Plenty of Green Grass

Miracle stories are problematic. Until the middle ages, miracle stories were considered proof of God working in and through a particular person. Renaissance scholars sought explanations that aligned the text with scientific explanations of the laws of nature. Today miracle stories for many people have become barriers to faith. In this week's Gospel lesson Jesus feeds… Continue reading Plenty of Green Grass

Giving All

US Flag reflecting among names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall

For many years I evaded and avoided Veterans Day events. After hearing a speech by a veteran about honor and service to country, all the veterans present would be asked to stand, often by branch of service, so that those who did not serve might thank them.  These events often make me feel that my… Continue reading Giving All

Already and Not Yet

Candles around baptismal font

Halloween first appeared in ~1550 as a contraction of All Hallows Even. The evening before All Saints Day. The rituals we observe today may have originated in early Celtic harvest festivals that were Christianized to ease converts into the faith. The ritual observances of All Saints Day, while not as well known as Halloween, continue… Continue reading Already and Not Yet

A Living Sacrifice

We make sacrifices throughout our lives. Parents make financial sacrifices, scrimping and saving to send their children to sports coaches or college. Employees may be asked to sacrifice a raise to save a struggling company, saving many jobs. Ball players may make a sacrifice bunt, taking an out to advance a runner. Chess players may… Continue reading A Living Sacrifice

Body Building

Several years ago, my doctor asked me about my eating, especially at church events. "As pastor," I said, "I need to try a little bit of what each person brings so as not to offend anyone." After additional prodding I admitted that this included about a half-a-dozen small portions of the various deserts. My wise… Continue reading Body Building

Temples for the Holy Spirit

How well do you house the Holy Spirit? Or do you not know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit within you … — 1 Corinthians 6:19 Historically temples have been places where gods were perceived as living. Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem as a place not so much to house God, but… Continue reading Temples for the Holy Spirit

Ashpenaz has Pizzaz

"I fast every Tuesday," a colleague told me when I had asked him about going to lunch. But when Daniel's request to not eat food that the king had chosen for him and his colleagues had life threatening consequences for Ashpenaz. For my colleague, fasting was a spiritual discipline and a means of connecting with… Continue reading Ashpenaz has Pizzaz

Worship as Healing

Do you want to know who your real friends are? Not merely the list of names of people who read and like similar posts on social media, but friends you can count on? Get sick or go to jail. From the earliest days, long before microscopes which could view germs had been invented, people knew… Continue reading Worship as Healing

Encouraging One Another

Baptism font reflecting stained glass window

You do not need to come to church this Sunday, or for that matter, any Sunday, as a condition for your own salvation. Leviticus prescribes numerous sacrifices for various occasions to demonstrate sincerity of heart. Keeping these sacrifices would keep a set of priests busy and standing full time. But we have the perfect sacrifice in… Continue reading Encouraging One Another

One in Worship

Where have you worshiped? In my various roles in the church I have visited a wide variety of congregations. Visiting a very large congregation and sitting a pew towards the back of the sanctuary, worship felt as if it happened on the stage for the congregation to watch. The entire service was well polished and professional.… Continue reading One in Worship