Showing posts from December, 2016

Dear Congregation...

(Pastor's Annual Report for Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church) Sunlight streaming in the glass wall between us and the lake, we were sitting in the library of St. John’s Abbey, pondering,  What describes our life together right now?  We had all just shared what characterized our own personal lives, the themes we were seeing unfold this year for each of us, and now our attention had turned to LNPC. What is God doing in and through us in this chapter?  How is God leading us to respond?  we wondered. Every year the leadership team of LNPC goes on a retreat to discern and plan for the next year.    This year the stories that came out were about new babies and new visitors, about Marty’s illness and our longing to care for him well, about some of our older members moving out of their homes.    We began to envision ourselves as a circle, like a donut, the community forming a loving and protective ring, with our most vulnerable members in the middle as our center, our guides in min

The Lord is Come! (Aka, God's non-compliance)

To use this as a take-home service for Christmas Day,  follow the red. Isaiah 9:2-7   Luke 2:1-20 , Matthew 1:18-25 John 1:1-5 I have a stupid tree this year. It looked so great at the lot, the guy held it up and it was glorious and full, the perfect tree. We debated between two, and finally chose this one for being even more perfect than the other one. But we got it home, and it turns out it doesn’t sit right in the tree stand. It has this thick branch too low down but hacking it off would leave a huge bald spot on the bottom so we left it on. And it was too tall, so we had to saw off the tip of the top with a meat knife and jam the star on the sticky, prickly nubs.   The lights just didn’t go on well; they are clumped in some parts and missing in others, and a few days after its arrival it became the setting of an epic stuffed animal battle so there are bent branches and still the occasional stuffed dog or hamster forgotten deep in the branches. But even if all t


Luke 1:39-56 Last week we met with Zechariah, who, in his forced silence, held on behalf of the whole world, reverence, awe and honor for this thing that was unfolding. This week we are hanging out with Elizabeth. At the moment Mary was meeting with the angel , hearing this thing that she would be part of, Elizabeth was at home, pregnant, already five months into this thing, perhaps having a quiet cup of tea and knitting some tiny outfit, with silent Zechariah by her side.   Five months of hiding quietly at home. God has taken away my disgrace! she’d said , but it’s not clear exactly what it’s been replaced with. How in the world would she explain this to the neighbors? Walk her pregnant self into the shops? Send the silent Zechariah instead, raises fewer questions. It’s simpler to stay home and share the quiet wonder of all of this with the one other person on the planet who can understand it – to the extent that anyone can understand such a thing –  her mute hus