Showing posts from February, 2012

Why Ashes?

When I told my kids we would be going to church to have the sign of the cross put on our heads, they told me they already had the sign of the cross on their heads. They meant the sign of their baptism; they meant that they belong to God. Then we had to talk about how this sign we will be making tonight is one they can see, at least for a short time. How we are making this mark to remember that even though we belong to God, we still die and death still has a hold on us.   That creeped them out a little, why do we need to remember that we die? They asked. Ash Wednesday begins our Lenten  journey to Easter with the sign of the ashes made on us. This ancient sign speaks of the frailty and uncertainty of human life, and marks our penitence.   Ashes is a sign of grief and a recollection of death that awaits us all. We will mark the cross on our foreheads in ashes, visible, smudgy, dark and dusty.  Death.  Mortality.  Frailty. But we will trace the mark of our human

The place God promises to meet you

1 Kings 5:1-5, 12-13; 8:1-6, 27-30 John 2:13-22 A couple of weeks ago, our session of elders gathered on a retreat.   Among other things, we asked one another the question, what is worship to you? And some of the things that some of you said worship is were… Something bigger than myself keeps me grounded in the here and now place God and us talk and listen to each other puts my story in the context of scripture and the world around me place where God and people meet, where heaven and earth touch puts us back in touch with God again Not about how I feel happens in community reminds me of the truth helps me live the rest of my life with integrity We do it to connect our stories to God’s story, we come somehow into God’s presence. and many more… What happens when we worship?   What is this strange ritual of coming together like this, and why do we do it? Israel built a temple to worship God.   After hundreds of years in slavery, forty wandering in the dessert, hundreds more

The words between a man and his God

Michaelangelo's version 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Psalm 51:1-10 I have kept a journal almost since I could write.  The early ones are sporadic, satin covered or beaded, pretty and impractical – age 8 on vacation with my family, complaining about my sister, age 11 an a visit to my far away best friend Christy, who was showing signs of puberty earlier than I was.  Then in junior high, at just about the most awkward time in a person’s life, the journaling became a bit more regular.  I taught myself the Greek alphabet from a textbook in my father’s office, and a friend and I became prolific in writing in pseudo-Greek.  Notes passed in school, whole swatches of journals written in code, as though so intensely private I needed to hide these thoughts even from myself if I was going to get them out into the light of day. I could write it my “Greek” as fast as in English. By high school journaling became a coping mechanism, and in college, a journal was a constant carry-on. If I didn’t hav