Nice Guys Finish Best

Saint Paul's command: "Rejoice!" at first glance fits well with the excitement, preparations, and anticipation of Christmas, except perhaps for those who will be gathering as a family with a newly empty seat at the table, for those whose future is uncertain because of cancer, or for those who have lost a home due to… Continue reading Nice Guys Finish Best

Christmas Story of Salvation

This Sunday you can hear God's story of salvation as told through Christmas carols arranged by Gustav Holst. A short reading will set the scene for each set of carols. The music will convey the grandeur of the throne room of God, Mary sweetly singing a lullaby, the uncertainty of visiting shepherds, and the joy… Continue reading Christmas Story of Salvation

Bringing the Light

Poinsettia in front of the pulpit with purple parament

Why do we have green leaves and red berries on our Advent wreath? Who all was involved in bringing the Light of Life into the world? Why do we light candles when we prepare for Christmas? Why do we bring Poinsettia to church? What is the story behind Christmas trees? Why do we decorate them… Continue reading Bringing the Light

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

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