Goodbyes: A Meditation for Maundy Thursday

I think that one of the hardest and most beautiful parts of being human is saying goodbye.  All of us, it doesn’t matter who you are, say goodbye to dreams and expectations we’ve held for our lives…goodbye to places that hold meaning and ground us…and, goodbye to people we love.  When we say goodbye, whatever [Read More…]

Ashes, Ashes

Last week I received several expressions of gratitude for making myself available to impose ashes at two Ash Wednesday services. People said the kindest things, like: “I know you have so very much on your plate. Thank you for taking time out to lead services today.” I found these comments a bit curious, as leading [Read More…]

Praying in Dark Days

Having trouble finding the right words? Here’s last Sunday’s prayer prayed by Riverside’s Minister of Justice, Advocacy, and Change, Rev. Bertram Johnson. “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light, Keep us [Read More…]

Praying in Dark Days

The following is a pastoral prayer written and delivered in Sunday worship by my excellent colleague, Rev. Michael Livingston.  Michael has a way of capturing the collective yearnings of our hearts in ways that help our community pray together.  In these days, when finding the right words for even the most simple conversation is difficult, Michael’s [Read More…]

Executive Order

  Matthew 25:35-40   My name is Max Wolff. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Auschwitz. My name is Siegfried Wilmersdörfer. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Belgium. My name is Regina Blumenstein. The US turned me away at [Read More…]

Together

Exodus 1:8-20; Matthew 4:12-23 Here’s what I learned this week: sometimes being nasty is the same as being holy…and protest can be prayer. I returned late last night from a long day at the women’s march in Washington, D.C.  If you’re surprised to know I went, you should be.  This past week here at church has [Read More…]

The Work of Worship, Matthew 3:13-17

When they teach us to plan worship and preach in seminary one of the first skills we learn is how to use the historical-critical method to exegete the text we’re working with.  That sounds very complicated, but what it essentially means is this: before creating liturgy and proclamation we look at the biblical text from several [Read More…]

Again, A Meditation for Christmas Eve

(**This meditation was inspired by Bishop Will Willimon’s column Christmas: Herod in Trouble) Well, here we are, and it’s Christmas Eve, again. On the edge of yet another year, we hear the ancient story read, picture a peace-filled stable scene, and open our hearts to hope that all that sweetness we imagine in the story’s [Read More…]

Welcoming an Atheist at Church

This piece was originally written in January 2014. Early in my pastoral work I found myself in the middle of an intense season of transformation and conflict at my church. I wasn’t prepared for the dynamics I faced then; really, nobody at church knew quite what to do with the ongoing and painful situation. In desperation, [Read More…]

The Election is Over. Stop the Silence.

Objectively speaking, there has been very little in the political world that one might call good about the months leading up to the election. Now that the election is over (sort of), for Christian leaders everywhere there is at least one very, very good thing. Here it is: Donald Trump is no longer a candidate [Read More…]