Pastoral Series

Church Matters: Memorial Day

   Memorial Day. Holiday observances confuse me sometimes. Memorial Day has become a day of flag-waving, picnics, beer – but it seems it should be a solemn sort of day, a day of quiet and prayer. You might visit a cemetery or a columbarium and remember that tragedy of fallen humanity called war, the loss…

Learn More

Church Matters: Service of the Heart

   In Judaism, prayer is often called “the service of the heart.” When we pray privately, we recall and continue participating in the worship service with others in the synagogue, or the church. “Service” also suggests doing for others, doing for God – and in the case of prayer, we do what we do in…

Learn More

Church Matters: To Live Deliberately

   I recently finished reading a book by Sara Maitland on Silence – which is essential in our life with God, and maybe in life period. And yet we are so uncomfortable with silence. We fill up the void with chatter, or something’s on, or we focus on our smartphone. C.S. Lewis suggested that the…

Learn More

Church Matters: Trust

Church Matters: Trust    A core word for why Church matters is trust. In a world where trust is fragile, or laughable, Church is a place where trust is the main thing. Trust in God – with your life, your dreams, your hope, your eternal salvation. And Trust in the people. Do we trust them?…

Learn More

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…

Learn More

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….

Learn More

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…

Learn More

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…

Learn More

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,…

Learn More

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…

Learn More