Category Ruminations

In the breaking of bread

The disciples who encountered the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) had two stories to tell. The first was about “how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road.” The second is “how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread” (v. 35 NLT). The first […]

Worth waiting for

I was a lover of Rilke long before I discovered him in my summer years. Now well into autumn, he’s a staple of my literary diet. The satchel of books I would carry with me to the end surely includes his Book of Hours: Love Poems to God (specifically the translation by Barrows and Macy). […]

Love lives again

Thomas usually gets a bad rap in the first Easter story (John 20:24-29). “Doubting Thomas,” we call him, as if his absence on resurrection evening or the doubts he expressed a week later put him on the fringe of the little band of disciples. All of them scattered in the critical moment. Did Thomas run […]

Living without fear

“Do not be afraid.” Usually the first words we hear in the Easter liturgy are, “Christ is risen! Alleluia!” – words of exuberance, bursting forth after six long weeks of Lent, the deepening darkness and foreboding of Holy Week, and the utter emptiness of Holy Saturday. But those words are not in the first resurrection […]

As those who are taught

Like almost everyone else, I’m trying to make sense of this coronavirus pandemic and all the hardship and grief we’re suffering with it. I feel like the folks must have felt who asked Jesus why bad things happen to people (Luke 13:1-5). Was it because they sinned? Is this pandemic the result of something we’ve […]

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 […]