Pastoral Series

Church Matters: Deeper Friendship

Church is a school of prayer. Certainly God hears, welcomes and embraces all words directed his way – and even the deep moods, confusions and wounds we carry. At the same time, we recall the disciples (who were praying people!) asking Jesus to teach them to pray; and Paul (a person of profound prayer) confessed…

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Church Matters: Mothers of God

Three days until Mother’s Day. What’s the feel of the day for you? Christians remember it’s not all “mom and apple pie.” Lisa and I lost our mothers in the past year. Some have prickly relationships with their mothers. Some battle infertility. Some can’t find sufficient words or gifts to express their joy and gratitude….

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Church Matters: Talk to Strangers

   Why do we need each other in church? Often, someone calls me as pastor, needing someone to talk to. What a great gift the church offers: people to talk to, and honestly, frankly, searchingly, your words always welcomed, never judged. At least that’s the ideal. Maybe we need someone to listen to. I press…

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Church Matters: Do you love me?

   I love the statue by the Sea of Galilee at The Primacy of Peter, a church built over a flat stone, allegedly the table where Jesus served breakfast to his disciples (John 21). This story has so many riveting details. Jesus cooking breakfast? Eating fish together? The fishing: notice in the Gospels the disciples…

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Church Matters: Scars

    Rachel Hollis, TV personality and author of Girl, Wash Your Face, posted an Instagram photo of herself that went viral with this caption: “I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini… because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it… They aren’t scars, ladies, they’re stripes and you’ve earned them.” Liberating,…

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Church Matters: He was revealed to them

I love Caravaggio’s magnificent painting, “The Supper at Emmaus.” You can feel the energy, the dawning of recognition, the disciple on the left virtually springing up from his chair, Jesus’ outreach, calm, engaging, marvelous. Read Luke 24:13-35. The disciples don’t recognize Jesus at first. Are they looking down? Too devastated, their eyes clouded by tears…

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Church Matters: Easter

   When the Sabbath was over, on the third day, Sunday, women came to the tomb, but Jesus was not there, and then he appeared to people over the next few weeks.  Easter, constantly doubted, forever yearned for, the vortex of our faith. I love this photo I snapped of the door to the Church…

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Church Matters: Holy Saturday

   Hans Holbein daringly painted Jesus lying in the tomb. In there, Jesus was listless, still, dead. Outside the tomb? Pilate and the soldiers had moved on, thinking their work was done. Jesus’ mother? I can’t even imagine the horror, the numbness she felt. Mary Magdalene, so attached to Jesus, must have felt some deep…

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Church Matters: Good Friday

   Every year on Good Friday, I keep an eye on the clock, trying to answer the old hymn’s question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Earlier this morning, at 6am, Jesus endured a mock trial, and was treated cruelly – yet he was peaceful, and “never said a mumblin’ word.” Around 9am,…

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Church Matters: Maundy Thursday

   “Maundy”: an old word derived from the same root as “mandate.” Jesus didn’t typically command much. But on his last night he issued this mandate: “Do this in remembrance of me.” And so we do, with solemnity, joy, sorrow and hope. It was Passover, the most sacred meal of the year when Jews celebrated…

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