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Reposting this beautiful reflection for Lent.  It was written by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton in her book, Living Lent and I blatantly stole the idea of using the reflection in worship from my friends at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. We didn’t even know what moderation was. What it felt like. We didn’t just work: we inhaled our jobs, sucked them in, became them. Stayed late, brought work home—it was never… Read More

Tonight’s service was a Calvary version of a traditional tenebrae service.  In this service the light was extinguished, little by little, as we heard scripture, music, and poetry that told the stories of our faith and made space for reflection.  Our service ended with the Kol Nidre played on the cello, an Aramaic prayer usually played or sung at the opening Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  At the end of worship the sanctuary was very… Read More

From Palms to Protest Matthew 21:1-11 Think back, if you will, to January 20, 2009.  It was a notable day, as the United States inaugurated the 44th president of the United States and our first black president, Barack Obama.  I think most anywhere in the world with a satellite signal you would know that something big was going on, but friends!  Some of us were here!  In the middle of it all…. Read More

Speaking of Sin: Salvation John 11:1-45 “Are you saved?” A few years ago someone asked me that question…and I didn’t know what to say. That’s what an evangelical childhood plus a seminary education will do to you. I didn’t know how to answer what seemed to the questioner a pretty straightforward query.  That’s because salvation is a word fraught with contradictions and misunderstandings.  But it’s a concept inherent in everything God is… Read More

Speaking of Sin: Penance John 9:1-41 You and I, we don’t know how to talk about sin.  The whole concept makes us uncomfortable. We’ve been making that case every Sunday this Lent, but if you aren’t yet convinced all you needed to do this week was turn on NPR to see the reaction Pope Francis got when he was presiding over mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday.  When it came time… Read More

Speaking of Sin: Repentance John 4: 5-42 Fred Phelps died this week.  As you may know, Fred was the founding pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church, a small independent church in Topeka, Kansas.  Fred put his church on the map by staging protests at any number of events, waving signs printed with hateful, hurtful theological words.  And folks like Fred are the ones who have caused some of us to surrender our… Read More

Sin

Speaking of Sin: Sin Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 Welcome to the first Sunday of the season of Lent.  In the liturgical calendar of the church year, Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to the celebration of resurrection, Easter Sunday.  It is characterized in churchy circles by frequent conversation about giving something up or taking on some spiritual practice, and worship involving more than your usual opportunity for confession (and no… Read More

Holy Week is rather intense around our house, primarily because Mom is working a lot and we all spend quite a bit of time at church. Since this also happens to be Spring Break (no school) well, you might imagine the juggling going on. To try to keep things straight I’ve lately found myself reviewing the plans of each day over and over with anyone who will listen (I’ve found the most… Read More

From ashes to “hosannas” we follow you.Walk with us through the desert, Lord, even as we stumble and fall on our journey to the cross.Create a holy pause in our cluttered lives.Empty us of all that would keep us fromentering into your suffering for thesake of the world.Sharlande Sledge I’m giving up church for Lent. You heard me. After a challenging year of rigorous work, opening a new facility, welcoming new staff… Read More

Maundy Thursday is one of the days I fell in love with Jesus. (I say one of the days because some of us are slow learners and it takes repeated experience to get the idea.) It was Maundy Thursday 1990 when I had an epiphany that changed the way I understood my faith. I don’t know why it took so long for me to get the idea (20 years, to be exact)… Read More