Palms and Passion

Only a few days separated when the crowds cheered and sang loudly and joyously as Jesus rode into Jerusalem until the religious and civic leaders had him hung on a cross to die. Our Palm/Passion Sunday compresses that emotional roller coaster into a few minutes. Come and join the parade, waving palm branches and singing… Continue reading Palms and Passion

Be Merciful

Woman slapped with colored dust

"Do to others as you would have them do to you." The Golden Rule, with various adaptations, appears in the sacred writings of several religions. The version as recorded in the Gospel according to Luke, may be the most challenging to fulfill. One can readily pray for those who abuse you without anyone ever knowing.… Continue reading Be Merciful

Blessings for Life

Pastor blesses person laying in bed.

Not once in over twenty years of ministry have I been asked to provide pastoral care for someone who received a raise or promotion. On the other hand people living on the margins—those who lost a job and dependent on our food pantry for meals or who weep over a sudden illness or death of… Continue reading Blessings for Life

Follow Akela

After a long night the men had caught not one fish. Not only would they go hungry but also their family and neighbors. As they washed and dried their nets and a crowd gathered around a teacher. The crowd pressed in on on the teacher, pushing him toward the shoreline. He stepped into one of… Continue reading Follow Akela

Unquenchable Fire

Baptism font reflecting stained glass window

"When you baptize her, can I be between her and the font?" the girl had asked me. On that particular Sunday three girls would join the church, one by baptism and two by confirmation of the baptism that they received as infants a dozen years earlier. The girl who wanted to be closest to the… Continue reading Unquenchable Fire

You Want Me?

Did Mary have a choice? The angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her that she would conceive and bear a son and name him Jesus. After a brief conversation, Mary replied to the angel's offer saying: "Here I am, a servant to the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." If… Continue reading You Want Me?

Open Doors

Nine of the ten translations of the Bible on the shelf next to me relegate the 37th verse of the 8th chapter of the book of Acts to a footnote. Even my Greek New Testament includes it only as a footnote citing none of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. Most (including the one translation… Continue reading Open Doors

Ministry Continues

You are witnesses of these things. — Luke 24:48 When writing reflections for a memorial service I like to list how the deceased had exemplified the Triune God; how he or she had demonstrated a love for creation and all of God's creatures, had connected people with one another, and had demonstrated divine grace and peace.… Continue reading Ministry Continues

Forgive Yourself

Sometimes forgiving other people is easier than forgiving ourselves. Jesus told a parable about a young man who ran off with his inheritance, even before his father had died. When he runs out of money, he longs to eat the scraps given to the pigs. His pride got in the way of reconciling with his… Continue reading Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness as Healing

How many friends do you have who would take you from your bed and carry you to someone else's home, make a hole in that other person's roof, and you would trust them to lower you through that hole so you could be healed of what harms you? Word of Jesus' ability to teach and… Continue reading Forgiveness as Healing