On Living Close to Death

I am re-posting these reflections on John 12:1-11 in honor of my father, David Harader, who died three years ago today. This piece is a distillation of the sermon I preached on the Sunday after Dad’s funeral–which was apparently the fifth Sunday of Lent.   “Six days before Passover.” Probably a couple of months–though only one…

Reflection for All Saints Day

The Lectionary readings for All Saints Day and All Souls day include lovely words and images of God’s care for us and the Divine promise of eternal life: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” “God will swallow up death forever.” “Death will be no more. Mourning and crying and pain will be…

Sestina for Dad

Today is your birthday– or was. I don’t know what it is now that you are dead–just a shadow to remind us that last year we gave you tickets to a KU game–tickets for you and Matt to celebrate the day; a festive end to a pretty good year. We didn’t know how near to…

Holy Communion

My family shared communion bread in my father’s hospice room before he died. We blessed it, broke it, and ate it. My mom caught a few medical professionals off guard by holding the loaf out to them when they came into the room to check Dad’s blood pressure or give him his medications. But all…

Fatherless Fathers’ Day

A few weeks ago, my Facebook pages and blog feed were abuzz with discussions about impending Mothers’ Day worship services. Most of the posts said essentially the same thing: Remember that Mothers’ Day is hard for many people. It’s hard for women who have chosen not to be mothers and women who want to be…

Living with “Desire”

On Epiphany, fellow pastor and blogger Marci Glass was giving out star words–words to hold and ponder and listen to in the coming year. My word is desiring. And it has woven its way through these past five months with glitters and shimmers and quavers and shouts and sighs too deep for words. The good…

Thoughts on Revelation 21:1-6

[Below is an excerpt from a sermon I preached on All Saints’ Day a few years ago.] This vision John gives us is a beautiful vision. A necessary vision. It is a vision that Christians have clung to through persecution and war and slavery and untold numbers of personal sorrows and tragedies. “And I saw…

Good Friday Reflection

Today I have a post up over at Practicing Families. As many of you know, the texture of Good Friday is different in the shadow of a loved one’s death. May the God of darkness and deserts and whispers be known to you in the emptiness and grief of this day.  

Holy Week

I’ve decided to cancel Lent next year. I’m pretty sure, as a (still) ordained part-time Mennonite pastor, I have that kind of power. I mean, I have a card in my wallet signed by the conference minister. So be looking for the headlines: No Lent Next Year. Last year a dear church member and friend…

On Living Close to Death

“Six days before Passover.” Probably a couple of months–though only one chapter–after Lazarus was dead, and then not dead. Only seven days–and seven chapters–before the crucifixion. “Six days before Passover.” Wedged between resurrection and death. “Jesus came to Bethany.” Just north of Bethlehem and that legendary manger. Just east of Jerusalem and that infamous cross.…