A prayer to start the day

I wrote a little body prayer to use in the worship my colleague Jody Branson and I led each morning at Synod School this year. I had meant to find one in a book or something to use for the week, but I forgot to do it. So on the first morning of the week-long family conference I sat outside at a picnic table and scribbled something in my notes. A few folk have asked for it, so I thought I’d post it. As we prayed we touched our heads, eyes, ears, etc. I would have done it responsively if I had written it in time to include in the slides. Feel free to use it as you wish. 
Open our minds – that your Spirit may fill us with wisdom and knowledge.

Open our eyes – that we will see you all around us.

Open our ears – that we will hear your Word.
Use our mouths – to speak messages of love.

Use our hearts – to be moved by compassion.

Use our hands – to serve with humility.

Amen 

Worthy of the call? – a sermon on racism 

Colossians 1: 3-14

In an exchange of text messages relating to an up-coming vacation and reunion with my best friends from college, I explained to the host of our festivities that I had written and re-written our order of worship (not even mentioning the drafts of this sermon) three times already. My friend, a pediatric emergency room physician in a downtown children’s hospital on the east coast, which is to say, a woman who is no stranger to violence and tragedy, replied to me, “That is not a good commentary on life.”

It was only Thursday. Continue reading

They pay attention

I sent the little kids outside yesterday morning to pick up up the trash in the driveway from our 4th of July fireworks.*  When I went outside to see how they were doing this is what I found.IMG_5674

Of course it went up on Facebook immediately.  And Twitter. “This is what happens when you send the pastor’s kids out to clean up the trash from the fireworks.” And now it’s a blog post.  As one does. Continue reading

Doing the Hard Work – a sermon on 2 Corinthians 2:1-10

2 Corinthians 2:1-10

Relationships are messy. Family relationships, friendships, relationships between governments and citizens, even relationships within the body of Christ, the church. Or maybe especially in the church.  Relationships are messy.  All sorts of different feelings 834686599_957b43e9bband emotions drive the way we behave in our relationships.  Love is certainly one of them.  But so are worry and fear and sadness.  Desire and joy and delight.  Companionship and concern and compassion.  Jealousy.  Oh, jealousy is a tough one.  Most of our relationships are held together by an intricate web of any number of feelings, and since feelings themselves can get quite messy, relationships are almost always the same. Continue reading

Strength in Numbers – a sermon on 2 Cor. 1:1-11

As a colleague of mine and I were writing commentary on this whole sermon series together, she pointed out, “Books of the Bible rarely get much attention, but things were different when Second Corinthians was quoted by Donald Trump, back in January 2016. It made the news because Trump mistakenly called it “Two Corinthians.” He used it in a 24596845540_0cdec67612speech at Liberty University, quoting verse 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (Rev. Lia Scholl at RevGalBlogPals) 

While there are a few very well-known passages within this letter (the treasure we hold in clay jars, if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed we have a house not made with hands, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation), as a whole it is not one with which many of us are familiar as a whole.  I had to do some research myself to get ready. Continue reading

Something happened – a response to General Assembly Overture 50 

A year ago today, right at the start of worship, two elders of the church I serve stood beforeIMG_8905 the congregation to communicate a resolution that had passed that would make permissible, upon routine session approval, marriages between any two people for whom it is legal.  In other words, the session made the statement that weddings between same-sex couples would be considered and approved according to the same process and standards as weddings between opposite-sex couples.  Our church would not discriminate against same-sex couples seeking God’s blessing on and the church’s recognition of their marriage.  The sermon I preached later in that worship service is here.
Continue reading