Category Ruminations

What’s next

This Sunday’s passage from Ezekiel (Ezek. 37:1-14) – the dry bones; the clatter of their coming together; their being clothed in sinew and flesh; the breath entering them; their standing up – has for centuries been one of the favorite and most hopeful passages in the Hebrew Bible. God asks the prophet, “Mortal, can these […]

Original amnesia

The season of Lent isn’t what it used to be. It has drifted off course. It has become what the familiar Ash Wednesday scriptures set it up to be, a season “of darkness and gloom” calling us to return to God “with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:1-2). This sackcloth-and-ashes version of Lent […]

A test of faith

Some people like to think God never leads anyone into temptation; it’s the devil who does that. If you’re one of those people, think again. God not only leads us into temptation, God led even Jesus into temptation (Matt. 4:1-11, esp. v. 1). Mark’s gospel tells us God drove him to it (Mark 1:12). And […]

The transforming choice

The first and best thing to do with mystery is be quiet. The word itself suggests it. It’s from the Greek mustēs, “secret,” something shared only with the initiated. It has the sense of “shhhh,” a sound best made with a forefinger pressed to the lips. Maybe that’s why, after Jesus’ disciples had witnessed his […]

We’re all in this together

Last week I reflected on Jesus’ comment that we Christians are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13), a seasoning presence in what might otherwise be a tasteless world. If we simply live our faith as authentically as possible, like salt is simply salt, we might make a tasteless world a little more savory and […]

Changing the conversation

“What’s the point of this life?” my friend asked over dinner. No doubt, it was a rhetorical question, the kind people ask knowing there’s no completely satisfying answer. It was also, no doubt, a question that arose from a deep hunger to have an answer and from the knowledge that the only answer that counts […]

Blessed to be a blessing

To be filled, we need to be empty: Clay gives shape to a bowl, but it’s the emptiness within that makes it useful. To speak, we first need to be silent: “He who does not understand your silence,” Elbert Hubbard said, “will probably not understand your words.” To gain wisdom, we need to live with […]

Only a beginning

“Follow me,” Jesus said, and two young men dropped what they were doing and followed (Matt. 4:12-23). Ever since, he’s been calling, and people have been following. Today we baptized two children, their entry into a church that is both relationship and journey. Two young girls receive their first holy communion, following deeper into the […]

Come and see

“Come and see,” Jesus said to those would-be followers who wanted to know where he was staying, and they came and saw, or so the story goes (John 1:39). But often seeing is not as easy as that. I can look and look at what is obvious to someone else and not see a thing. […]

This call is for you

When our celebration of Christmas ends, theologian and poet Howard Thurman tells us that the work of Christmas begins: “To find the lost, / To heal the broken, / To feed the hungry, / To release the prisoner, / To rebuild the nations, / To bring peace among brothers [and sisters], / To make music […]