Embodying worship- doing faith

 Lent begins the smudge of ashes right in the center of our foreheads. Ash on your forehead may garner weird looks. The ashes sometimes sprinkle down from our foreheads onto our nose, mask, or collar. Younger children may wonder if the ashes are hot?  They are not! Once I forgot to quickly wash my hands […]

Love matters more.

If I could speak like an angel (isn’t that the dream of every preacher, poet and playwright?),  if my influence stretched to 777million followers, but if my content lacked Love, then my words just add to the noise.  If you could prophecy and help guide us into a better future;  if you had an answer […]

God always welcomes us home

Our word Bible comes from the Greek word “biblia”, a plural noun meaning “the books”. Think books of the Bible like Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The first books were scrolls. Bound books opening on a hinged spine were a newer technology that the early church adopted and spread with evangelistic zeal. It would be 400 […]

Working on a Holy Dream

In 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech*. Before lifting us up to dream of a soul-force that might “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood”, King grounds these lofty dreams […]

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, […]