September 27, 2021

  Last week I told you about how low I had been, and how a long drive and a visit with an old friend gave the Holy Spirit an opportunity to bless my socks off. I basked in the glow of that anointing all week long. My increasingly pessimistic soul is more than pleasantly surprised by that. Funny how the Almighty does all that mysterious, life-breathing, creative stuff in you when you get out of the way. I am so… Read more

September 24, 2021

If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell (Mark 9:47).   My godmother sighed with sorrow as she told me why her husband had recently been asked to stop acting as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion after many years of devoted service. He had become somewhat frail and his health was poor, but he… Read more

September 20, 2021

  In Need of Some Hope In what seems to be an ongoing season of trauma and tragedy (for example, I had FIVE funerals in the past eight days), signs of hope may seem hard to come by. What could be more hopeful than deciding to start a life of commitment together? One of my dearest friends—I was her bridesmaid, she was my matron-of-honor—is getting ready to celebrate her oldest daughter’s wedding next weekend. I have been really looking forward… Read more

September 17, 2021

  “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”   Today’s gospel from Mark has Jesus using the reception of a child to illustrate radical servanthood…. Read more

September 13, 2021

  Sometimes you get overwhelmed. The burden of your responsibilities feels too heavy. It seems like everyone is demanding something of you. There is so much to do, and you don’t have enough time to do it. Your ears begin to ring. You get a headache, an upset stomach, maybe your bad back acts up. Your sleep is disrupted with racing thoughts. It feels like too much. Then you see a poster at the library about “Astronomy Night” at the… Read more

September 10, 2021

I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living (Ps. 116:9).   One night, I dreamed that I was sitting on the beach, people-watching. Children were digging in the sand, some building sandcastles and some burying each other. Adults stretched out on towels, some watching children and others working on their tans. Dogs ran in the surf, trying to catch seagulls. Swimmers and surfers jockeyed for position in the waves while lifeguards kept watch from tall platforms… Read more

September 6, 2021

Those of you who have known me a while know that as a career educator who follows an academic calendar, I consider Labor Day the REAL start of the New Year. That this Labor Day falls upon the same day as the start of Rosh Hoshannah, the Jewish New Year, is serendipitous, I think. Many years, I will draft goals and resolutions over this long holiday weekend. I am not doing that this year. Instead, I am offering up a… Read more

September 3, 2021

  “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”   “The Lord gives sight to the blind; the Lord raises up those who were bowed down.”   The miracles mentioned in this Sunday’s Scripture – in Isaiah 35 and Psalm 146 – are good things, and certainly something to rejoice over. However, one can’t help wondering… Read more

August 30, 2021

There is so much going on that I am overwhelmed. It seems I keep noting the horrors happening around the world—Afghanistan, Covid-19, wildfires… Last week I added hurricanes to the list of things upsetting us all. Henri took a sharp left west, and most of us got off easy with just a lot of rain. My friends and several colleagues an hour south of me on the Rhode Island coast lost power for three or four days, but they, too,… Read more

August 27, 2021

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts (Mark 7:6–7).   I had such great plans for this week’s Dark Devotional. Last Thursday, I looked at the upcoming readings well ahead of time, found a verse I decided would pair perfectly with riffing off of yet another faux Screwtape letter, written in the style of C.S. Lewis’s demon, I’d found online, and got… Read more

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