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Abraham, Esther, and Moses

As I am nearing retirement from the itinerant ministry, three biblical characters have come knocking at the door reminding me that others have walked the paths I traverse before me.

Abraham

For an assignment in seminary, in free verse form, I reflected on the call of Abraham to leave the land he knew to go to a place he had never been. Growing up I had decided that I was going to be an engineer—like my father. I was good at math and at putting things together, and I adored my father.

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Boys to Men

An interesting thought cycle one morning on my walks this week, prompted by my walking prayers and a meme on Facebook. A cousin posted a meme about raising little boys. It touched me, of course, since I have boys. It was about raising them not just to be men, but husbands and fathers.

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Standing at the Precipice

In a conversation with a friend, a colleague, a spiritual co-mentor, all wrapped up in the same loveable curly-headed being, as we talked about what this impending transition called retirement  means in my life, I had a real sense of where trust in God comes in to play. It can be so easy to talk about trust in God, but in reality it is quite hard. As much as I yearn to trust, as I lean in to trust, I have always had a feeling of standing at a precipice and holding back.

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Grace, Coffee, and Discernment in the Liminal Space

I wrote last week about the grace that Nina and I experienced offering prayer and coffee to the commuters. This week, we heard from one driver who stopped just to thank us for being there. Then today, there was a voice mail from another commuter who thanked us for making a difference in her day a week ago. She couldn’t stop because she was running late, and she was in the far lane. She had been having a rough time at work and didn’t feel good about getting there. Just seeing us helped her to feel encouraged and able to face the work situation. She took the time to look up our phone number to call and let us know.

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Cups plus Waves equal Grace

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night; instead, it was a bright and windy cold morning. Nina and I offered coffee, tea, and prayer for commuters from 7 to 9 a.m. this Wednesday. As usual there were not many takers of the coffee or tea. And many probably didn’t realize that they were takers of the offer for prayer. As we waved, with many returning our waves, we offered greetings and silent prayers for those passing by. I have to say that I had two favorite return waves. The first was a man holding and talking on a cell phone. He waved his pinky finger at me. The second was a young girl riding with a man I assumed was her dad. She waved at me while their car was several places back in line at the light. As the line started moving, I waved again and she gave me a big grin and another wave.

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Don’t Harvest to the Edge of the Field

Who would expect that a sermon on the Leviticus admonition not to harvest all the way to the edge of the field could give insight on how we work! Well, Maggie’s sermon—and her example about how she “harvested” all the work and did not leave work for a co-worker—certainly convicted me. I know that it is better to share the work and to include others in the process, but sometimes it becomes easier to do it myself.

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Relentlessly Kind

Like many of us, I was raised with the admonition, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” So I have been silent in this venue for a bit. Being silent, however, can sometimes be construed as giving silent agreement to words or actions that may be unjust, harmful, or demeaning. How do we navigate this divisive time in our world when it seems that it is now okay to say anything about anyone whether or not it is true, helpful, or insightful?

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The Lord Is My Light…

“The Lord is my light, my light and salvation, in God I trust, in God I trust.” Thus begins one of the psalmists in a poem/hymn about facing moments when we feel assailed or set upon. Some of those moments come upon us suddenly while others creep unnoticed into our presence until we are engulfed.

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what we truly celebrate this season

Sharing what I wrote for a young adult friend facing a deep loss:

Back in college, I read a bit of Paul Tillich, a 20th century theologian, who wrote about God as the ground of our being. That image has stayed with me through the years. It has brought me hope through the losses in my life.

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There are stories, and then, there are other stories

A couple of Sundays ago, as we have been exploring how even an old tight-fisted, hard-hearted miser like Ebenezer Scrooge can find redemption, we took a look at how our memories can become fuzzy over time. The community of family and friends around us can help clarify what we remember, but there is a danger in blindly trusting a version of the story without checking it out.

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