of us. It’s easy to fall into this sort of attitude.  The things that annoy us… Read more

Snatching a Meal From the Word

What if we read the Bible with the sense that God will speak to us what we really need to hear? Read more

Hungering for one thing

We ate at a big city burrito joint not long ago.  It’s a good sign when the line meanders out the door and people are pressing forward so that there’s scarcely space to sit.  The city was hungry, and so were we.  These were some good burritos. Jesus taught about hunger when he taught us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread,” he was teaching a reliance on God for our daily needs.  May God grant us the… Read more

Church in place

We spent the last week wandering around Boston.  We lived in the city when we were first married, and it’s one of our favorite places.  Down in South Boston, near a canal and a swathe of red brick warehouse buildings, we stumbled upon a little chapel: Our Lady of Good Voyage.  It’s a shrine originally built for sailors and dock workers to stop and pray in the midst of their labors in an age when Boston would have been largely Catholic…. Read more

Faith, fear, and love

Faith feels like the bottom dropping out of life.  In a good way. I know, I know–faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).  But there’s so much mystery, so much that we can’t wrap our heads around, so much that confounds any attempt on our part to put together a faithful story.  My faith gives me assurance, but not foreknowledge.  Faith is a skittery thing–at least for me.  I experience faith… Read more

Standing to hear the gospel

I worshiped with a different congregation yesterday.  They’re a church on the deep end of the liturgical tradition, which means they had an elaborate, sturdy ritual scaffolding to hold God’s people before God in prayer.  The church was high-ceilinged, marbled, and gilt.  There were columns and candles and a great throne for the bishop above which hung a shield with the word humilitas–humility–which I found strangely endearing. I love this sort of thing; I’m a high-church soul in a low-church ecclesiastical body…. Read more

Which way?

A long time ago in a college far, far away, I took a philosophy course.  I quickly came to admire my professor’s discipline, the strictness of his thought categories, the way he seemed to run his life along nice, straight lines.  He had taught himself to draw a perfect circle freehand on the chalkboard.  He used a ruler to underline events in his desk calendar.  He had this orderly way of logicking in the world, and I liked his approach:… Read more

On completing my to-do list

I arrived at an amazing place today: I completed my to-do list.  (Okay, I still need to iron a few shirts, but close enough).  In preparation for a summer sabbatical time that my congregation has kindly given me, I’ve been wrapping up loose ends and laying aside responsibilities.   We’ve got some travel planned, but I’ve also set aside generous dollops of wide open time. A week ago someone asked me what I would do all summer.  “Are you just going… Read more

What is a call to ministry?

A long time ago in the big city, I was a graduate student studying the New Testament.  My wife and I had another student and his wife over for supper, and we were talking shop: Bible and theology, church and history.  Our friends were these passionate Presbyterians, and I was saying something judicious about finding the idea of ministry attractive, when he said to me, “So why don’t you go into ministry?” “Because I’m not called,” I demurred. “So get… Read more

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