Vulnerable in the Manger

Growing up, our porcelain nativity featured an angel with long flowing hair, suspended above the display on a tiny nail over the eave.  She held a banner proclaiming “peace on earth.” I thought about the angel reading Fred Craddock’s Commentary on Luke, which points out that there was no angelic glow around the manger.  The […]

Mary: a wide open and fearless heart

Luke tells us how Zechariah, a lay priest, was leading evening prayers in the courtyard of the temple. Each evening, a single priest entered the sanctuary to light the incense offering. Alone in the sanctuary, suddenly an angel appeared to Zechariah who was overcome with fear.  15 months later in the Jerusalem mountains, shepherds were […]

Iconoclast: Zephaniah’s Advent Album

Has this happened to you? Last week, I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for others to arrive when, through the bustle of clinking plates and spirited conversations at adjoining tables, the lyrics of the loudspeaker’s song slipped through the clatter. Leaning in to hear the lyrics I asked, “Did I just hear that? Is […]

Scrub away everything but Love

In the preindustrial Biblical world, someone in the fuller trade spent hours agitating loosely woven wool fabric for hours in vats of ashes, clay, chalk, or urine. This work chemically treated the fabric making it fuller and knitting the weave tighter. The work was done by hand with the fuller either agitating the fabric with […]

Practicing Wonder

Luke tells us that on Christmas Eve shepherds were in the fields around Jerusalem keeping watch over their flocks “when suddenly the glory of the Lord shone all around them.” That image “the glory of the Lord shining all around them” has gripped me since I was a child. I used to experiment with lighting, […]

a trajectory into thanksgiving

Ten hours earlier, I tied a Sunday bow tie, slipped on a jacket and headed to church. Driving home, I pulled the knot free and stepped back into our house with an unexpected joy. Gentle laughter rippled around my soul as I shared the details of our All Saints vespers service at the Blakeford Independent […]

Hannah’s Voice: Lament, Resistance and Truth

Israel’s royal editors helped shape the double volumes of Samuel and Kings. We see this in 1 Kings 15:23 along with words about King Asa’s foot disease. These histories of Israel’s prophets and kings begin with Hannah. (Full Stop)  In Hebrew, “Hannah” means favor or grace. Hannah Grace launches a resurgent prophetic movement, not just […]