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Showing posts from April, 2011

One Moral Imperative

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This week I had a wonderful breakfast with one of my dearest friends.  We have known one another for about twenty years.  As is typically the case for the two of us, what was supposed to be an hour meeting turned into more than two hours and resulted in a complete overhaul of our calendars.  I would have it no other way.  I simply love our conversations and frankly cannot wait for the next one. 

Somewhere in the middle of our time together we drifted into a theological conversation about issues within the church and our culture as a whole.  Then this statement was made across the table and stopped us both in our tracks as we considered its implications. 

"There really is only one moral imperative after all." 

Without saying another word, both of us understood what was meant.  Nothing else was said.  Nothing else was needed.

Concerning this moral imperative, the author of 1 John wrote, "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born…

It Changes Everything

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The resurrection of Jesus changes everything!

Death no longer has a foothold in our world.  It is not the final answer. 

What does this mean for those of us who believe?  There are many important answers to this question.  However, neither space nor time allows for a full treatment of them all.  Therefore, I will focus on this...

The belief that Jesus got up means that our lives should be characterized by the hope of the resurrection.  Wherever death appears to reign, we should be proclaiming and bringing life.  When you read death, do not simply think about the end of physical life.  Instead, think of all of the places and ways that people live with the pain of emotional, mental, spiritual, economic, psychological, physiological, educational, political and nutritional death everyday (not by their own choosing most of the time). 

It is our calling as people of the resurrection to proclaim life and bring life into these situations - all through the life giving power of the risen Christ. …

God of the Grave

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Today is Holy Saturday.  This is the day of Holy Week that is often missed.  It is the day that most of us would rather ignore.  This is the often forgotten day between the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter Sunday.  This is the day of an entombed savior.  This is a day of separation and sorrow.  This is Holy Saturday, and it is heavy. 

However, let's a new look at this day.  Not only is all of the above true, but this day can also remind us that God is a God who is with us in every way. The proclamation of "Emmanuel" - "God with us" - is not only true in the manger but also in the grave! God is a God with us even in our deepest sorrows, feelings of separation and seasons of grief. 

This is a theme that is echoed in the voice of the prophets.  Isaiah proclaims that the promised one is "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief...he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3, 4 RSV).  It is also picked up in the songs o…

The Wisdom of the Donkey

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Matthew 21:1-11 - 1 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, "The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately. " 4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey." 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son o…

Playing in the Water

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I have been a part of Second Presbyterian Church for over 20 years.  I have seen a lot happen in that incredible building full of that amazing congregation.  But today, something new happened.  It was something that unexpectedly transformed me (I guess all transformations are unexpected, but this one knocked me off balance).

One of my favorite moments in worship is infant baptism.  I love the liturgy.  I love watching the faces of the parents.  I love the questions asked of the parents and the congregation by one of our elders.  I love to watch the pastor as she holds the young child and asks the parents for the child's "Christian name".  I love the water as it caresses the head and trickles down the face of the infant.  I love the way the child acts and interacts with everything that is happening.  It is almost as if the baby knows something big is about to take place!

Today, a young boy was handed to the minister by his mother.  She told the minister his name, and then s…

How then were your eyes opened?

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This past Sunday, the Gospel lectionary text was the story of a man who was born blind and his interaction with Jesus.  It is a confusingly beautiful story of pain, sorrow and restoration, life. 
Take a moment to read it... John 9:1-12 1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him…

Sweeter then Honey

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Psalm 119:98-103 - "Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste,sweeter than honey to mymouth!"

In the early 70's there was a PSA (Public Service Announcement) campaign entitled "Time for Timer".  These minute-long cartoons were played during Saturday morning cartoons and after school specials.  Timer was this nondescript yellow character that sang songs about healthy snacks, the wonders of cheese and the importance of eating right.  All of his PSA's started the exact same way, "It's time for timer..."

The one I remember most is "You Are What You Eat."  Timer moved through the digestive system …