Friday, April 30, 2010

From the air

As we approached landing this evening on the flight from Atlanta to Charleston, we circled the city. The sky was clear and I was able to see the entire city. I work in Charleston, so I could follow the road and the rivers, identify the buildings, and watch as the city went by my window. I saw the airport on top of the mountain overlooking the city as we passed it. I wanted to say, "Um, missed it." We flew by, up I77. I thought we might make it all the way to Ripley. Finally, we turned right, and head back to the airport, flying over I79. Elkview passed by the window, and we finally landed.

I noticed the mountains looked more like wrinkles in a green carpet. The buildings were kind of like monopoly hotels. What would have taken me 20 minutes to drive, took us only 5 minutes, if that. Everything seemed smaller, seemed more connected. The barriers of the mountains were like nothing - just a bump in the landscape.

When I driving on those roads, passing those towns, everything seems larger. From the air, it not at all the same.

As we travel through life, we encounter the same perspective problems. In the midst of life, problems seem to be barriers, distances seem large, solutions are not obvious. From the air, all of that fades away. God is like that -- he can see the big picture. He knows our problems are large to us, but to him, he can see the next valley. He can see how one issue can connect to the next.

Just another reason to let God lead us where we need to go.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Elevator Theology

The elevators in this hotel are very strange. They look like normal elevators until you try to operate one. The first time I stepped toward the bank of elevators to go up to my room, and headed to an open car, an employee stopped me. She asked me what room I needed, and then she keyed it in on a panel on the wall -- where one would normally find the call buttons (up or down).

The panel repeats the floor you key in, and then tells you which elevator to ride -- Car B, for instance.

When Car B arrives, you step on. Inside the elevator there are no buttons at all. There is a strip of red, lit up numbers, on the "door frame." These numbers indicate where the elevator is going to stop.

No buttons. Step on the elevator and loose control. Change you mind and want to go to a different floor? Too bad. Your travel is out of your control.

Don't like the idea? Fine. Don't take the elevator, but if I made that choice, I would need to walk up more than 20 flights of stairs, and my room is only in the middle of the hotel. The only way to ride is to give up control.

Is life with God ever like that? Does life with God require that we give up control? If we want to travel where God takes us, isn't it necessary to release our control of the situation? Do we even have control in the first place? Could it be that all we need to give up is our illusion of control?

Image: Jackson Square

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Transfer of Values

I'm in New Orleans at a planned giving conference. The first symposium I attended was concerning the transfer of values and valuables. Its purpose was to help estate planners understand the necessity of leading those who are planning the disposition of their estate to understand the necessity of passing on what they value (not monetary values, but principles) so that their children can then handle their valuables wisely. It's called The Heritage Process, and it involves guiding people through the idea of teaching their children values prior to giving them money.

Do we think about concepts like that? Do we consider that we leave behind our values as well as our values? Do we lead our children into situations where they must work together to manage money, as a team? Do we lead give them money to use for charitable purposes so that they can learn the value of charitable giving?

And as a person who does what I do for a living, is there a way to lead church members into the realization that giving to charity can be a bigger gift for their children than giving them all of our assets? That the gift of our values is more "valuable" to them than all of our stock portfolio? Can I tell that to people without it seeming self-serving? Can I communicate the necessity of transferring values to our children by giving some of our money away and make the communication of that idea ministry?


Image: The view out my hotel window tonight.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I attended an meeting this evening of those who had just finished their Emmaus walks -- kind of an orientation to the Community.

One almost-recent member was discussing the role of his reunion group in his life. He actually joined one prior to going on his walk. He said it helped him to see the possibilities of life with God to him.

I liked that phrase. Seeing the possibilities of life with God. It sounds exciting and scary at the same time, but it sounds full of potential.

What possibilities is God calling you to see?

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Why United Methodist

I was looking at the UM Reporter blog, and clicked over to A Man Called Preach, reading this post about Why He Loves the United Methodist Church.

I was not born a United Methodist -- I joined the church in my senior year in high school. The longer I am a member, the more I love the UM church. Why? Here's my list -- some of them are similar to Will's:
  • Open Communion Table -- It's Christ table, and everyone is included.
  • It's a church for people who will think -- or at least at it's best it is. We are encouraged to think and to grow through study and sharing about what we have learned.
  • Women are allowed to use their gifts to preach and to teach. We take that for granted, but there are churches where this is not the case at all.
  • Each UM church is different -- it might be politically liberal or conservative, theologically liberal or conservative, and yet we have room for both sets of beliefs.
  • Infant Baptism -- I believe that God claims us, and that claiming is not dependent upon age.
  • Priesthood of all believers -- I am a minister (although not ordained) and so are you. We are expected to follow our call and to pick up our crosses.
  • Connectional church -- We are part of something bigger than our local church.

That might be enough for now, although I'm sure there are more.


Sunday, April 25, 2010


I'm back from the walk. It was a great experience. I promised words tonight instead of just a pictures, but that they would be tired words.

They are words from a tired writer.

Chyrl wrote a devotional last week about Psalm 23, and how each part will speak to someone else, and how each person will hear something else emphasized each time. I think that's true about the 23rd Psalm (and about all scripture). There was a pilgrim on the walk -- a young woman with a young child -- who was fighting 4th stage colon cancer. This morning we added a healing service to the schedule for her, including an annointing with oil. Part of the pre-written worship service included a reading of the Psalm. The line "he anoints my head with oil" rang out of the scripture for me today.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Purple Tulips from Oglebay

The one of the right is one of my favorite ones from the day.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Red Tulips at Oglebay


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Words to all

I will be away on an Emmaus walk this weekend. Normally, when I'm part of the team for a walk, I hand the blog over to my two favorite Guest Sandbloggers -- Steve and Jeff, but this time, Jeff is the chef for the walk, and Steve is helping him in the kitchen, so they will be as busy (or busier) than me as I serve as an Assistant Lay Director. So for the next two days, the automatic posting feature of Blogger will post images from my recent business trip to Oglebay Resort.

Words will return on Sunday, although they may be tired words.

I went to a funeral today for a member of our Board of Trustees. He was a well-known lawyer in town, and the church was almost at capacity for the service. I'm sure there were people from areas of his life who attended -- family, church family (and extended church family), neighbors, friends and business associates. The service itself was a worship service with scripture and hymns, as well as the pastor's witness to the man's Christian faith.

The pastor said, "If John were here, he would invite you, if you don't already have a church home, to come back on Sunday."

I liked that. I liked that the funeral was worship, and that it accomplished what many of us (me included) often fail to do. It was a witness to John's faith. We don't always do that when we are in the company of those who do not 'belong' to a church.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Christian Action

The beginning of my Christian Action talk for this weekend's Emmaus Walk:

At 3pm, on the afternoon of April 5, an explosion, one and a half miles inside a mountain, rocked the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia. Soon after the event, we knew that 25 men had died; at the end of the week, the hope that four miners might have survived was lost. A total of 29 men lost their lives. A loss like that echoes. Twenty women became widows that day. Two fiancées were left with broken dreams. Fifty seven sons and daughters lost their fathers, while 65 children lost their grandfathers.

We sit in this room, and we look at the pictures, and our hearts ache. Why is that? Some of us may know someone from the area; one or two of us may personally feel one of those echoes of grief, but for the most part, our daily lives will not be touched by the tragedy, and yet…our hearts ache.

And if you are like me, we wonder, “What can I do to help?”

Kiekegaard wrote, “To the Christian, love is the works of love. Christ’s love was not an inner feeing, a full heart and what-not; it was the work of love which was his life.”

Over the past couple of weeks I have been blessed to be a witness to the work of love that Kiekegaard wrote about. An outpouring of response to the grief. I’ve read about it – I’ve read stories about the care West Virginians offered the National media at Marsh Fork Elementary school – nurturing care that was shocking to those who received it. I’ve heard stories of how many people were praying, about pastors who traveled to the area to offer comfort during grief. One United Methodist pastor said, “We hope our presence will say to them, there is always hope. That’s what Easter is. Christ is risen and even in the midst of this, Christ is alive and with us.”

On a more personal note, I’ve watched as donations have come in to the Council of Churches fund for the families. Donations have come from all across the country. Checks with the words “God Bless the Miners” written on them. We received one envelope containing a large amount of cash, and on it was written, “From Shawn Peters (name changed) and all the coal miners at Pritchard Mining and Tyler Morgan Mining Companies.” Yes, these people were sending money, but more than that, they were sending grace and love to the families of these miners – families missing their husbands, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, friends.

Christian love is more than a feeling. It is more than the connection we have with each other as the children of God. God motivates us, each and every day, to move from feeling love, to the work of love. Love is a verb. Love is action.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Because Psalm 23

I was reading Tuesday's Lectionary Leanings over at RevGalBlogPals. One of the commentors said she was going to use Psalm 23 as her sermon basis, but was going to put the word "because" in front of it. I thought that was an interesting idea, so here is my "cause and effect" version of Psalm 23.

Because you are my shepherd, I shall not want.

Because you make me to take rest in green pastures, because you lead me beside still waters, you restore my soul.

Because you lead me in right paths, because you are God, and you can do no less, even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil.

Because you are with me, because your rod guides me and and your staff protects me, I find comfort.

Because you prepare a table before me, I can sit and eat with my enemies.

Because you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.

Because of you and your love for me, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in your house, forever.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Inviting Guests

Remember the parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 22?

Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. Verse 9
Last weekend, our United Methodist Men sponsored and prepared a free breakfast at our church for the homeless veterans in our town. They cooked and worked, but no one came. Who knows why, but for this story, the why is not that important.

Looking at the food, and the lack of guests, one of the men got in his truck and drove around town, inviting those he saw on the street to come to breakfast. Thirteen men took him up on the offer, and came to church to eat. They probably were homeless (although not veterans), and they sat with our UMM, enjoying abundant food and conversation.

I am so inspired by the men of our church. I am blessed to know them, and Christ shines through their actions.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Acts Superlatives

For Disciple this week, we read the first part of Acts. Remember in high school or junior high, when the class elected "superlatives"? Here are some superlatives from the first part of Acts:

  • Most inspiring person -- Stephen. He was led by the Holy Spirit, filled with grace, performed signs and wonders even though Ministry of the Word wasn't his "job." He stood up for what he believed, even though it cost him his life. He spoke to that group about a vision of God and Jesus -- an action that, as Steve phrased it, was probably the straw that broke the camel's back and led to his death. As he died, he forgave them. Stephen had the "whole package."
  • Most intense -- Paul. No one could accuse Paul of less than passion for what he believed. His conversion was intense, his life before and after was intense. He was committed.
  • Most confusing -- Ananias and Sapphira. They just dropped dead in the most confusing passage in the first half of Acts.
  • Most persevering -- Mary, mother of Jesus. Even here, in Acts, after her son is killed, she is on the scene.
  • Most sad -- James. It was sad to hear of the death of James, son of Zebedee.
  • Most Scary -- Death of Herod. He was eaten by worms and died. Horror movie stuff.
  • Most willing to follow God -- Well, there are many of these, but I love the story of Ananias (the other one). God told him to go find Paul, and he did, even though he knew all about Paul. He trusted God and obeyed.
  • Most hard to convince -- Peter. Maybe not, really, but it took Peter three times to be convinced by Jesus on the seashore, and then three times with a sheet dropping from the sky to believe that God was serious about nothing be unclean that God declares unclean.
  • Most excited about following God -- the Ethiopian Eunuch. "What's to keep me from being baptized right now?" Enough said. Excited.
  • Most Happy -- the Antioch church. Wouldn't you be happy to receive the news that you didn't have to be circumcised?
Image: Easton Shopping Area, view of Courtyard Hotel

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Church Steeple


Friday, April 16, 2010


Five questions about packing to go on a trip (from RevGalBlogPals):

  1. Some fold, some roll and some simply fling into the bag. What's your technique for packing clothes? I fold my clothes, and then I pile other stop on top. There is a theory that whatever you have (or think you need to take) will expand to fill up the available space. Not my stuff. My stuff expands to overfill the available space.
  2. The tight regulations about carrying liquids on planes makes packing complicated. What might we find in your quart-size bag? Ever lose a liquid that was too big? If I carried my toiletries then my bag would have the regular items in it -- nothing too strange or odd. I've never lost a liquid that was too big, but my son did. We were flying to Florida. Both boys had had warnings from their parents about what to bring with them and what to leave at home. The older one had left a bottle of hair gel in his bag. "Throw it out!" I said (and gladly)I didn't like the hair gel on him anyway; I was glad to watch them throw it away.
  3. What's something you can't imagine leaving at home? My camera.
  4. Do you have a bag with wheels? OF COURSE I do . Bags with wheels are the best thing since sliced bread.
  5. What's your favorite reading material for a non-driving trip (plane, train, bus, ship)? The newest Nora Roberts or JD. Robb book.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Grace on the Shore

I've always liked the scene at the end of John where Jesus cooks breakfast for the Disciples on the shore of the sea. What's not to like? Breakfast. Outside. On the beach. What could be better?

There are so many things about the scene that remind me of the life of Jesus and the Disciples. I imagine that was comforting to the Disciples, even as they were seeing that their rabbi was resurrected. It had to be a strange morning otherwise!

  • He came to them again as they were fishing, as he had done before.
  • Bread and fish -- remember the feeding of the 5000?
  • I wonder how many meals that had shared together in this way?
  • I wonder how many conversations with Peter Jesus had had like the one on this morning?
The grace and forgiveness are palpable in this scene. There is comfort in that. Peter had betrayed Jesus, and yet he was forgiven and given a mission. Even as I know of my own failings, I find grace in the scene. Grace for Peter; grace for me.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hope is their middle names

I mentioned yesterday about the Foundation providing administrative assistance for the Council of Churches' fund for the families of the miners who were killed in the mine last week. We've been processing the checks that come in so that they can be deposited.

I've been a witness to what can be done in the name of Christ for people we don't even know. A woman whose middle name is Hope (literally) gave a substantial donation to the fund. Her middle name is Hope.

People are writing short prayers on their envelopes -- God bless the miners' families. I get the feeling that people are thinking, "I can't really do anything to make this better, but I can do this, so I will."

Really, every donor's middle name is Hope.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Check out this post on the UM Reporter blog.

It was amazing this afternoon to read the envelopes and checks that were collected. People didn't just send money -- they sent grace and blessings and love.


Monday, April 12, 2010


I saw a post on Facebook today where someone had uploaded a YouTube video with the song Better than an Alleluia by Amy Grant. Read these lyrics:

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what's been done,
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
Does that sound strange to you? Is it a foreign idea that my lamentations about my life might be more pleasing to God than my priase in the form of an Alleluia? It might be kind of counter-intuititave, but it fits with me image of God. God wants our praise -- our Alleluias. What he wants more than that, however, is for us to trust him and to lift up our pain and prblems out of trust of him.

Our trust says more to God about our love of him than our words.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trusting God

Why do I trust God?

We were talking about that question in Disciple class tonight. Several answers were listed:

  • The more I experience the presence of God and his action in my life, the more I am convinced that he is present and active in my life. My faith in him increases through experience.
  • The more I learn about God and his nature through Bible study, discussions with other Christians, prayer, meditation and life experiences, the more I am convinced that his nature is trustworthy. His character and nature invite trust; his actions confirm his trustworthiness.
  • The more I experience the love of God in my life, the more I am convinced that I am loved by God. I can trust a God who loves me -- that his intentions for my life are good, and that his will for me is loving.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

I love to tell the story

Request from Jack: Dress the altar in some way that speaks of "telling the story." Upon my, "What? I need more," he said, "I don't know -- story books."

So here is the altar. I think the sermon has something to do with telling the story of Christ. I hope the altar is something like what he had in mind....

I makes me think of the old song:

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.

I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.


Friday, April 09, 2010

On the Road

Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals:

  1. When was your last, or will be your next, out of town travel? Steve, the boys and I spent a couple of days this week on a trip to Columbus. It was great to spend the time with them, focusing on having fun together. We were worn out when we were finished, but it was a good trip. Two of us in the office went up to Stonewall Resort yesterday for a meeting of Leave a Legacy. Good trip.
  2. Long car trips: love or loathe? I don't mind long trips in the car.
  3. Do you prefer to be driver or passenger? I like to drive, but I'm also happy to be the passenger. Probably, if there are two of us in the car, I would choose to be the passenger most of the time (unless the other person drives more slowly than me; then I would rather drive).
  4. If passenger, would you rather pass the time with handwork, conversing, reading, listening to music, or ??? One of the reasons I like to be the passenger is that I can knit on long trips. I can knit and talk, so the two pastimes are compatible. I am one of those strange people who can read in the car, so I'll do that, too.
  5. Are you going, or have you ever gone, on a RevGals BE? Happiest memories of the former, and/or most anticipated pleasures of the latter? No.
  6. Bonus: a favorite piece of road trip music. If I'm traveling alone, I like fast music. I'll roll down the windows, open the sunroof (if the car has one), and sing. No way I would do that with other people in the car, so that's a solo experience.


Thursday, April 08, 2010


I'm thinking about Thomas tonight. Thomas has a reputation for being doubting -- for having a smaller faith that the rest of the disciples. I think we need to give Thomas more credit.

  1. If you look at the Bible, you will see that Thomas is only asking to see what the rest of the disciples have already scene -- a look at the risen Jesus.
  2. Thomas can teach us that it OK to ask questions -- to confront God with our worries. There are things that nibble at our faith, and Jesus calls us to be honest about them.
  3. When we trust God -- when we step out in faith -- we will be blessed. That isn't the opposite of the second on in the list. Stepping out in faith can bring blessings. Sometimes one of the ways we do that is to trust God with enough faith to ask questions.
It's OK to be Thomas. God is big enough for our doubts and our questions. God is big enough for our faith. God is enough.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Focusing on the goal

When I was in Junior High, my aunt taught me to play solitaire as we sat in the waiting room of the hospital in Beckley. My grandmother was in the cardiac care unit, and we spent a lot of time, just waiting. I think she was tired of watching me wind embroidery floss onto cards, so she taught me solitaire.

As an only child, it was a handy game to have available. As I grew older, I started playing it on the computer, and now, when I have waiting time and nothing to do (which isn't very often -- I almost always have something I need to do), I'll pull out my iPhone and play the game.

If you have played solitaire, you know the object of the game is move all of the cards up to the stacks of four -- each stack starting with an ace and working its way through the suit up to the king. There are seven stacks of cards in the playing area, and one moves the cards in the stacks so that they are organized from high card to low card, alternating color of card (black and red). By moving the cards around in these lower stacks, one frees the cards to enable their movement to the goal.

I've noticed as I play that I concentrate on the lower stacks of cards, moving the cards around and creating the long alternating rows of cards. I get distracted by this, forgetting that I'm really trying to move the cards UP to the stacks at the top. The lower stacks are just tools to accomplish the real goal.

Do we ever get stuck in the idea of accomplishing the tool -- the means -- rather than focusing on the real goal? Do we think our job is to increase the size of our churches rather than introduce people to Christ? Do we think we really need to get as many kids to vacation Bible school as we can rather than attract them to learning about God? Do we know what the real goal is? Or do we just stack cards?


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Flowers at Easton

We're at Easton in Columbus, enjoying some time together.

Note to bob: The pictures the other day in our chapel were part of a prayer vigil. People in our congregation signed up for an our of prayer during the 40 hours between 3pm on Friday and 7am on Sunday. Some of those hours could be done at church - we had the building open during daylight hours. Prayer time in the church was held in the chapel. Only one person at a time prayed, so each had the chapel to themselves for an hour.


Monday, April 05, 2010


In Sunday school last Sunday, we talked about the two final trials of Jesus, including Pilate standing before the crowd, offering to free Jesus or Barabbas.

Now it was the governor's custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.

"Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor. "Barabbas," they answered.

"What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!"
(Matthew 27:15-18, 21-22)

I have never before noticed the construction of Barabbas' name before. Bar (son of) Abba (Father). His name is "son of a father." One reference JtM quoted as he taught Sunday school said this is something like calling him John Doe.

Why have I never noticed that before? Barabbas. Son of a Father.

I puts a whole new spin on this scene. Jesus willing gives up his life, and as a result, a sinner -- a criminal -- a murderer -- was set free. He suffers the result of sin, and dies. Barabbas is any person -- you or me -- and he receives his freedom when Jesus steps up, and gives his life.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Son Rise

Sunrise over the cemetary. The Son rose over death. Happy Easter. Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Amen.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Prayer Vigil

Our church is having a prayer vigil this weekend, from 3pm on Friday through 7am on Sunday morning. The Prayer Vigil team set the chapel up with stations. I invite you to tour each station -- images are in the collage (click on the image to see a larger version. A card was with each element, as listed below.

Baptismal Font: For the lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17

Touch the water and remember whose you are.

Mustard Seeds: For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will moved and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20b

See how small the mustard seed is? Pick it up and remember the power of your God.

Saltless Crackers: Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be
Luke 14:34

Taste the crackers and remember how tasteless life is without God

Clay: Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; We are the clay, and you are our potter; We are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Hold the clay. Shape it. Remember you are clay in the potter’s hand.
Do you trust him to shape your life?
How have you allowed him to transform you?

Rocks: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7b

Pick up a stone. Feel its weight. Remember how damaging your sin can be.

Candle: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5

Light the candle and remember God’s light shines through you in the darkness.

Cross and Nails:
God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13b-14.

Pick up the nails. Consider the concerns on your mind, the sins you carry, the obstacles between you and God. Write them on the paper, and then nail them to the cross.

Here these words Jesus spoke:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into th world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Nail them to the cross.

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday

This week's Good Friday Five:

  1. Of all the gospel accounts of the crucifixion, which one stands out for you, and why? Matthew, I think. It's not really because of the crucifixion story, but it's the prayer after the Last Supper. The strength he displays through obedience speaks to me.
  2. Do you identify with any people in this account, how does that challenge you? Peter. Denial. Enough said. It's obvious how it challenges me.
  3. Hymns or silence? Hymns, although silence has a definite role.
  4. Post a poem or a quote that sums up Good Friday for you? "The cross was two pieces of dead wood; and a helpless, unresisting Man was nailed to it; yet it was mightier than the world, and triumphed, and will ever triumph over it." by Augustus William Hare
  5. Is there a tradition you could not be without, a tradition that makes Good Friday, Good Friday? It has become our tradition to attend our Downtown Churches Association Good Friday service. It moves from one church to another, so I have had the blessing of going to several different churches. I have spent several Good Fridays lately setting up for our church's prayer vigil, which is also very meaningful for me.


Thursday, April 01, 2010


The sermon this evening at Maundy Thursday was based on John 13. Christ tells them that he leaves them with a new commandment:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34
Jack said that the watermark of a Christian is love. We are to love one another. He said it wasn't love like the golden rule -- do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He thought there might be something self-centered in that kind of love. What I need, and how I would want others to treat me, may not be at all what you need. To treat you as I want to be treated isn't the same as what Jesus was calling for.

How would Jesus love you? That is how I am called to love you. It's radical, it's not at all self-centered. It's the watermark of a Christian.