[Pastoral Article for April Newsletter]
“’Son of man, can these bones live?...I replied, “Lord God, only you know.” – Ezekiel 37:3
In my pastoral biography, I write about myself that, “He often wonders if he was a monk in a former life.” I have always said that jokingly, but never imagined that it would almost come true. We are living at such a “Medieval” time, in which we await the passing of a plague, are relegated to isolation or segregation, and fear the unknown of what might be.
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
Story is essential to our lives. Our story defines us as who we were, who we are, and who we will be. Lives lived as sons and daughters, wives and husbands, leaders and servants. All gets crammed together into your being as that which has come to define you based on those experiences. For example, how you were raised defines your parenting. How you interacted with the opposite sex as a child defined your dating life as an adult. How money and property were discussed and managed, influences the ways you handle those things today.
There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven:… - Ecclesiastes 3:1
All of us live between two points, the date of our birth and the date of our falling asleep in Christ. When the youth group and I did our cemetery scavenger hunt, one of the lessons I gave to them was the importance of the “dash”. I borrowed it from another pastor, true, but it speaks of the journey we have between our entrance into this life and our departing into the next. Seeing that dash as this season to live for God, and to serve as we are called. Some of us live on the edge of wondering if we have done enough. We live with the realization of our sin foremost in our mind (this includes your pastor as well) and needing the forgiveness that only comes from Jesus.
“Why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken up into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.” – Acts 1:11
From what I have seen of late, it seems our culture is yearning for Christmas to happen sooner each year. Every fall the holiday decorations are out in stores earlier and earlier. The music is played on the radio starting November 1st. The lights are up, the trees assembled, the deals made for all the gifts and joy we think we can handle, and yet every year the time seems to come sooner because every year it runs out. In some ways, there was not enough Christmas last year.
Article for the December Parish Newsletter
“Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29
Imagine what it must have been like in the days of John the Baptist. It would have looked like a good old-fashioned revival I think. Quite possibly the religious fervor was reignited amongst many believers. Or maybe not. It does say that men and women were coming from all over to hear this preacher. They came confessing their sins, it says, and being baptized in the Jordan River. Yet, people were still living their lives. They had to get up, make breakfast, go to work, make dinner, go to bed, and start it all over. This new preacher had come, and people were wondering if maybe he was another in a long line of Messiahs who never met their potential. These “chosen ones” who were each supposed to be the one that would restore the kingdom of Israel, only to fail.
And he that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” – Revelation 21:5
October is beckoning to you. Some of you hear the siren call of pumpkin spiced latte’s and candy corn. Others hear the voices of sports fans at the height of football season and the culmination of the baseball playoffs. Others hear the early and overplayed holiday music while you are still looking for decorations of orange and black, pumpkins and turkeys, corn husks and cobwebs.
For us in the north country, it calls to us with a voice that may seem different, unnoticed, undesired. A call of the sleep that is coming. A falling of leaves to the ground as trees give up their fruit to await another day and time. A calling of color to prepare us for some silence. For some cold. For extended darkness and waiting. A repose of the world, awaiting the snow as it’s blanket until warmth may come again.