Epiphany 3 A: Being Before Doing

Matthew 4:12-23 Dear Partner in Preaching, This is the third time I am starting this letter to you. The first time I felt like it was going in the wrong direction after just a few paragraphs. The second time, even with more than 900 words, it just didn’t seem like it said much. And so I’m trying again. Some weeks it’s like that – you just have a hard time finding something to say and then another hard time saying it. You’ve been there, I’ve been there. It’s part of the call. And that’s what I want to focus on: the call. Except not just our call, but instead the call, God’s call, God’s call to each and every one of...

All Saints’ Sunday B: Look Twice

Dear Partner in Preaching, On the nightstand beside my childhood bed stood a plaster statuette of two children kneeling, hands folded and heads bowed. Beneath them, raised in gilt-edged letters, ran the old English prayer, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Not too long ago, I happened to glance upon a similar item, tucked away in the corner of a display window of a bright, cheerful shop of books and collectibles, but this time made of plastic and with a slightly altered prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Guide me safely...

The Journey Mar07

The Journey

I’m still pondering the importance of paying attention, especially to joy. I think the reason Mary Oliver and Billy Collins are my two favorite living poets is probably their knack for paying close attention to things many of us miss so that we might see something we hadn’t seen...

Epiphany 5 B: Freedom For

Dear Partner in Preaching, Well, it was another thrilling match-up. All the players had prepared well, sparing no expense in terms of time and effort. The stakes were high; the competition was fierce; and the whole world watched…. And, no, I’m not talking about the Super Bowl, but rather the Super Bowl commercials! I have to admit, though, that as much as I found the Budweiser puppy endearing and the Katie Couric/Bryant Gumble BMW commercial clever, nothing really equaled the uplifting quality of last year’s Duracell commercial featuring Derrick Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks. Do you remember that one? At a young age, Derrick lost his...

Do You Feel Called, Pt. 2 Aug22

Do You Feel Called, Pt. 2

Judging by your comments (16) and emails (about double that amount) to the short piece I wrote on vocation last week, I’d say that we all, at the very least, want to feel called. And so I wanted to continue sharing some thoughts on vocation as well as continue inviting your conversation (especially in the comments so all can hear what you’re thinking). In this post, then, three observations I have about vocation in relation to the comments, emails, and dozens of conversations I’ve been privileged to have with folks over the years about their sense of calling. 1) No matter how hard we try, we still often tend to think of “calling”...