Saturday, May 23, 2015


         Acts 2.1:  When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.”

         Lately, I’ve been captivated by the story of Rachel Held Evans spiritual journey.  Rachel is a writer who grew up in a conservative, evangelical church.  Although she accepted Christ, she had doubts and questions about some of the beliefs of the church she was a part of.  Eventually, she stopped going to church.  After a time, she was drawn back to church (but not to the same tradition from which she had come).  What brought her back to church?  This is what she says in a recent interview:  “Norah Gallagher once said, “on those days when I have thought of giving up on church entirely, I have tried to figure out what I would do about Communion.” The same is true for me. It was the sacraments that brought me back to church. The sacraments of baptism and communion, confession and anointing reminded me that Christianity isn’t meant to simply be believed; it’s meant to be lived, shared, eaten, spoken, and enacted in the presence of other people. When I’d all but given up on church, the sacraments reminded me that, try as I might, I can’t be a Christian on my own. I need a community. I need the Church.”
         Being together has never been more crucial.  In our world full of individuals staring at 3-10 inch screens almost constantly, being together has become essential.  When I say being together, I mean REALLY being together, being present, being open, being vulnerable with each other as Christian brothers and sisters. 
         The early church needed this as well.  In the wake of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, they needed each other.  It was in this context that the Holy Spirit came in a mighty way at Pentecost.  They did not receive a supernatural gift for their individual entertainment.  They received the gift of the Spirit in community, for the benefit of the community. 
         How might we gather and really be present with each other, to the sacraments, to open ourselves to the gift of God? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Can you copy an expereince with God?

So many people seem to think the Christian faith is about arguing, constant, never-ending arguing.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like to argue and debate and talk theology most of the day.  But then, there comes a time to stop arguing and simply . . . BE.  To be still and know He is God.  That’s the life I really want.  I read recently that the toughest part about being the Church is this:  We have an experience of God that changes our life.  And then, we try to replicate that for other people.  (Is that part of what is behind all our arguing?)  The problem is: you can’t replicate it.  We can only try to help others get in a position where they can be open to the Holy Spirit.  That’s it.  You could say that our job is to put out chairs and tables.  (Or is it to throw out the chairs and tables???!!!) 
            I want Christ for everyone.  I want everyone to know the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that I have found in Christ.  But alas, no matter how good the music is, no matter how many stellar programs we have in the church, no matter how exotic our mission trips are, no matter how many youth lock ins we have, no matter how many visits I make, no matter how hard I preach, no matter how many children and youth workers we have, no matter how many lay witness missions we schedule, you simply cannot replicate that experience.  We can only invite others in, set the table, put out some simple elements, bread and juice, speak the holy words, invoke the Holy Spirit and  . . . . WAIT. 
         Those who will come, will come.  Just yesterday, I read once again the words of Jesus:  “a sower went out to sow.  And some seed fell on the path, some on the rocks, some among thorns, and some on good soil.”  That is my life’s work.  For some reason, I feel called to keep running after those on the path of this world, along the rocks of temptation, and among the thorns of distraction.  For some reason, I keep worrying about that lost sheep more than the 99.  Is there something biblical about that?  Or is it just spiritual ADD?  I’m not sure.  
         But I know this:  the first person that I need to worry about an experience with Jesus is me.  That may sound selfish to some, but really, I can’t help anyone else until I “attend the ordinances of God.”
         So, Lord, help me!  Come and meet me again this morning and use me in your service this day.  For you are the Lord who reigns, One God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reaching out

Peter preached
And people responded
Those who were considered

Who is Jesus calling me
To reach out to?
Those who are considered

There is a thread that
Runs through 
All humanity
And that thread is
The life giving
Breath of God

That is why we are
That is why
Is truly open to all