Monthly Archives: April 2012

It’s Not a Club; It’s a Church

What was your first church like? How did it feel to you to be there? Did you feel welcomed? Loved? Accepted for who you were? Did you have a niche to fit in? Space to grow in? Did people know your name and the names of those you loved? I can imagine that there are as many different first experiences of church as there are people in this room. Churches take so many different shapes and forms. Continue reading

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Baptism in the community of Beloved of God

I think it starts with the recognition that we are all beloved children of God. Starting with this notion of belovedness changes everything—how we view one another, the questions we ask one another, the hopes we have for one another and for the community we share. “Beloved of God”—how different that is from “target audience” or “our competitors” or “the opposition” or “the enemy”. Imagine how our corporate life would change if work-places, playing fields, political campaigns all started with the notion of “beloved of God”!
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Spreading Shalom

After the betrayal, the cooked-up charges, the Cross, the nails, the empty tomb, the Lord of the Dance comes to his disciples hiding behind locked doors and says, “Peace. Peace be with you.” Often we hear that word peace in the context of our lives—thinking when we hear it absence of conflict or inner calm. But Jesus was saying not peace but “Shalom.” “Shalom”—it means so much more than just absence of conflict or inner calm or even peace of mind. Prosperity, health, peace, wellness, completeness, safety, harmony, fulfillment, unity, restoration are all a part of God’s Shalom.1 That’s what the Lord of the Dance offers his disciples. That’s what Jesus was bestowing on those huddled behind locked doors. Shalom. Continue reading

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Eastering

Like the stranger on that road to Emmaus, the risen Christ comes to us in different ways, in different shapes, at different times in our lives. Sometimes as a neighbor, sometimes as a friend, sometimes as a stranger, and sometimes a pesky co-worker or an annoying cousin. Continue reading

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The Resurrection? Really? How?

At our Bible study yesterday, we struggled with THE RESURRECTION. One person said, “I just don’t know what to do with it” and another echoed, “I’m not sure I buy it all.” It was like a gust of wind blowing into the room clearing out all our shoulds and “have always heards” and opening the way to a deep conversation about Easter, the Resurrection and the risen Christ. For some of us, Easter comes too soon. We need a longer Holy Saturday, a longer interval between Good Friday and Easter. We need time to absorb the grief, time to absorb the pain. Others need more time with the empty tomb and the open question—what does that empty tomb mean in our lives as individuals and our shared life in community? Still others wonder about Jesus outside the tomb, the Risen Christ, the Resurrected One. Continue reading

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The Way of the Cross: Two Stories and a Prayer

Two families turned out to the streets.

A father seated
his head in his lap
children crawling around his legs
one leaning into his shoulder

Is she crying?

Slowly his story tumbles out
A family down on their luck
The car that was to take them to a new job, a new life broken beyond repair
No shelter with space for all of them
Children at sixes and sevens not knowing what to do
They are with their mother in a shelter
He shares a room with his crack-smoking brother
Hardly a place for a family with kids.
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