I Lift Up My Soul

Thursday, March 7, 2019

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul” [Psalm 25:1]

How do you lift your soul up to God? Do you set aside time as you begin your day or maybe as you end your day or even more frequently? The rhythm of my daily life begins and ends with lifting up my soul to God. I also do so every time I eat or when something in nature draws my attention. I have been known to spontaneously blurt out loud, Continue reading I Lift Up My Soul

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 – Ash Wednesday

“Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went for three days into the wilderness and found no water.” [Exodus 15:22]

Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of our trek through the wilderness of Lent. We will walk with the Israelites as they sojourn through the wilderness lead by Moses. It doesn’t take long for anyone in the wilderness to voice their complaints. It’s too hot or too cold depending on the season. It’s too barren, lacking water and food.  Continue reading Ash Wednesday

Mountaintop Experiences

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

“Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up to the mountain to pray… On the next day, when they had come away from the mountain, a great crowd met him.” [Luke 9:28,37]

Do you remember your last mountain top experience? When God’s presence was tangible, palpable, enlivening, or awe inspiring? I have had an abundance of mountaintop experiences and like Peter, I admit that I want to memorialize the experience in some way. Confession, I have mementos from many of my mountaintop experiences (a rock, a t-shirt, a drawing, a writing), even from those that happened years and years ago. Like the disciples, I often don’t want the mountaintop experience to end, because the figurative valley below is always just too full of demands. Our passage this week begins with Jesus taking Peter, John and James up the mountain to pray, but it ends with Jesus bringing them back down from the mountain, right into a sea of need and people. Continue reading Mountaintop Experiences

Love Your Enemies

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

“If you love those who love you what credit is that to you?” [Luke 6:32]

These words set the stage for Jesus’ challenge to come, for it is easy to love those who love us.  It is easy to love those who shower us with praise and make us feel good. Think Sopranos (a TV depiction of a crime family), even those who perpetrate all sorts of crimes against others, love their own families. So, Jesus doesn’t settle for what is easy, implying that to love only those who love you is not the whole gospel.  Jesus says the gospel is more expansive and demanding, so “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” But, how do we do this is?  Continue reading Love Your Enemies

A Wake-up Call

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

“Blessed are you who are poor; for yours is the kingdom of God… But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” [Luke 6:20b, 24]

The passage this Sunday is known as the sermon on the plain, for the text says that “Jesus came down to them and stood on a level place.” A crowd gathered just as was recorded in Matthew in the text known as the Sermon on the Mount, which begins with the Beatitudes or the litany of “Blessed are the…” Luke takes a different tack, because he doesn’t only address those who are blessed, but offers a warning to those who think they are blessed.  Woe to the rich. Woe to the full. Woe to those who laugh now. Woe to those spoken well of. The “woe” acts as a wake-up call Continue reading A Wake-up Call

God is calling

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

“Jesus said to Simon, ‘put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’” Luke 5:4

 I appreciate Simon’s honesty, “Hey Jesus, we fished all night and caught nothing. Do you really want me to throw the nets out again?” Yet, experiencing Jesus’ power which healed his mother-in-law the day before, Simon said to Jesus, “Yet, if you say so, I will let down my nets.” What would it have taken you to let down your nets again? Would it have taken a healing? Would it have taken a sure sign that Jesus wasn’t just wasting your time? Sometimes we are called to put forth energy and effort for the cause of Christ, even when we will not see the fruit of our labors. Just ask those involved in the messy efforts of compassion for those struggling with homelessness. Continue reading God is calling

Acts as an antagonist

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

“And Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.’” [Luke 4:24]

We find Jesus in Nazareth again this week and he is still in the temple.  After reading scripture and announcing, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,” he doesn’t settle for the accolades he receives. Instead, he acts as an antagonist.  He stirs the proverbial pot and things quickly boil over, for “the synagogue was filled with rage.”  Continue reading Acts as an antagonist

What’s the template for your life?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

“Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’” [Luke 4:17b-19]

 What words would be on the scroll you would unroll to account for the way you have spent your life? Have you experienced the power and presence of the Spirit in your life? Did you engage the poor and bring them good news? Did you befriend those held captive by addictions or injustice? Did you walk alongside those struggling to see more clearly a way forward in their lives? Did your relationships cultivate freedom for others? Did you give glory to God, speaking favorably of God?  Continue reading What’s the template for your life?

Are you reluctant to step up?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

“When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’” [John 2:3-4]

Have you ever been asked to step up to a responsibility only to respond, “Not now?” I remember just two weeks after my arrival at my first pastorate an individual from the Police Department came to me and asked me to be a volunteer police chaplain for the department, as they urgently wanted a woman pastor to join their ranks. Although, I didn’t use Jesus’ words, I definitely did not think it was time for me to step up, for I barely knew what it would take to be a pastor let alone add the responsibilities of being a volunteer chaplain, too. Continue reading Are you reluctant to step up?

SOLIDARITY WITH US

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened.” [Luke 3:21]

One of the hazards of the Christian liturgical calendar is that Jesus grows up all too quick.  We are not given much time to linger at the manger, especially if we include the Matthew texts, which catapults us into the reality of our power hungry world. This coming Sunday, we find ourselves at the Jordan, with people streaming to John the Baptist for the baptism of forgiveness. Of course, Jesus shows up, too. But, wait, Jesus is without sin and not in need of forgiveness.  Why, would he come to the Jordan? Why do you think Jesus came to the Jordan?  I suggest it is to demonstrate that he is in solidarity with us, Continue reading SOLIDARITY WITH US