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Edgar Allen Poe meets John Bunyan in this terrible little fable that’s snuck into our lectionary this week. In Mark 6:14-29, a local politician’s birthday party ends with the decapitation of an itinerant preacher. This dark story feels out of place in a gospel that is notorious for not wasting words or time (Mark uses the word “immediately” so often that this gospel could be called “The Gospel of Jesus Who Is In A Tremendous Rush”). Why does Mark include this,… Read more

“Pilgrimage” always sounds like an exhausting affair. We imagine dour monks in brown robes, praying solemnly on their way to very holy places, or maybe Reese Witherspoon in Wild, screaming and throwing her boots off the ledge while bandaging her blisters. Long journeys are for the relentless and unsmiling, wearing heavy packs and getting up while it’s still dark to cook tasteless food that is meant for sustenance but not pleasure. “Sustenance, not pleasure” sums up how we view Ordinary… Read more

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 Lectionary Text for July 1 Sixth Sunday After Pentecost I came into church one Sunday, and the soft ambient light on the back wall behind the pulpit was red instead of white. “That’s so weird,” I whispered to my friend. “Why is everything red today?” “Oh, it’s because it’s Pentecost,” she whispered back. “It’s… Read more

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