July 14, 2019
Earlier this week, I was trying to remember exactly where my grandparents had lived when I was a little girl. So I called my mom. My mother has never been known to give a straight answer to a question when there’s a story she could tell instead. So, when I asked “do you know the name of the street where Grandpa and Grandma lived in Pretty Prairie?” her answer started out with, “All three of us girls were born on Uncle Harry’s farm. I think Edie Beth was about a year old when mom and dad moved to Hutchinson…”
An hour later, I had heard stories about my grandfather hauling coal in the winter and ice in the summer, my grandmother recovering from typhoid fever in a sod house on the Kansas prairie when she was a little girl, my great-grandfather dying just shortly after he’d finally paid off a debt his brother had incurred years before, and a few other tidbits of family history. But I never did learn the name of the street where Grandpa and Grandma lived in Pretty Prairie. Continue reading
March 17, 2019 Lent 3C
In today’s passage we come to a crisis moment on our road to resurrection. We’ve been endeavoring on this journey through Lent to surrender ourselves in order to “listen to him.” This made sense on the Mount of Transfiguration, when the Father told us to listen to Jesus as his glory was revealed. It made sense when Jesus challenged us to ask, seek, and knock for the “how much more” good gifts of the Holy Spirit.
But if we are honest, we will confess that it is painful to listen to the Jesus we find in these verses we are about to read. And when we are even more honest, we will confess that confrontations with Jesus are always catalysts for significant growth. Continue reading
July 22, 2018
We’re working our way through the sixth chapter of Mark’s gospel this month, taking a deep look at what it means to live like Jesus. It’s more than just doing what Jesus does, and saying what Jesus says. Living like Jesus means having the same purpose and identifying ourselves completely with Christ. This is an act of continual surrender.
So far, we’ve learned that we need to pay attention to interruptions, because that’s where God often shows up. But sometimes we have to really look for God in order to see God at work. And we have also been reminded to depend completely on God’s provision for us, if we want our lives to be fruitful. Last week, we learned that when evil seems to be winning the battle inside us and in the world around us, the only thing that can save us is finding our identity in Jesus Christ.
Mark likes to insert one story into another, and the story of John the Baptist’s execution last week was one of those insertions. Now Mark brings us back to Galilee, as the disciples return from their preaching expedition. It’s been a good trip, and they are eager to tell Jesus all about it, but they are also really tired. Continue reading
Third Sunday after Pentecost C
June 3, 2016
We often associate hospitality with luxury. Just think about the hospitality industry for a moment. Have you ever stayed in a really nice hotel? I mean one where the beds are made up with extravagant linens and the towels are thick and the pillows are real down pillows, and there may even be a complimentary robe hanging in the beautifully appointed bathroom. It’s the kind of hotel that doesn’t offer a free breakfast. People who stay in these hotels aren’t looking for a free breakfast. But there might be fresh flowers in your room and a chocolate truffle on your pillow.
Even a modest hotel – the kind that does offer a complimentary breakfast bar with make-your-own waffles – does its best to make guests feel they are being treated to something special. That’s what hospitality has come to mean – being treated to something special, maybe even something luxurious. But no matter how luxurious the accommodations, it’s always good to get home, to sleep in your own bed. That’s where we experience hospitality at its best: at home.
Luke’s gospel describes a completely different kind of hospitality than the hotel industry has in mind. Continue reading
July 19, 2015
We stopped outside of Caspian for gas as we headed home from a few blissful days on a lake in Michigan’s Upper Penninsula. As we pulled out of the station, the transmission slipped. And kept slipping. “Let’s get to Eagle River,” Bruce said. “Maybe we can find a mechanic to look at it.” The clerk at the auto parts store told us where to find the car dealership, and as we pulled into the service department, I Googled “transmission repair Eagle River.” Just in case. Sure enough, no one could look at the car before afternoon. So we headed out to Eagle Transmission on the edge of town, figuring we could always come back if we needed to.
The mechanic at Eagle Transmission took us for a ride, with his computer plugged into our car. “Well, it’s one of two things. It could just be the solenoid, which means 4-6 hours and about $850. Or the clutch plates are already shot, and we’re talking a total rebuild. I’m booked up into next week. You can try taking the back roads home. Stay off the interstate, because you can’t go more than 35 miles a hour, or it will try to shift into third gear and you’ll tear up those clutch plates for sure. Good luck.” Continue reading