Posts

Held in God's Love

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  1 John 4:7-21  &  John 15:1-11   “Abide in me as I abide in you.” Jesus says. And at first, what I hear is, “the dude abides.” In the Big Lebowski, Jeff, “the dude” Lebowski, ‘a Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler,’ played by Jeff Bridges, abides. He says so himself 160 time in the movie. What he means is, ‘the dude lives in his unperturbable state of dudeness.’ He simply  is . He abides.   At my own baptism, when I was 13, this passage was read to me. My job, I was told, was to abide in Christ. I heard it as to hang on tightly to Jesus and work hard to not let go.  But there is no striving in abiding; nobody says,  “I was abiding so hard.”   It’s a relaxing into, dwelling alongside, hanging out and lingering kind of word. So abiding in Christ is not about hanging on tightly and mustering doubtless faith, conjuring spiritual feelings, or displaying religious or moral tenacity. It’s kind of the opposite. It’s just being. Like the dude.     I went on a retreat this week at a Cathol

Litany for a Verdict

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 This was published today in The Presbyterian Outlook . - Kara Litany for a verdict April 19, 2021  by  The Presbyterian Outlook   (If desired, this prayer may be read responsively, with the words of the people in bold) Jesus said, “Peace  I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I  do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) Let us pray: Jesus, who was misunderstood, maligned and murdered, you were there as he breathed his last. You are there with the jurors now. You are with us all as we wait. Jesus, who wept in anguish,    hear our sorrow and grief. Jesus, who turned over tables,    see our anger and rage. Jesus, who shared our life and bore our death,    feel our worry, exhaustion, shame and despair. No verdict can give George Floyd back his life, and no finding can absolve us of his death. We pray for justice. Lord, hear our prayer. God, your justice is not punishment or excuses, but setting right all tha

Lament. Return. Remember. Rest.

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Psalm 4 There’s a desperate vigilance and awful heaviness about the world at the moment. I think even if we aren’t paying super close attention many of us are still feeling it. A shared, psychic weight to the world. Even as we are hurriedly vaccinating people, the case numbers are rising toward a global highest point, and what, another mass shooting? Wasn’t there just one yesterday? The pressure feels audible, the tension palpable. So many people I know have commented on how utterly exhausted they feel. But at the same time our sleep is fraught and spotty. We are alert, restless and exhausted. It feels like we’re given two options, and neither one is tenable. One is to watch every minute of the Derek Chauvin trial, read everything we can about little Adam Toledo, break apart the video of Daunte White’s killing, stay up late watching national guardsmen teargassing journalists a few miles away, track the vaccinations, stay on top of the politicians, check in on the suffering children at

The Never-Ending Story

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Mark 15:42-16:8 A year ago Easter we were a little shell-shocked to still be in a pandemic, and I, for one, felt certain it was going to be the one and only online Easter.   Alleluia!  But here we are again, a year later, and we’ve changed, the world has changed, and also we’re still stuck inside an agonizing moment that keeps on going.  And I, for one, come to this moment ready to hear the good news of the gospel on Easter, hoping it has something to say to us right now that might pull us out of this never-ending Lent. So let's see what it has for us. First of all, have you ever notice that there is Sabbath in the Easter story? There is. Right there in the middle of it, interrupting the incarnate God living and dying and rising again, a sabbath day.  Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us about it, they all make sure we know that everyone and everything pauses for the sabbath before resuming again on Sunday. This strikes me so profoundly strange and wonderful.    I suppose it never oc

Choosing Life, Being Found

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                      Jeremiah 31:31-34   This week I found myself needing to repent. I got caught up in a pattern of behavior that was life-draining for me and caused pain and confusion for others.  And when I woke up to it, I felt awful and flooded with regret.  Because I was thinking about repentance as our theme this week, it was especially uncomfortable because most of me was caught in the pain and agony of the experience, and a small part of me was watching myself and taking notes.    The Greek word for  repent , Μετανοεῖτε means literally “change how you think after being with,” in other words, turn around, shift your being in another direction, change your purpose after this encounter.”  Repent is not a moral word of judgment and condemnation, like we like to make it. It actually isn’t about being good or bad.  Repentance in the biblical sense is a complete reorientation.  It is turning from death to life.  We could think of it as laying down your mind and exchanging it for the

Exhaustion and What to Do (or Not Do) About It

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  Psalm 107:1-9,  (or check out the  whole psalm  if you want),  Matthew 11:28-30 This is the Sunday one year ago that we suddenly suspended in-person worship.  A year ago we were hunting for toilet paper and hand sanitizer and stockpiling dried beans.  A year ago my kids came home early Thursday and didn’t go back to school on Friday. A month later my daughter and I walked through the spooky empty halls to clean out her locker, glimpsing half-finished projects scattered in abandoned classrooms and discarded boots and mittens lying on shelves.     Imagine if you could have told us then what we were in for.  I feel exhausted, emotionally, psychologically.  Things take more mental effort, my memory feels a bit feeble, and I have energy for fewer things in a day.  This is what we talked about 10 months ago as visiting a new culture , pandemic culture, and how culture shock and adjusting to a new culture, always calculating and modifying, is so draining .  It’s like we’re buffering, or con