Showing posts from January, 2021

Neither Idiots Nor Allies

  1 Corinthians 8:1-13 The bible has difficult people in it. Some of them knew they were difficult people. Like Paul. He had enough self-awareness to realize he could be  a lot  for some folks. And he still is.   Others recognized difficulty in other people, but maybe not so much in themselves.  What’s lovely about them is that we benefit from them being challenging people. If they were easy, they wouldn’t have needed so many letters written to them.    We have two very full letters written by Paul to the Corinthians.  This is not because they were Paul’s favorite.  They were difficult for Paul.  The church in Corinth was small and super diverse – a cross-section of the super diverse, very stratified city. Even though when they came together as church, they were equal, out there in daily life, they were not. Often the elitism and posturing of the world leaked into the church. The Corinthians understood power; they lived and breathed in an economy of influence and clout everyday.  Corin

What God Makes of Us

(A homily before an annual congregational meeting) Psalm 62:5-12 For my birthday in November I was given sourdough starter from Patisserie Margo, in Edina. It is a 35-year-old sourdough starter that originated in France, (which feels really, really old, until I think about the jar in the fridge of one of our members, with a sourdough starter that is over 100 years old).     It’s been interesting to learn how to use this starter, when and how to feed it, how to bake with it. It is completely unlike cooking with yeast. I have to listen to it, watch it, pay attention to it, because it will tell me when it’s ready to be used by how bubbly and stretchy it gets – like the inside of a roasted marshmallow.  And then I can’t plan how long the dough will take to rise; it rises at its own pace, affected by the temperature and humidity around it. So sometimes bowls of dough sleep overnight in my daughter's closet - the coldest spot in the house.     And when I need to get rid of some starter s

Holding you through it

Psalm 139 Are you feeling foggy or disjointed? Having trouble concentrating or a terrible time sleeping? Are you irritable and edgy, or weepy and jittery? Perhaps you feel poised for disaster, ready for the other shoe to drop, but it already has, and now it feels like maybe pieces of the house are falling off too, so you’re guarded and alert and afraid a lot of the time? If so, you may be living in January 2021.   Ten months ago we thought we all were making a temporary sacrifice, a momentary tweak, then we were told to hunker through the summer like it was a long winter, and then summer ended and fall ended and winter came. And here we are, still in a global pandemic.     And now, nearly a quarter of a million people in our country testing positive every day and one person is dying approximately every 21 seconds, and a new, far more contagious variant ripping across the world, is actually THE BACKDROP to the seismic upheaval, political turmoil, bubbling violence, overt racism, rampant


Matthew 2:1-12 Isaiah 60:1-3   The story of Epiphany unfolds in a simple home on a simple street, where an ordinary-seeming family opens their door to astonishing strangers from afar, who unexpectedly kneel before a mother with a child on her lap, and then give strange gifts and tell strange stories in a strange language, with charades and hand gestures, of a long journey led by a mysterious star, the very heavens pointing them to this precise place, revealing to them that the God of the cosmos has come into this life with us, for us all, and is indeed embodied in this drooling toddler sitting before them.  And the mother and father, who - along with her formerly childless aunt and uncle, and a few local sheepherders – have carried this secret knowledge for a couple of years by themselves, are suddenly reminded of the scope of things by those from afar whose presence in their living room declares in no uncertain terms that the whole universe is in on this thing, that in their beloved c

I will start here

Devotion 1-7-20 I can't concentrate today. I woke up at 3 am from a vivid dream and lay still, letting the warmth of the dream surround me, softly inching back into it.  I was nearly there when just the faintest memory of last night's national drama stuck its toe in. Suddenly I felt like a door in the middle of my chest was kicked wide open to the fullness of the events of yesterday - a president instigating insurrection, death, mayhem, what has been building, what may be coming, COVID raging, people dying, vaccine shortages, the Democrats winning Georgia, (Merrick Garland for AG), my kids' online school issues, my to-do list, all of it - and I felt it crash over me like a wave of frigid air. My heart started racing, my body felt completely awake and tense.  My defenses - that had protected me throughout the day, allowing me to take it all in stride with rational thought - were down, and I was helpless to hold back the tide of reality smothering me in the middle of the nigh