Pastoral Series - You Shall Love

Prayer: Longest night

   Tomorrow marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Or the longest night. Many churches have “Longest Night” services during Advent, remembering those who grieve a loss during this season. It’s not a coincidence that Christmas falls so close to this longest night. We have no idea on which day Jesus was…

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Prayer: Watch

   A friend sent me a Christmas card the other day, with these thoughtful words from John Henry Newman enclosed: “They watch for Christ who are sensitive, eager, apprehensive in mind, who are awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in honoring him, who look for him in all that happens, and who would not be surprised, who…

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Reconciliation: Unwittingly outwitted

Reconciliation: Unwittingly outwittedWhen Paul explains why Reconciliation is at the heart of the Christian life, he adds an interesting reason for its importance: “We do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:12).  When we live at a foggy distance from God,…

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‘Tis the Season #23

Monday, October 17 ‘Tis the Season #23: Pro-Life When it comes to all the political combat in the past 40+ years over abortion, Parker Palmer’s wisdom helps us:  “Rage is simply one of the masks that heartbreak wears.”  The greatest heartbreak must be in God’s own heart.  Down here, good-hearted people struggle to select among…

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Mardi Gras and Mercy

You Shall Love: Mardi Gras…and Mercy It’s Mardi Gras!  In New Orleans it’s a time for costumes, masks, parades, balls, and some kooky debauchery in a carnival atmosphere.  At our church, it’s comparatively tranquil: we eat pancakes.Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday – so we overindulge a bit, perhaps in the very things we intend to…

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Your Neighbor As Yourself

You Shall Love: Your Neighbor as Yourself In Leviticus 19, God could have just said “Love your neighbor.”  But God added “…as yourself.”  I’ve heard it said that you can’t love others until you love yourself, and I have some sympathy with this idea:  if I’m mired in self-pity or if I’m glum about me,…

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Your Neighbor

You Shall Love: Your Neighbor When asked “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus plucked a pair out of the Scriptures.  I suspect he didn’t think of them as two separate things, but as one, or the same thing from two perspectives.  We love God when we love the neighbor; we love the neighbor when we…

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Strength Perfected

You Shall Love: Strength Perfected When asked “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus plucked a pair out of the Scriptures.  I suspect he didn’t think of them as two separate things, but as one, or the same thing from two perspectives.  We love God when we love the neighbor; we love the neighbor when we…

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Strength

You Shall Love: Strength When I was in high school, everyone had some vague impressions about one another.  He’s athletic.  She’s smart.  He’s clever.  She’s talented.  He’s… well, we just don’t see much in him.But everyone has strengths, and something as simple as “She’s smart” is more complex than we realize.  She’s smart in math…

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With Your Mind

You Shall Love: With Your Mind C.S. Lewis wrote that “the journey from head to heart is one of the longest and most difficult that we know.”  I wonder if, when it comes to God, we suspect Lewis was right, and so we just skip the head and go straight to the heart.Whoever said faith…

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