Wednesday, March 29, 2017

In praise of chat

I have a couple weeks off, plus we finally have a separate website for the church: it's time to reclaim this site as my blog. And so I’m trying to remember what I like to write about when I don’t have sermons or essays due. As I rootled around the files, I found a Psalm I wrote awhile back which really resonated, perhaps because, with fewer friends and a husband away half the time, life in this new city can be a bit lonely. A slightly different version first appeared in Zadok Perspectives No. 129 (December 2015).
How right it is to sit with friend and cup of tea.
How precious to see a hint of glee in her eye, or glint of tears,
or small frown as she encounters new ideas.
How fine to hear voices joined in laughter!
How healing the gentle silence which falls,
grants grace, after story strange and sad.
How good to chat as children roam house, raid biscuit tin;
as teens and husbands wander in,
settle at table, join the exchange.
Praise the One who gives tongues to talk,
minds to think, wit to play!
Praise the One from whom stories flow,
blessings grow, and songs take flight!
Whose words wrought worlds,
whose love begets love,
who seeks conversation between us, and Above.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The King of Hearts meets the Queen of Tarts

You can listen to this reflection here.

She has three strikes against her. One, she is female. No religiously correct man would let himself be caught alone with a strange woman; he certainly wouldn’t be chatting with her. Two, she is a Samaritan. Jews and Samaritans don’t mix; and they certainly don’t eat or drink together. Three, she’s had five husbands, and now she’s with a man she is not even married to. She’s hot stuff; her reputation is shot. Other women go to the well at dawn and at dusk. They go in groups, to stay safe; and as they walk and draw water, they share the news of the day. She goes at noon. She avoids the other women: the stares and the gossip, the snippy comments and the icy silences. She goes alone. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Angry judge, or the face of love? God revealed on the mountaintop

(You can listen to this reflection here.)

How we hear stories about Jesus depends very much on our image of God. I was thinking about this because, in our conversation last week about the prayers of confession, several people said that they felt, or had been taught, that God was just waiting to judge them. The image of God as a harsh and violent judge is pervasive, and it shapes us. Like the disciples who go with Jesus up the mountain, many of us hold onto this idea, even although it may not be quite right. For this image of God comes, in part, from an older story, a story which predates Jesus. A story that also involves a mountain. Let me tell it to you:
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