Category Ruminations

Invitation to life

“Ready or not, here I come!” Remember that line from the hide-and-seek you played as a kid? After counting down from ten or twenty, or from 100 if you had the time, the one who was “It” came searching, eyes wide open, and you hoped you had hidden well enough not to be found. Jesus […]

A life of Christian discipleship

What does it really mean to live a life of Christian discipleship? Since its beginning, the church has been at war with itself over the answer to that question. When Paul was losing the churches he founded to the influence of the church in Jerusalem, he wrote to one of his congregations, “You foolish Galatians! […]

When everything becomes new

Now that we’ve had our fun with Christmas, it’s time to face the implications of Incarnation. Today, as we remember the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:4-11), we change our spiritual menu from Christmas punch and cookies to an austere diet of locusts and wild honey. During Christmas we celebrated the coming of a messiah. Now, […]

It’s not time yet

[Written 7 January 2021] — “It’s not time to worry yet,” Atticus Finch tells his daughter, Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird, when she starts to grow overly concerned about something that might happen. Things that look dire to Scout leave Atticus, with his longer perspective, unruffled. Last evening, as I watched the violence in […]

At the gate of the year

In the dark, uncertain days of late 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, England’s King George VI wanted to encourage his nation, so in his Christmas message he read from a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins. The poem began: I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year“Give […]

A word we need to hear

At the beginning of John’s gospel, John the baptizer is crying out in the wilderness (John 1:6-8, 19-28). Other gospels tell us people came from far and wide, city and country (Mark 1:5, Matt. 3:5), to receive what John offered. What were they looking for? What hopes and dreams did they come with? Their hopes […]

What are you waiting for?

Advent, the long annual wait for Christmas, has begun. Thursday we received our first Christmas card. A few days before that the tree went up, bare now except for strings of small white lights. In our neighborhood, a few other Christmas trees have appeared, some fully decorated. We know how to wait for Christmas here. […]

Incarnation happens

Advent is a season of waiting, but I’m not sure we’re in the mood to wait. It’s a season of expectant waiting as we prepare for both the Feast of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the so-called Second Coming. But the Feast of Christ is a memorial, and we’ve been waiting […]

Give thanks in everything

“No matter what happens,” St. Paul wrote, “always be thankful” (1 Thess. 5:18 NLT). “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything” (Eph. 5:19-20 NIV). On Thursday, most of us in the United States will pause for a national Thanksgiving, like we do every year. […]

Waiting faithfully

Waiting is part of life. We wait for election results, for Christmas, for summer vacation, for a loved one to return home, for a phone call bringing the results of a medical test or a job interview, for the birth of a child. We wait for the storm to pass and the sky to clear. […]