Church

A Season of Waiting

A handle being lit in the darkness

Every year it’s the same. Once Thanksgiving and Halloween have passed, retailers and advertisers are intent that the world should think “Christmas” (and shopping). Suddenly the festive décor is up, carols are heard everywhere, and strangers greet one another with seasonal cheer. To many of us these are welcome changes, no matter how early they appear. What believer wouldn’t prefer to see wholesome ads featuring families by firelight, rather than images that appeal to baser desires? But in the rushRead more

October 6, 2019

Reflections for Trinity 16

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity: (The BCP Readings for today can be found here). What comes to mind for you when someone begins to speak about the Church? Do you think of a joyous experience of spiritual community? Or are you reminded of the fragmentation and confusion that seem so common in the Christian world? Perhaps both are true for you. They are both certainly true for me. I think you’ll agree that the collect for Trinity 16 is asRead more

Leaving the Bunker

A bunker interior with ladder ascending into open air and blue sky

A time to flee: In the times when we feel most threatened by a hostile world, retreat is a natural, even necessary, response. We seek a place of safety: a place where we can think, speak and live in accordance with our beliefs. We may even conclude that this can only be done by removing ourselves from, and shutting out, the hostility of the culture around us. So we surround ourselves with those things and people that are healthful toRead more

August 31: Aidan of Lindisfarne

Detail of a painting showing an injured missionary being cared for by peasants

Wisdom and Grace: Much of what we know about the Church in the Middle Ages comes to us from the pen of “The Venerable” Bede, a medieval monk and historian, who wrote a book called “Ecclesiastical History of the English People.” And this is true of Aidan. Aidan was a monk of Iona and missionary to Northumbria in the seventh century. The story goes that the monk who was first sent as a missionary (a man named Corman), came backRead more

August 28: Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo, as depicted in the 17th century by Gerard Segers

A Restless Saint: “You (O Lord) have made man for Yourself and restless is the human heart until it comes to rest in You”. Chances are, you’ve heard these words before. They were written by Augustine (354-430) sixteen centuries ago – a man who knew all about the restlessness of the human heart. Augustine is one of the best-known saints of Church history, but he did a lot of wandering – and a lot of sinning – before he cameRead more

August 24: Bartholomew the Apostle

Bartholomew

Little is known: Bartholomew was one of the twelve identified in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Some believe that he is the same man who is called “Nathanael” in the Gospel of John. If that’s the case, it would tell us a lot more about this disciple than we otherwise can confidently know. Like most of the other apostles, Bartholomew carried the Gospel with him while he lived and eventually was martyred by cruel means. But Foxe’s BookRead more

Sheep bite

Funny sheep

“Good Shepherd, you have a wild and crazy sheep in love with thorns and brambles. But please don’t get tired of looking for me! I know you won’t. For you have found me. All I have to do is stay found.” – Thomas Merton +++ A diverse flock The first parish I worked in was a suburban Evangelical church, with wide-ranging demographics. There was a very prim woman who expected me to measure the distance between hymnals in the pewsRead more

Adopted

Child's hand in father's hand

God’s heart for the lost and lonely: Throughout all of scripture, God has shown a peculiar interest in caring for those who find themselves stranded, alone, and destitute. We see it in the miraculous conception of Isaac, in the redemption of Ruth, and in the parable of the prodigal son. We see it in the law that makes special provision for widows, orphans, aliens and slaves. I especially love the stories of God blessing infertile women with children. Each timeRead more

Unremarkable

The praying hands of an older woman

A sea of faces and stories: The church where I work counts many wealthy and powerful people among its members. On a Sunday morning it is not unusual to find recognizable faces from the worlds of politics and finance there. In fact, people from every walk of life can be seen in those pews. There are those who slip in and speak to no one, and those who sit on every committee in the church. There are those who lookRead more

Children playing in our Father’s house

Church interior

When I sit in my church (and this is actually true of every time I sit in church), I find myself looking around me in wonder. That’s easy to do in my church because there is a great deal to wonder about – stained glass, beautiful choral music, incense – and every one of these things is a cause for delight, an invitation to participate with all my senses in the worship taking place there. I will never be aRead more