Christmas readiness, one month out

On the night before Christmas of 2019, I sat in a cozy corner by our slender lit tree. Minutes earlier I’d stood in the backyard, waiting for our shaggy sheepdog, Cash, to finish his business, and feeling particularly UNfestive. After the hype leading to the 25th, the harried schedule, decorating, …

A different way to look at your closed doors

A different way to look at your closed doors    In 2007 West Nile Neurological Disease removed the Preacher from full-time ministry as a member of the clergy. But following a period of rehabilitation, Sunday mornings often still found him preaching in various pulpits temporarily or permanently without pastors.    …

Simple words for a complicated world

One day, God willing and should the earth last so long, our grandchildren will tell their children that they lived through COVID-19, just as elderly survivors of other pandemics and deadly diseases, have spoken of it to their children and grandchildren. Stories of hardship, of fear and faith and frailty. …

Good Friday’s story still reaches across the ages

Riding high on his Harley, Dwayne had no reason to think about how his life would end or what would come after. Suddenly plastered against the side of a semi-cab, Dwayne had no time to think about how his life would end or what would come after.  Weeks later, now …

Where is God in a COVID-19 stricken world? As near as our breath

 “Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me,” we read in the beloved twenty-third Psalm. In these fear-heavy days, God still walks and talks with us. And when some of us sicken, and some die, he is there too. His presence is …

Ancient words for a new crisis

 An embarrassing truth confronts us all. We first-world emperors have no clothes after all. Reassurances of our own lordship, the thoughts that have clothed most of us for most of our lives (we are what we make of ourselves, unconquerable, masters of our own destiny, no God necessary) have toppled …

There will always be a change – and someone to walk us through it

Whatever the circumstances, sings Canadian musician Big Dave McLean, in his gravelly, Louis Armstrong-ish voice, “there will always be a change.”  A friend didn’t expect her perfect grandchild to be stillborn. An acquaintance didn’t realize that following her simple biopsy procedure, she’d get a call to go directly to emergency. …

Tough times? God may be working on your jewel

“What are you here to do for us tonight?” one of the 2007 Britain’s Got Talent judges asked, eyeing contestant #31829. There he stood, thirty-six years old, with an awkward stance and too many chins. He’d dreamed of spending his life singing. He knew he’d been born to it. But …

Enter Hope. Bring whatever you carry.

Thirty-six square feet. Nestled near our clothesline cross, under a towering maple, my tiny backyard retreat stands tall in the snow; a startling slash of crimson on an unblemished canvas. A tangible, colossal exclamation mark. The odd building with the duncecap roof and the screened lift-up sides sits just a …