Skip to main content

what i learned while stripping

yesterday i had the opportunity to spend some time with your high school class during sunday school. we talked about all sorts of things, but one of the things we talked about was the masks that many of us wear during the course of our day - how we put on different masks for different situations. 

and then in church we looked at the scripture where Jesus says that we will be "clothed with power" and i was thinking about the differences between being clothed by the Holy Spirit, and how we dress ourselves spiritually with all kinds of clothes and  makeup that try to make us look better than we are.  i was picturing how sometimes i find myself applying spiritual makeup, so to speak, in order to meet someone's (or God's) perceived expecations. 

finally, i spent part of saturday and sunday stripping.  a dresser.  scraping and scrubbing and trying to dig through layers of paint and stain acquired over God knows how many years.  and with each tired scrape, i wondered about the spiritual build-up in my own life.  how many layers have i accumulated, trying to be someone i'm not; trying to look good for the crowd or the superior or for God?  how much work do i need to scrape and scratch in so many crevices to be the one i was intended to be?  And then i rested easy in one of the great truths of our faith: that it's not by might or by power, but by God's Spirit.  no matter how hard i try, i can't scrub myself clean or chisel the chunks of spiritual plaque from my soul.  but God can.  in one merciful gesture, God makes everything glorious again.  and i am simply called to be myself, and to stop covering me up with who i'm not. 


Popular posts from this blog


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…

vote. and pray. but do not be afraid (the King is alive).

i'm not sure how many americans right now are feeling optimistic about the government.  i know i'm not.  in fact, while i didn't live through the civil war or anything, i have to think that faith in our elected leaders - indeed the whole system of electing them in the first place - is at one of its lowest points.  i just don't have a great deal of confidence in those individuals who have been elected, or in those who want to be.  i find myself slipping at times into what feels like a swamp of apathy: sinking, to be sure, but not sure that i care enough anymore to do much about it.  i see this attitude all around me: in conversations, on social media, and in popular culture.  perhaps there is no more clear indication of our nation's view of the government than this current election season, when we would teeter on electing liars and thieves, crooks and clowns. 

which is why i was so startled as i sat down to read psalm 72 this morning. as i read the ancient song, i…

Steelers Training Camp 2016

on friday i had the opportunity to lead a group of 10 of us to latrobe for the annual friday night lights steelers practice at latrobe memorial high school stadium, along with 12,000 of our closest friends. we drove out there, did the steelers experience with the kids (including bounce house races, rock wall, face painting, spinning the prize wheel, football toss, and a photo op with the steelers' 6 lombardi trophies, among other things). then we waited in line to get in, so that we could get our position around the autograph fence, and then there was a significant amount of waiting.  but at least the weather was beautiful!  we enjoyed good conversation and laughter along with homemade steelers cookies.  finally the team and coaches arrived on school busses and the autograph session began.  you never know who might come your direction, so we were pretty surprised when ben roethlisberger came near us and started signing.  sure enough, he came our way, and i got his autograph on his…