If

My daughter’s school assigned her fifth grade class to create a poetry notebook, to contain both poems she wrote and those she found and enjoyed. To further this I read a poetry anthology from my childhood with her, and we came upon Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If—.“ On revisiting this poem for the first time in … Continue reading If

Life-giving Transformation

Before Jesus begins his ministry, people from all over Judea go out to the wilderness to John the Baptist.  There they hear John’s message to “repent,” to turn toward a new direction, and receive a baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 3: 1- 6, Mark 1: 2 -6, Luke 3: 1-6, John 1: 19-23).  … Continue reading Life-giving Transformation

The One Voice that Matters

We Christians are a strange lot.  In my mail the other day, on top of the advertisements was one of an unhappy man and an unhappy woman sleeping in the same bed but turned away from one another. A friend of my husband's, shown this flyer, thought it was probably advertising a linen sale. Closer … Continue reading The One Voice that Matters

Pleasing to God

When the firm ground shifts, praise God. As I started to prepare for my next preaching assignment (North Long Beach Christian Church, January 22, 10:45), I turned to this week's lectionary texts--a set of readings used by many Christian churches across denominations.  They struck me with full force. "If riches increase, do not set your … Continue reading Pleasing to God

Able to Forgive

Jesus said to forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven.  I've come to understand this to mean that if you are seeking to live with God, you will have many opportunities to forgive. My friend Susan suggested that forgiveness is an English word that really should be two different words.  Perhaps she is right. … Continue reading Able to Forgive

Dyers of Purple Cloth

One day, as they had many times before, a group of women gathered by the river to pray. Among them was Lydia. Scripture tells us she was a dealer in purple cloth, meaning she was a businesswoman. Her name is the same as the name of the state from which came the dyers of cloth, … Continue reading Dyers of Purple Cloth