Dear Thoughtful Pastor: I have visited a number of churches in the last few years. Often I wonder during the services, “When are they going to pray?” Every year on Good Friday, my mom made us sit still for three … Continue reading Ask the Thoughtful Pastor: When Will They Pray? Good Friday Meditations
Last week, I was privileged to be the celebrant at a wedding. The groom was in his 80’s and the bride in her 70’s. Both widowed after long and happy marriages, they had found each other and clicked immediately. I met them and listen to their love stories and to their faith stories. Two honorable people, loving God, loving each other, having experienced death, now offer life to one another in the promises of the marriage covenant. At the ceremony, the power of their love radiated from them both. Holding back my own happy tears, I led the two of … Continue reading Life in Death, What Do You Say When . . .
It is Holy or Black Saturday and I’m deep in a place of emotional and spiritual pain. Last night, at Tenebrae, as I was leading the service, I saw again the shock of the disciples. I saw their need to flee, their betrayal, and the aloneness of Jesus when he faced his accusers. My tears began to flow. That time of utter desolation for Jesus stands as final proof of undeserved love. But I bet Jesus’s closest followers did not see love. Instead they, too, felt totally betrayed by the one they had loved. Why? Because there was no king, … Continue reading The Two Way Betrayal
Me: “OK, God, can’t you see that I’m in the midst of doing all this for You? Look at all the services we’ve planned! See how creative they are! We’re doing such a great job telling that Passion Week and Easter story. So, that being the case, how about you take all this other stuff away? You know, as in, ‘Let this cup pass from me.’” God, “I think you may be missing something.” Above was the conversation taking place in my mind a few minutes ago. With a worship service looming this evening, I heard about the father of … Continue reading Easter Conversation with God from a Troubled Pastor
The word “normal” will be a long time returning to those in the path of Superstorm Sandy last week. Lives were lost, many made homeless, power is slow to be restored in multiple areas, schools disorganized, mud and debris cover formerly lovely neighborhoods. Hardest hit, as always, are the poor and the disabled. Cold weather has moved in with more storms, increasing the misery and danger. It’s just awful. Right after the storm, the blogosphere exploded with “Blame God for Hurricane Sandy” articles and posts. I don’t suppose this should be shocking: it all fits with the “Divine Butler-god” that … Continue reading Hurricane Sandy and The Search for Meaning
On Sunday, one of my church members approached me, saying, “I have a column idea for you.” Always on the lookout for help, I eagerly gave him my attention. “Would you please tell me how the date of Easter is calculated? I always know when Christmas is, but never understand when Easter will fall.” Excellent question. Quick answer: It’s the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. The spring equinox, March 21 (technically, it may be the 19th or 20th, but the church settled on the 21st), is the day when both the northern and southern … Continue reading Easter Dates; Easter Thoughts