November 2011


I think we have a problem when we talk about Jesus as our king — analogous, perhaps, to the problem we have when we talk about gospel love.  We simply don’t use the words “king” and “love” the way Jesus used them.

For us, in every day American English, the word “love” is about what we feel.  For Jesus, the word “love” was an action verb about what we do.  We want to pair the words “love” and “hate” as opposites.  I suspect pairing the words “love” and “kill” would come closer to being opposites, as Jesus used the word “love.” (more…)

My friend Elise killed herself.

Tim gave me the news yesterday.  I think it happened Sunday (or maybe the prior Sunday, but I wasn’t really tracking dates). (more…)

Paul can be a hard case:  blaming illness and death in the community on coming unworthily to the table.  It feels a lot like blaming the victim or the patient.  And it resulted, historically, in my church, in most members (for many years) receiving communion (at most) once or twice a year.

That’s really putting the fear of God in us!

So I like Luther’s take (if I understand it) that knowing and feeling your need of the sacrament is coming worthily to the table.

And I like Anne’s take even better:  Isn’t it precisely when you come unworthily to the table that you most need to be there and be fed and graced by God? (more…)

“… Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so …
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
and death shall be no more …”

I thought of these words, from Dylan Thomas and John Donne respectively, when my friend and colleague, Marcia, died just before this All Saints’ Day.  I think they capture some of the tension I feel between my sense of loss and anger when someone dies and my belief in the promise of fullness of life with God in the communion of saints. (more…)