Pastoral Series

Prayer: Where Reform Begins

Last year was huge for Lutherans, and all of us Protestants, as we marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his famous 95 theses to the Wittenburg door, sparking the Reformation – on October 31! His parchment railed against abuse, self-indulgence, and a flat out swerving away from what Jesus had in mind when…

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Prayer: Battered and forgotten

Prayer: Battered and forgotten I think my favorite page in Ron Chernow’s wonderful biography of Ulysses S. Grant came when he summarized what was going on – or not going on – in Grant’s life in April of 1860. He had just moved to Galena, Illinois, with his family, penniless, a loser in business and…

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Prayer: Birthdays need to be celebrated

A lovely moment in my life as a dad came when we began as a family to talk about the marvelous world J.R.R. Tolkien created with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – particularly the way the hobbits observe their birthdays. Instead of having a party in their honor, and instead of receiving…

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Prayer: Jesus’ priorities

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, who will be speaking at our church next Tuesday, has reflected (in his book Reconstructing the Gospel) on Jesus’ first sermon – and what it tells us about his priorities, and what ours probably should be too: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good…

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Prayer: Praying with my legs

Frederick Douglass spoke and wrote so eloquently – and the fact that he was held in high regard during days when men of color were feared, despised and abused is simply astounding. One of his most memorable quotes is this: “I prayed for freedom for 20 years, but received no answer until I prayed with…

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Prayer: He’s got the whole world in his hands

The other day I was almost to my office when I noticed a guy on the sidewalk carrying… the world! Snapped a quick couple of photos – and I wished I’d had time to stop and ask What are you doing with the world? Much wisdom can be found outside the Bible – like in…

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Prayer: World Communion

   Yesterday was World Communion Sunday – a day when we pay attention to the reality that is in God’s heart every day. We are on with God’s people all over the world. We are one church, however divergent our worship styles, languages, and cultural manifestations of our faith might be. That’s part of the…

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Prayer: The Feast Day of St. Francis

Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi – marking the 792nd anniversary of his death. I love Giotto’s painting (in a little chapel in Florence) of his friends around his deathbed… Having lived a startling, marvelous, hard and joyful life of beautiful and total devotion to Jesus, Francis uttered his last words:…

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Prayer: The prayer of St. Francis

As October 4 is the feast day of St. Francis, I try to take time this week each year to reflect on his life. I remember my trips to Assisi, and all I’ve read about him. I have little icons and paintings of him in my house. I wrote a little book about his life…

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Prayer: Roasted Red Chili Pepper

I wish I were a more original, creative thinker. I’m more like a docent in a museum, pointing to amazing things, sharing what I’ve seen, heard and read with you who read these emails. The other day, I was listening (in the car) to Ron Chernow’s terrific biography of Ulysses S. Grant. One night, after…

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