Tag Archives: faith

On welcoming sinners

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 […]

The power of one

Have you been saved? I remember the last time someone asked me that question. It was during my undergraduate years when I was working at a funeral home – an oddly appropriate place to ask the question, don’t you think – and someone whom I vaguely knew came up to me and asked with all […]

An authentic and heretical faith

National Poetry Month, Day 23  //  This one is just for fun, but the fun cloaks a profound authenticity. It’s attributed to a Catherine Madsen, but lots of Catherine Madsens show up in a Google search, and I haven’t a clue which one she is. I’d give her more credit of authorship if I could, […]

Christ the King?

This is the text of a sermon I preached at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Lancaster, New York. Today is the Sunday when we in the church celebrate Christ the King. We’ve been doing it since 1925, when the feast was established. It might be one of the things Jesus would most want us to stop […]

Table manners

Much of what defined the Corinthian church in the first century of the Common Era was disagreement. It seemed as if disagreements and divisions ran through the church like yeast through a loaf of bread. Members were splitting into factions as groups of them followed different leaders with different theologies (1 Cor. 1:11-12). They disagreed […]

At the gate of another year

Long ago I stopped making resolutions for the new year. Instead, I turn to a poem that has been passed on in my family for at least three generations since it became widely known at the threshold of World War II and that opens to me in greater depth with each new year passes. In […]

A palette of simple things

Short-story writer Andre Dubus was born on this day (Aug. 11) in 1936. He wrote stories about regular people like bartenders, mechanics, and waitresses, maybe even like me. After an accident which resulted in the loss of one of his legs and confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, he said, […]

Remembering Thomas

“Unless I see . . . I will not believe.” (John 20:25) The story of Doubting Thomas (John 20:19-31) is not merely a story about a group of disciples who huddled behind locked doors that first Easter evening because they feared the authorities. This may be a story about you, if you have ever experienced […]

Faith on the brink

Especially since November I’ve returned regularly to one of my favorite hymns, one that was unfortunately dropped in the 1989 hymnal. Unfortunately, because it’s perfect for times like these when the faith of so many of us is strained and tested. Here are two of its stanzas: O for a faith that will not shrink, […]

It runs in the family

“What happens to a dream deferred?” the poet Langston Hughes wondered. What happens when the life you’ve dreamed about gets put on hold or snatched away or interrupted by circumstance, and you realize it may be forever beyond your reach? “Does it dry up,” Hughes wondered, “like a raisin in the sun? / Or fester […]