Joy Spills Over

It is Easter Day. I find joy spilling out of my soul, rolling with waves of delight, sparkling in sunshine. This Easter is the first I have not worked in many years. It is the first I have not approached in some tiredness after the rigor of Holy Week services.  It is the first in which I could take Holy Saturday without pressure to spend several hours in stillness, waiting, watching, wondering, probing the darkness. Yes, I missed the privilege of offering the resurrection hope in words and sacrament to the congregation.  I even saw a message arising, doing so … Continue reading Joy Spills Over

I Would Have Cut and Run As Well

I would have cut and run as well. I would have run into that darkness to save my body, not caring that I was leaving behind my soul. You see, before anyone saw the light and bright of Easter Sunday, darkness prevailed. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem probably led many to hope, “Now, someone will get rid of these Roman oppressors!” They saw Jesus as “messiah,” the sent one who would set them free. Messiahs live in a world of misunderstanding, especially those who come preaching peace and concern for the outsiders, not war and gaining as much as possible … Continue reading I Would Have Cut and Run As Well

The Two Way Betrayal

It is Holy or Black Saturday and I’m deep in a place of emotional and spiritual pain. Last night, at Tenebrae, as I was leading the service, I saw again the shock of the disciples. I saw their need to flee, their betrayal, and the aloneness of Jesus when he faced his accusers.  My tears began to flow. That time of utter desolation for Jesus stands as final proof of undeserved love. But I bet Jesus’s closest followers did not see love. Instead they, too, felt totally betrayed by the one they had loved. Why? Because there was no king, … Continue reading The Two Way Betrayal

Easter Conversation with God from a Troubled Pastor

Me:  “OK, God, can’t you see that I’m in the midst of doing all this for You?  Look at all the services we’ve planned!  See how creative they are!  We’re doing such a great job telling that Passion Week and Easter story. So, that being the case, how about you take all this other stuff away?  You know, as in, ‘Let this cup pass from me.’” God, “I think you may be missing something.” Above was the conversation taking place in my mind a few minutes ago.  With a worship service looming this evening, I heard about the father of … Continue reading Easter Conversation with God from a Troubled Pastor

Peter’s Puzzle

While idling some time away playing computer solitaire and thinking about Easter, it dawned on me how much we humans like to grapple with puzzling things. Early and often favorite childhood toys are jigsaw puzzles.  Big, heavy, easy-to-manipulate shaped puzzles fill toy boxes of many a toddler. I know few children who don’t like solving them over and over again.  It gives such satisfaction to fit the final piece and say, “It is finished.” As we age, our puzzles grow in complexity.  We gravitate toward greater challenges, like the 5000 piece puzzle where all the colors look alike and may … Continue reading Peter’s Puzzle

Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

Dear Friendly, Was Jesus really born on December 25th?  All these songs about snow and cold and shepherds sleeping outside in the fields in icy winter don’t make sense to me. Signed, Not So Sure About This. Dear Not So Sure, I was just a child when I heard some radio preacher say that Jesus was probably not born on December 25.  I thought the floor had just been yanked from me.  How dare that person question what surely is clear! Except it is not clear. First, the Bible does not indicate the date on our calendar that we call … Continue reading Christmas Advice Column, Issue Two

More on the Confusion Between Santa and God

This letter appeared in the “Dear Abby” advice column that was in the newspaper on December 8, 2012: DEAR ABBY: Last night I received a call from my almost-5-year-old granddaughter asking me for Santa Claus’ phone number. It seems she is very angry at her daddy for calling her a brat because she wouldn’t give him a hug. She wants to tattle on her daddy to Santa. Her parents are not together. Her daddy’s involvement has been only within the last year. She seemed very upset about the incident, and I want to make sure “Santa” gives her a good … Continue reading More on the Confusion Between Santa and God

Getting Free

It has been a strange week.  Still in brain fog most of the time from the anesthesia of surgery (more info here, here and here), coupled with some fairly strong pain relievers, I found myself more physically still than I can ever remember. Time for the life of the mind with reflective thought delights me, but my best thinking seems to take place when my physical body is in action—walking, gardening, doing routine pedestrian but necessary tasks.  Most of those activities had to be set down during the days of healing. It was time to learn once more just to … Continue reading Getting Free

The Dialogue: Rational Brain vs Primitive Brain

Dear Readers, Thanks for all the prayers and offer of help as I go into this health journey. Below is a peek into the recesses of my brain. Keep in mind that the Rational Brain (RB) is fully aware of the grace and love of God. The Primitive Brain (PB) still awaits full redemption! RB, “Isn’t modern medicine wonderful? I’m in the hands of caring, skilled medical personnel who will competently walk me through this.” PB, “Run! Fast!” RB, “It was silly to avoid this for so long. What was I thinking?” PB, “They are going to take a knife … Continue reading The Dialogue: Rational Brain vs Primitive Brain