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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Free Life

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Deuteronomy 5:1-22, 6:4-9

You can read this post updated at: The Words that Make us Free

The Wilderness of In-Between

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This reflection draws from all of Exodus... but especiallyExodus 1:6-22  & Exodus 15:20-6:8


And the Hebrew people are delivered from slavery in Egypt to…? No, not the Promised Land. Not just yet, anyway.   First, the wilderness.
What’s the point of the wilderness? What is God up to? What is the reason for the wilderness?  In the story of the exodus, the story that defines a people and a God, the actual exodus - as in the leaving itself - is never separated from the wilderness.  The wandering in the wilderness is somehow part of the deliverance.
There is this word that came up for me around this story,Liminality (from the Latin word lÄ«men, meaning "a threshold"). Originally studied as a middle part of a rite of passage, "a liminal place is defined as “a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective state, conscious or unconscious, of being on the "threshold" of or between two different existential planes.” ...It refers to in-between situations and condi…

It begins with a bath

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Genesis 1:1-5 Mark 1:9-11

When Maisy was first born, just after the drama subsided -- when the hospital room was cleaned up and cleared out, the staff off tending to some other birth and Andy gone to check on Owen -- and I was alone with this tiny stranger bundled in my arms, the nurse came in and asked me if I would like to give my new daughter a bath.  I had not been asked this when Owen was born, he had been bathed efficiently on the other side of the room while I was being tended to and was given back to me all soft and warm and fresh.   So I didn’t really know what I was being asked.  “Yes” I answered, “I would love to.”  To my surprise, the nurse went into the bathroom next to me and began filling the enormous tub with warm water.  ‘Now you just come and get in here, and I will hand her to you.” she said.
So I set Maisy on my pillow and slid out of bed and shuffled to the bathroom.  I took off my gown and carefully lowered my aching and traumatized body into the water. When I was …

Reflecting on a year...

I always struggle to write my "annual report" as a pastor. It is so hard to put into words our life together in the past year, to succinctly wrap up what I sense God has been up to in us.  But the deadline comes around every year just the same, and somehow I feel able, in the end, to at least give a little snapshot after all.

So, here is my take on 2011 in the year of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church...

Thanks be to God.

Rise and Shine, you seekers of mystery and hope

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Isaiah 60:1-6 Matthew 2:1-12
You sit here tonight – all Christmassed out, new years resolutions maybe already broken, in this weird, depressingly Springish January, where the earth never has yet been covered in the clean white magic of winter and we have to keep seeing the muddy dry brown bristling up everywhere, you sit here tonight in your ordinariness and the world’s occasional dreariness, and whether you see it or not, whether you know it or not, you are the decedents of Magi, offspring of mystery-seekers.  The Story we tell tonight is as much your story as any story you may ever hear, because tonight we tell about how God moves out of the manger and into the world, permeating our lives and every nook and cranny of this ordinary existence.
So to start, forget what you know about the magi.  Magi, as in magicians. They were not kings. There were not three of them. They were not from the orient.  They were sorcerers, tarot card readers, dabblers in magic, astrologers, pagan philosophers…