I was recently on Amtrak going upstate to visit friends, and when I travel by train, I love love love the quiet car. Not every train offers this little moving oasis of silence, but when possible, I always choose to sit there. On this particular trip, it was, and I did. I settled in by a window, put my phone on silent, and prepared for two centering hours without conversation or sounds from electronic devices….
We are called to a life of Servanthood….
…Being a Christian is not about being better than someone else, having a more superior position, nor is it about having power over someone else. Jesus said, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whomever wants to be first must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:43-44)
Following Jesus we are led into a life of serving others, no matter who we are. It is a special type of service. The type of service Jesus is encouraging us to live out is one of really serving others, so they benefit….
Being a Christian is about serving others and serving them in the right way, which is with love.
This fall we are exploring the sacraments in our Adult Forum series, and we have started at the beginning, with Baptism. Some of us were baptized as babies, while others were old enough to remember the ritual – but in either case, we have found that there is a wealth of meaning in this ancient sacrament! A few of the various strands of this meaning include a welcome into a parish community as well as into the Body of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and a radical dying to our old life and rising into the new.
I participated recently in a community meeting where someone reminded those present of the concept of “slow knowledge.” Originally coined by David Orr in the 90’s, the basic premise here is that wisdom is gained in inverse proportion to the rate at which information is ingested. In other words, the faster we try to absorb what’s being thrown at us, the less we will be able to be formed by what we know.
As we all experience in one form or another, the amount of content available to us and the rapidity with which that content comes to us has only accelerated since Orr first wrote. The idea of engaging information slowly is countercultural, for sure. And yet, Orr makes the argument that we are made to be more intentional in our learning; more experiential and reflective. He cites nature in support of his argument, and writes, “Except for rare episodes of punctuated equilibrium, evolution seems to work by the slow trial and error testing of small changes. Nature seldom, if ever, bets it all on a single throw of the dice.”…
When one has a selfish heart, one will do whatever they need to do to get what their heart wants. When we are ruled by selfishness, our minds will allow us to justify anything and everything so long as we get what we want, so long as those selfish desires are...
In the dark comedy Harold and Maude, twenty-something, despairing, death-obsessed Harold loves life-affirming Maude, who is getting ready to celebrate her 80th birthday. Toward the end of the movie (spoiler alert), Harold arranges a surprise party for her. He decorates a room with all her favorite flowers and gives her a present and says he wants her to be happy. She tells him she is happy, and then shares with him that she won’t live much longer….
…In Sunday’s Gospel we will read, people decided that they weren’t ready to make the sacrifices that Jesus was asking of them. Maybe they didn’t understand what Jesus was asking them to do and when they discovered the reality, they decided it wasn’t for them. Maybe they thought they were willing, but when push comes to shove, they decided that it was just too much for them to take on….
This is my give-away—
not because I don’t want
not because it’s out of
…“‘Give-Away Song’ honors our Dakota value of generosity and sharing whatever we have with those around us. This poem is also a response to the missionaries and Indian agents who often reported that our ancestors did not know the value of things that the government provided them—blankets, flour, meat, food, tools, other supplies—and that when those goods were distributed, the people would immediately share with others who did not have as much as they did. But I think our ancestors did know exactly the value of things and that value only comes when you can share.”
On Easter Sunday, when we were still worshipping on Zoom, I walked from my apartment to the church to join the service from my office. As I made my way down 9th Avenue, I registered a person seated outside our gate. As I got closer, I saw that it was a woman and that she was distressed. She was rocking back and forth, holding her head in her hands and crying. Approaching the church, I started to make out what she was saying: “I need help!” she cried. “I need help in Jesus’ name.”…
Perhaps it would be good for each of us to pause for a moment and look deeply into our own hearts and ask ourselves just what is the most impossible challenge we face in our Christian life today. Is it possibly the pandemic we have been experiencing, could it be financial, perhaps concern about our own health, family, those who refuse to take the vaccine? As we seriously consider the matter, would it be possible to place the value of that impossibility up against God’s power, and find a real and lasting solution that is pleasing to God?…