Showing posts from December, 2020

Right Into the Middle of It All

LNPC Christmas Eve 2012 Luke 2:1-20 I need to hear the Christmas story this year, to remember that God crept in beside us, that this world is shot through with love and hope. I’m craving the good news of great joy for all the people. But there’s a line in the Christmas story that has always bothered me.  It’s when the choir of angels sing, “On earth peace among those whom he favors” – it’s also been said, “Peace on earth to men of good will,” or “peace on earth to those who please God.”     Of course, we human beings are divisive and exclusionary, it’s sin’s hold on us, the way of fear that has us always competing and comparing, always striving to be good enough, and deciding who isn’t good enough. So translating it this way fits our distorted projection of who God is and what God must be up to.     But it doesn’t fit what we know about the Kingdom of God, and who God really is and what God is really up to in the world, particularly at Christmas, when God comes into this life to save u

Recipients of Grace: God-bearers and Love Sharers

  Luke 1:26-38   When I announced on Facebook last week that my book is coming out in June, I experienced that Facebook phenomenon - where people from different parts of my life, people I haven’t seen in decades, people I knew in different parts of the country or different countries, responded to me with well wishes. It was so nice to hear from them, but I grew increasingly uncomfortable when I realized how many of these people sending me kind messages, are actually  in  the book.  So many of them .   People who said, “So excited for you, Kara! I’ve just pre-ordered my copy!” are going to open the book unsuspectingly in June and get partway through and suddenly recognize themselves on the page.  Some are there by name, many others not, but when they get to their part they will know it’s them.    But somewhere in the middle of the week I shifted from mild horror to gratitude.  God has met me through so many different people, in small ways, and big ways, and ways most of them were probab

Birth Announcement

  Some of you know that for the past four years I have been working on a book. Some of you have nudged me along with your supportive cajoling, and buoyed me through with grace when the gestation was longer and more arduous than my own impatience imagined it should be. It turned out to be just what this book needed to become what it was meant to be. So thank you, friends.  And thank you, Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church  who recognized this calling and offered accountability and encouragement throughout - this is their story too. I'm so pleased to announce that The Deepest Belonging  is coming out June 1 and is now available for pre-order at Amazon ,  Barnes & Noble  and  Bookshop  (independent booksellers) .   Where does God meet us in this life? Rooting Christian faith in joy, freedom, and trust that God interacts with us in this life, The Deepest Belonging: A Story of Discovering Where God Meets Us invites readers to walk through surprising doorways--weakness, vulnerability,

PEACE: Living the Permanent in the Temporary

ADVENT 2  2 Peter 3:8-15 a Sometimes the drama of some of our scripture writers can feel like a bit much, especially in the genre known as apocalyptic literature – something we don’t recognize readily in our time.  Both Jewish and Greek apocalyptic imagery is used in this letter - chaos, destruction, fire and earth-shaking power and upheaval that we find hard to stomach but would have been familiar to those receiving this letter. (I like to imagine a first century person trying to make sense of our sarcastic banter-filled romcom genre).   When we struggle with how to read something in the bible, it helps to come back to our question,  Who is God and what is God up to?   God is bringing about a future, this letter tells its recipients, in which there is a definitive and dramatic end to evil.    Apocalypse in the Greek means to “uncover, reveal, lay bare, or disclose.”  Apocalyptic literature often paints scenes and stories of destruction that tears open the status quo to bring God’s jus

HOPE: Contagious Patience for a Future that Doesn't Come Later

 ADVENT 1  I saiah 64:1-4 Hope doesn’t come from us. It doesn’t come from what we do, or how things are going. It’s not wishing, or propping up expectations or anything shallow or flimsy like that.  Hope comes from outside us, reaches from before us and stretches beyond us. Hope is when we exist inside the promise from the Divine about a future we can’t create.   For us to be seized by hope, it is necessary to be grounded in reality, both the real reality that we all belong to God and we all belong to each other no matter what, but also the reality of whatever we are living in and experiencing right now.  Hope can only come in reality – not in fantasy, or religious platitudes, or sanitized scenarios that settle for the appearance of good rather than good itself.   This means that to feel hope, to find ourselves hopeful, we need to first embrace the experiences we are in – even the fear. We need to be willing to look at our sin – which is just a fancy word for our disconnection from God