Faith of Jesus

One of the seasons of the Way--the earliest name given to Christianity--is Lent.  The season’s beginning is marked with a worship service known as Ash Wednesday.  As the name suggests, ashes are central to the imagery and the ritual where the sign of the cross, put on the forehead with ashes, is a sign of … Continue reading Faith of Jesus

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

In the Care of Angels

I’ve always been skeptical about talk of angels. When the popular television show “Touched by an Angel” aired some time ago, I found myself avoiding it. Angels are too often used to sentimentalize Christianity. The Way becomes a set of grandmotherly clichés about how to live a wholesome life. And yet, as I read scripture, … Continue reading In the Care of Angels

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

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

For the Love of Mary

During Advent, Mary takes center stage in the Biblical story.  Believers who speak a historical creed speak of her as the Virgin Mary, underscoring the miraculous nature of Jesus' birth.   Some whose faith lives outside of the historical creeds speak of her as a young girl, pregnant before she was married; they see in God's … Continue reading For the Love of Mary