Read Isaiah 65:17-25 and Luke 21:5-19 What do you do when life falls apart? “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley,” poet Robert Burns wrote, “An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, / For promis’d joy!” Our best-laid plans often do go awry and leave us nothing but grief […]

Look at a piece of coal, and what do you see? Merely a piece of coal, a bit of fuel for grilling burgers? Or do you see the plants and processes that made that coal? Do you see fire to forge a plow; and the crops that will follow in season; and the families those […]

A week ago we were celebrating Reformation Sunday and the church renewal movement launched by Martin Luther. It’s too soon, only a week later, to overlook his teaching about the Feast of All Saints and the renewal of our faith. Here’s what he had to say about the day: “Here is the true foundation for […]

What must I do to inherit eternal life? People keep asking that question. Someone asked it of Jesus (Mark 10:17-31, etc.), and we’re still asking it. When asked about your most urgent question last month, several of you responded with questions like these: Will I make it to heaven? Am I pleasing to God? Will […]

During the years immediately after I completed seminary, a question from Thomas Merton – actually, two questions – lodged permanently in my consciousness. “If you want to identify me,” he wrote, “ask me not where I live or how I comb my hair or what I like to eat, but ask me what I am […]

The story of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19) is not a story about the healing of ten individuals, and it’s not about the value of expressing gratitude. It’s a story about faith that transcends tradition, that grows beyond the limits of religious practice, and that fosters a uniquely personal, authentic, and original relationship with the […]

“Lord, increase our faith” (Luke 17:5)! Who hasn’t wanted more faith at some time, more certainty in the face of doubts and questions about life, a more solid footing on which to stand when confronting life’s biggest challenges and burdens? Even those closest to Jesus wanted that, so they asked, “Lord, increase our faith!” And […]

It’s a question that keeps coming up. I often ask it of myself, like I ask it of congregations in transition. “What are you living for, in detail, and what keeps you from living fully for the thing you want to live for.” It’s an especially good question in a crisis, when some condition or […]

If you want to find God, the first step is to listen to God with the “ear of your heart.” It’s hard work, but it’s essential work if we are to grow into the abundant life Jesus offers (John 10:10). As Christians, the first teacher we learn to listen to is Jesus as we find […]

Your responses last week to my three questions – What is your greatest need? What is your greatest hope? What is your most urgent question? – were thoughtful and challenging. It will be an enriching experience to explore them with you. Among your responses were several about how to live a more faithful life. Then […]