Tag Archives: baptism

Passing the baton

[For two years I have served as transition pastor for Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tonawanda, New York, as the congregation searched for its next regularly installed pastor. Most of these ruminations are messages I shared with them during worship on Sunday mornings. A new pastor set to begin ministry on May 17. This is […]

Brief encounter

The season for commencement addresses is approaching. In a single event at high schools, colleges, and universities all around us, a door will close, a door will open, and speakers – class valedictorians and distinguished guests – will try to make sense of the bittersweet stew of farewells and new beginnings. “For everything there is […]

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, […]

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 […]

Worthy of our full attention

Today we formally welcome Jackson Thomas Grieco into the created life we all share. We affirm that he, like everyone, has an essential role to play in God’s ongoing creation, even though we may never know what that role will be. We affirm that without him acting authentically in his God-given role, our own lives […]

On choices in the wilderness

What are you living for? When Martha was distracted by many things, Jesus told her that only one thing is essential (Luke 10:41-42). What is your one essential thing? A meaningful life is not a matter of how many things you do or how fast and efficiently you do them; it’s a matter of what […]

When you’re desperate enough

How desperate do you feel? Thoreau believed most people “lead lives of quiet desperation” (Walden, “Economy”), not the frantic desperation of someone who’s in imminent danger, but the subtler kind, the low-level anxiety that slowly eats away at us. We may pretend it doesn’t exist, but once in a while it bubbles up and lets […]

Faith unbound

No one taught me the gospel I proclaimed. I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12 paraphrased). Whatever else we Methodists did during General Conference this month, we certainly reaffirmed our inability to agree on matters of human sexuality. We’ve tackled the issue head-on in every General Conference since 1972, four years […]

Name calling

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Most of us know that children’s expression, so often used when hurtful words are hurled in childish ways. Most of us have probably used it at one time or another. And most of us also know it’s not true. Words do hurt. […]

A school for the Lord’s service

Perhaps the best description of the church I know – the church that seems to be emerging for a new generation of Christians in the twenty-first century – is also one of the oldest and most enduring. It was developed nearly 1,500 years ago by the leader of a small Christian community in central Italy, […]