Christmas Peace & Wisdom

Third Sunday in Advent: 1 Thess. 5:12-24 Introduction In some ways, this final section of Thessalonians is like the short hand exhortations of a coach to his team in the huddle before they sprint back onto the field. These are short summary commands that outline the way Christians are to be a ready people, prepared…

He Hears

The Psalmist says: I love the Lord because He has heard by voice and my supplications; because He has inclined His ear to me. Therefore I will call on Him as long as I live. We are gathered here this morning because our God hears us when we pray to Him. Our God listens when…

On Persuasion

Persuasion is a funny thing. Perhaps at turns like a chess match, like a roller coaster, like falling in love. Becoming convinced of something that you formerly didn’t believe consists frequently of many different elements: a sharp chisel sometimes cracking granite, shaving edges. At other times it’s like trudging home in the falling snow, white…

Our New Prophet

Exhortation for Morning Prayer Lessons: Amos 7:1-9, Rev. 1:1-8 In the Bible, a prophet is someone who has been invited into the counsels of God. He is a friend of God like Abraham, like Moses, like Amos who has been granted access to God’s deliberations about the story of human history. Amos deliberated with God about…

A Starbucks Run Blindfolded

Often we set ourselves up to lose certain arguments by the way we define our terms. We sit there on the branch, manfully sawing the dern thing, and then we wonder how we ended up on the ground with the knot on our head. One of those arguments has to do with the role of…

Praying into the Goodness

Hymns of praise are not very frequent at the beginning of the book [of Psalms], but as you read on, you will find more and more of them. It is as though the more you pray, the more you will realize God’s goodness. -Gordan Wenham, The Psalter Reclaimed, 43.

With Christ in the Dark: Ps. 88

Sixth Sunday in Trinity Season: Psalm 88, 1 Pet. 4:12-19, Mk. 15:25-39 Introduction The Hebrew title of the book of Psalms means “praises,” but it may come as a surprise that that the most common kind of psalm is a lament. These are psalms that describe enemies or threats and cry out to God for…

Our Babel Moment

I’ve grown up in the middle of the Media-Lucy-and-Charlie-Brown game. So I don’t believe anything they say. I don’t believe the suits. I don’t believe the shiny smiles. I don’t believe your sexy low-cut blouse. I don’t watch the news. I don’t read it. I subscribe to no newspapers. I do not have cable television….

A Prayer For These Days

Almighty and Most Merciful God: You spoke the worlds into existence. The mountains stand by your command. The oceans toss and foam because you tell them to. The earth shakes at the sound of your voice. When we disobeyed your voice, when we did not love your Word, the world grew wicked and so you…

The Newtown inside all of Us

There’s a Newtown, Connecticut inside all of us. Everyone hurts. Everyone reels. Everyone sees the pictures, sees the names, reads their stories, and we all swallow back the tears. Death hurts. Death stings. We mourn with those who mourn. There’s the initial ache (and we do). I have a six year old daughter, who might…