a collection of words about God and life and art and baseball and football and hope and my family and my ministry and music and the immense joy in each moment of all of it. it's a record of being human. welcome.
i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: It has been a season of terrible
tragedy. And I have noticed in the news
a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.
It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net
necessarily in a good way. People are
understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that
is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who
suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public
statement. The truth is that, for those
of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer. We are called to do justice where we can, to
love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all. But let us be careful not to throw out the
proverbial baby with the bathwater. We
are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…
there is a tree in my back yard. i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree. at least that's what i think Shannon told me. i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts. to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory. full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something. it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat.
this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind.
half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter. the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself. but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change. no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet.
"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart
"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley
i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity. still, the bad news keeps coming.
i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few. how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …