That very first day I stood in the serving line for the Bread of Life we were serving a Wednesday meal out under the pecan trees. I stood that fall evening at the beginning of the line passing out the plastic serving ware—you know the kind that have all the white utensils, a salt and pepper packet and a little napkin. I had never served—not in this way. Oh, I have served all of my life but only to my peers. To men and women who looked like me and shopped where I shopped and took their children to the same school. You know, it was a kind of mutuality in service.Read More Post a comment (2)
His eyes scanned the congregation from the familiar confines of the pulpit that bore the evidence of many a page turn, sweaty palms and coffee spills. His eyes were met by many others; a few hungry for nourishing words, some only mildly amused, others tentative and uncertain, still others hiding veiled pain and hostility. The punishing schedule of producing what amounted to an essay every week, all with clever turns of phrase, well placed jokes, tenderly spoken personal anecdotes and the dizzying exegetical dismount had worn thin his already wavering passion.Read More Post a comment (9)
I grew up Catholic and Lent for our family meant eating more fish. For some reason meals with fish instead of meat was a form of fasting. And since eating fish consisted of the unceremonious rotation between frozen fish sticks and tuna casserole, it did in fact comprise a form of deprivation. Whenever my sisters and I complained, however, Mom reminded us that when she was a girl, her parents made her eat barracuda, which (for her) was sheer torture. She assured us that we were getting off easy and had no room to complain.Read More Post a comment (0)
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
What is happening? That’s what Peter had to have been wondering. Just a few hours earlier Jesus had called Peter his rock, upon whom his church would be built. Now he’s calling him the Devil. Not even the son of the Devil, but the Devil himself. Peter may have pushed his way gruffly through the crowd. Maybe he’d had enough of this nonsense, Jesus always speaking in riddles. Peter had been faithful. He’d worked as hard as anybody of the disciple band to usher in the kingdom.Read More Post a comment (1)
One of the fruits of Lenten observance for me has been to expose the practical realities of who or what I am trusting. A familiar passage helped me recently to reflect on this for this year’s Lenten journey.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
And he will show you which path to take.Read More Post a comment (1)
At church the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday, the Rector told us that this would be the last time we’d be saying the word “Alleluia” in any form as a congregation until Easter. He explained that this was another form of Lenten fasting.
I did a little research, as this custom was unfamiliar to me. I learned that many liturgical traditions “buried the alleluia” in some form during Lent. (http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Worship/Learning-Center/FAQs/Alleluias-During-Lent.aspx,Read More Post a comment (0)
I suspect some Christ-followers are uneasy about Lent. Maybe Lent was approached in a trite or hypocritical kind of way. Maybe it comes from a misunderstanding that while we are to praise God IN all things, we don’t necessarily praise God FOR all things. In fact, there may be times when we can’t praise God at all! The sorrow is too deep, the grief too biting for the moment to “be joyful in God’s presence.” And that is OK.Read More Post a comment (3)
To be completely honest, I have not always loved the concept of Lent.
There was not an emphasis on Lent in my home or in my church. So, I usually used my peers as a barometer for the season. In out-spoken resolve they would declare what they chose to fast from; chocolate, sugar in general (highly brave), or television. Like a New Year’s Resolution, the days would unfold and each one would let go of their fast well before Easter arrived.Read More Post a comment (5)
One of my colleagues recently asked, “What did you give up for Lent?” It was a harmless question, but it triggered some anxiety. Lent is easy enough to explain academically. It is a 40-day season of self-discipline that precedes Easter, a season that culminates in this coming Passion Week. It hearkens back to Jesus’ 40-day fast that paved the way for his ministry. Its purpose is to sharpen our spiritual sensitivies so that we can enter into the darkness of Jesus’ death and the light of his resurrection with heightened acuity. Why the frustration?Read More Post a comment (1)
During his passion, Jesus remained fully aware of what was going on around him and to him. He participated fully in his body, even as he hung on the cross. He refused the wine mixed with myrrh that might have given him some pain relief. His intent was to be fully aware and to participate in every aspect of his humanity.Read More Post a comment (1)