Clean Hands, Full Hearts (Can’t Lose): A Sermon About Purity and Tradition


7Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them.3(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze k … [Read more...]

If My Wings Should Fail Me


I'm back among the living after a week down with the flu. Not a 24 hour flu bug type thing: actual influenza. Think sharp knives stabbing your chest every time you cough (which is, let's just say, often) chills, all-over body aches and general awfulness. And then my husband and one of the kids got it, and well... all downhill from there.But like I said--I'm back among the living today, newly aware of the fragile state of life embodied.  It doesn't take much to lay us flat. And at all … [Read more...]

Holiness, Blessedness: All Around

Rev. Erika Marksbury preached this powerful sermon at SACC yesterday. I love how she reframes the beatitudes in terms of 'holiness' rather than 'happiness.' These texts are not prescriptive, she tells us. They don't give us instructions. They just tell us how it is...        Read and be blessed, on this cold Monday.These past few weeks we’ve been hanging out around the outskirts of Jesus’ community – we’ve seen him baptized, we’ve heard his cousin, and teacher, John the Baptist, tell the sto … [Read more...]

Songs from the Wilderness

I spent the morning of Good Friday roaming about in the desert with my dog. If you ask me, the desert is the only place to spend this day--literal or elsewise.Last year I wrote a piece about the proper sound track for Holy Week, and this year, the good folks over at The Salt Project featured the post.  They do beautiful work for Jesus and the world, and if you've never checked out their stuff, now's a good time.Meanwhile, my desert journey this morning took me back to the beginning of Lent, a … [Read more...]

Soul Seasons

A pumpkin latte in my hand. From Not Starbuck's. A cool crisp 62 degrees out. I am on a porch swing with a background of lush foliage, bleeding slowly from green into reds and browns and yellows. I am wearing my favorite brown sweatshirt, and reading a really great library book. The day ahead is miraculously full of nothing but open time, save playing with my kids, and later having some friends over for dinner.OK, so almost none of those things is true. I do, in fact, have a pumpkin(ish) … [Read more...]

For Such a Time as This

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I was sitting on the floor of my crummy first-year-of-being-a-grownup apartment, doing grad school homework that i should have done the night before, and getting ready to go to class. Which means I probably shouldn't have been watching tv, but was. When the plane hit the first tower, i went and woke up my roommate, who was still sleeping. "What? That's crazy!" she said. I ran quickly back to the tv to find out what a breathless world was waiting to find out--what sort of mechanical error, … [Read more...]

The Sacred Struggle

I was cooking dinner and trying not to get sucked in. It is only September. Of the year BEFORE the election year. I am not ready for the emotional angst, the loaded sermon fodder, the toxic wasteland that is partisan rhetoric. It was on in the background, but I was determined not to engage.When I heard the applause, I turned around. I'm listening now,  i thought numbly. I looked to see if I'd really heard what I'd just heard. My husband and I looked at each other, appalled. "Rewind that," I … [Read more...]

Joyful Noise

I never know who "they" are, but "they" say you should start reading to your baby very young. In-utero, if possible. When they are very small, long before the sounds make words, the rhythm of your voice is soothing. It lulls them to sleep. It connects them to the sound of you. While they are small enough to be still in your arms and not try to escape, the joy of reading takes root in them. Meanwhile, word by word, something like language begins to take shape. It starts out as white noise, but … [Read more...]



It was a rare (RARE) Saturday afternoon moment. Both kids were asleep at the same time, and my spouse was out of the house. I had just settled into the good chair with a library book, and the phone rang. I glanced over and there it was...the "unknown caller."What do you do? I almost never answer. Especially not on a Saturday, when there are sleeping babies and good books to be read.  It was almost a no-brainer.And yet, this time, I answered. For whatever reason. And it was my brother, ca … [Read more...]