Being Saved

Acts 2:1-21, 38-47
Just like all those gathered there on the day of Pentecost, we all hear the gospel in our own language.  For those of us who are charismatic Pentecostals, the day of Pentecost is the promise of seeing signs and wonders, of prophesying and dreaming the reality of God.  For those of us who are social justice Christians it is about caring for the poor so nobody is in need, and for Christian socialists it is about having all things in common, sharing what you have with each other and building a new kind of community.   For evangelists it is about numbers being added and the good news being spread to all nations.  For the preachers it’s about Peter’s epic sermon – some of which we did not read today - introducing Jesus in such a compelling way that it draws thousands to the good news of God.  For those waiting for the fulfillment of Old Testament promises, it presents Jesus as the culmination of their hopes.   For some of us it’s all about repentance and the forgiveness of si…

Stay here until...

Luke 24:44-53
Stay here until...  Stay here until what is coming next comes.  What has been is ending. What will be is coming.  Until it does, stay here.
Luke uses this story of the Ascension to end part one of his letters, the part that talks about Jesus being here in body, the book of Luke.  And then in his second letter, Acts, he tells this encounter again to open part two, the part that talks about us being Jesus’ body, the part that tells the beginning of the church. From Christ in flesh to Christ enfleshed in community, the Ascension is the end of the story of God alongside, with and for, and Pentecost is the beginning of the story of God in and through and between. 
And in between those two is this important command, Stay here until…
Waiting sucks. It can make us feel so helpless and awkward.  Stay here until…  We’d so much rather just jump in and do, than sit still and be. Any day. Stay here in the quiet house until your kid gets home late with the car. Stay here by the bedside until he …

Not in the "Easter Mood"

John 20:1-18
I am craving resurrection. Sometimes by Easter I am already there. I have had no problem glimpsing new life springing up all over like the green shoots bursting out of the hard ground, I’m noticing joy and hope in the people or circumstances around me.  I feel in touch with the beauty and wonder of being alive, and am ready to praise God for the whole of it.
Not so this year.  And not just because it was 11 degrees with a windchill of 0 when we awoke this fine Easter morning.   It’s because for whatever reason, right now I’m just more aware of the death.   The heaviness and despair. The struggle of things. I just happen to feel them weighing on me at the moment.  This is inconvenient timing.   It feels a little like some kind of a betrayal of the day, like I owe it to Easter- especially as a pastor – to be joyful and triumphant.  To take my baton and conduct the fanfare and the glory with confidence and cheer. But when I read the Easter story this year, the part that stuck out to …

The day after the worst day

A Reflection for Holy Saturday
"Holy Saturday is final day of Lent, the day between Good Friday and Easter. It is historically commemorated as a day of somber reflection, contemplating the world of darkness that would exist without the hope of Christ's resurrection."  
Last week I was on vacation with my family in Mexico.  One morning, I did yoga on the beach, led in Spanish by a skinny, weathered, aged man, with a faded turban and a long, grey beard. At one point, he had us sitting with our legs crossed, and he picked up his leg carefully, with both hands, and gently tucked his foot into the crook of his arm, smoothing out his toes. He cradled his knee into the fold of his other arm, and rocked his lower leg softly back and forth like an infant. Then he invited us to do the same.   When I picked up my leg and held it like that, the underside of my foot staring me in the face, my toes splayed up brazenly toward the sun, when I felt the weight of part of myself in my arms th…