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.…

A Few Thoughts on All Souls Day

I had a lot of fun trick-or-treating with Grace downtown on Halloween. We were harmless aliens. Nothing scary. But there were plenty of fierce werewolves and bloody vampires and creepy ghosts wandering around. Plenty of costumes to remind me that Halloween is not really about candy; it’s about death–it’s particularly about our fear of death.…

Wednesday Worship Piece: Isaiah 25:6-9

This Sunday we are observing All Saints’ Day. This call to worship is inspired by the lectionary reading for the day from Isaiah 25:6-9. (Leader reads plain text, people read bold.) Hurricanes and floods and environmental havoc; drones and IEDs and handguns; cancer and heart disease and bodies shutting down; poverty and injustice and oppression.…

Life as Gift

(Here is the reflection I shared during worship on New Year’s Day, 2012 ) Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11-14a It’s probably not surprising that I’ve been thinking about gifts this holiday season. Of course, I’ve been considering what gifts to give others and I’ve been enjoying the gifts others have given me. And as one year ends…

Pre-Sermon Ponderings: On Being Pro-Life

I have long loved this week’s Old Testament lectionary text, Deuteronomy 30:15-20. β€œI have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” These words are dear to my spirit . . . β€œchoose life.” Yet as I read the passage this time around, I…