God’s great story

I find myself tied in knots, sometimes, by a pressing need for purpose. What is it all about? What is it all for? Will any of this effort matter in 100 years? Then I remember this story: it is the story of Genesis 1, a story of creation. I tell the story inspired by Rabbi Marc Gellman who says, “if you want to know what a story means, tell a story about it.” In the beginning the earth was formless and void, and darkness was Continue reading →

Catch the vision

Come with me to the hilltop and catch a vision. Ezekiel was a prophet during the exile. He spoke to his own people who were in exile, who found themselves in a world that was out of joint and fresh out of inspiration. The people of faith had been taken from their land. The places of faith that once seemed to hold them together were far away. The temple and all of the beauty that once inspired them lay in ruins. The faith community, once Continue reading →

Tending to a spiritual center-Generosity

He was a little man. I wonder. Is that was where it all began? The bullies at school no doubt found him an easy target. Did anyone stand up for him? Did anyone notice him? It seems that he made his way into accounting. He was good at math. So when the occupying Roman government came calling for his skills, Zacchaeus took the job as a tax administrator. Why not? The community had always told him he wasn’t worth anything. Now at least he would Continue reading →

Tending to a spiritual center: Belonging

What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches (Luke 13:18-19). Seeding parables are often about seeding and harvest, stories of ‘bringing in the sheaves.’ The little parable of the mustard seed is about another facet of the dream of God for the world. The birds nesting in the Continue reading →

A good day

A good day I stumbled on this video a few years ago. It comes from David Steindl-Rast and the gratefulness.org website. It was worth a second look. Take a moment if you haven’t seen this before. Or even if you have.    

An uneasy story

This uneasy story happened in my life as a parish pastor. It happened more often than I would like to admit. I wonder if it has also been in your experience as a part of a faith community. We would sit around the table; church council, education committee, youth committee, or stewardship committee and talk about a new venture. It could have been a meeting to consider offering a new Bible study or funding a youth initiative, or making some changes to worship style. In Continue reading →

Fail early Fail often

Lessons from the sower “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” . . . Michael Jordan I have told this sacred story from Matthew 13 many, many times in my call as a parish pastor. I told it, I think, faithful to the text, and interpretively, into the Continue reading →

A Christmas Story

It was a cold winter day in the East. The magi had returned from their journey to Bethlehem. The magi, as you may know, were the government intelligentsia, the ‘best and brightest,’ charged with assisting the government in planning for the future by reading what was significant in the world. They scoured the newspapers and the scientific journals; they watched for signs in political movements; they followed trends in the stock market. They watched indeed for how the ‘stars aligned’ to discern what was truly Continue reading →

On public prayer

On a number of occasions, I have been asked to offer an opening prayer, or to ‘say grace’ at a gathering. Most often the request is to offer a prayer for the daily life of one of our faith communities. But on other occasions, I’ve been asked to offer a public prayer at a public gathering of the broader community. Those public gatherings bring together Christian neighbours of different strands, as well as neighbours who may be Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh or those who would Continue reading →

‘Peanuts Butter’ Sandwiches

The Bible camp I went to as a child always had a verse printed in spruce branches across the front of the chapel: “WE WOULD” on the left side of the sanctuary, “SEE JESUS” on the right side. I recall gazing at these letters when the community gathered to worship. As I recall, sometimes one line of a W had fallen off the securing nail or perhaps a playful squirrel had been at work. But the message, perfectly formed or not, still made its mark. Continue reading →