Pink Hats, Posters, and The Choice We Make Now

I ran into someone the other day who had just returned from the women’s march in Washington and she had with her a poster from the march.  As she unrolled it to show me she said, “I’m so glad I was there.  I’m going to put this poster in a safe place so my granddaughter can have it one day!” I know exactly how she feels.  I spent most of Saturday down on the National Mall with about 500,000 other... 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 been full of long days and late nights, important events and incredibly holy moments.  It’s been the best of what church can be during a... Read more

Dawn Is Breaking

Isaiah 49:1-7 I was trying to think where I was on this night eight years ago. I remember.  I lived in DC, where it was very cold weather on the eve of the inauguration of America’s first African American president.  Around the church where I was pastor, which was located just four blocks from the national mall, the streets were closed and security was high. Inside the church, staff and members were rolling out sleeping bags and making microwave popcorn,... Read more

Brave

John 1:29-42 For these weeks on Sunday mornings we’re doing the work of worship: hoping to try to demystify different parts of the worship service.  You’ll notice your annotated bulletin; you heard the exegetical summary of the gospel text.  It only seems fair that at least one of these weeks you get a little bit of insight into how the sermon gets written. It’s the biblical text that always take the lead in the sermon, so every Sunday it’s the... 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 different angles to make sure we understand the history, context, language, theology, and meaning of the text.  This is important, as you know, because it’s easy... Read more

Resolved

We’re just over a week in to the new year and based on my Facebook feed all the resolutions that were made just nine days ago are facing some pretty big uphill obstacles — at least the ones that haven’t been abandoned already. And if your list looks anything like the one I would have made had I even gotten to that stage this year, it’s no surprise: go to yoga class at least three times a week; spend two... Read more

Beloved

Matthew 3:13-17 A few years ago I went to a wedding shower at which all the guests walked in the door and someone slapped a nametag on our backs.  As an icebreaker we had to talk with folks and try to find out who our “match” was at the party.  I was delighted to finally find my match, Brad Pitt, and claim my nametag, which read, of course, “Angelina Jolie.” I promptly peeled my nametage off the back of my... 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 retelling will be the order of the day for us all.  Maybe for one night we can block out all we know to be true:... Read more

As If…We Had the Courage to Go Somewhere New

  Matthew 1:18–25   On December 8, just 10 days ago, Senator John Glenn died and 2016 further cemented itself in our minds as a really terrible year. It’s tremendous, the list of things that John Glenn accomplished in his life.  But if anybody asked you what he was most famous for, you’d know the answer.  John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth in space; curiously, he was also the oldest American to go there—he traveled to... 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, church leadership called in a coach, whose first order of business, he told us, was to meet with the pastor to provide support in this... Read more
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