Get Ready for Lent

In this rush about, text-crazy, isolated, and often depressed and angry world we live in, the call to come away for a time to hear a different voice and find a different rhythm can be the most refreshing, life-reordering time. That’s what Lent should be. Lent counters everything we did at Christmas to celebrate. It invites us to quiet. It pulls us into reflection. It gives us time to renew our Christian vows. It compels us to allow what Christ did for us on the cross to be realized in every part of our life. Lent actually comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten which means spring. My good friend Mel Shoemaker, who left this world too soon this past year, opened that meaning up for me in

Just Say the Word

Jesus had finished delivering great words about kingdom living to the crowd that had scattered on a hillside in Galilee. Then he walked to Capernaum, where a Roman Centurion sent elders from the Jewish synagogue to implore Jesus to heal the centurion’s desperately ill servant. Before Jesus arrived at the soldier’s house, friends delivered the centurion’s message to Jesus. “Just say the word and my servant will be healed." (Luke 7:7) So Jesus didn’t go to the house. And when the friends returned to check on the condition of the ailing servant, he was already healed. Who Am I? I am the one who would have asked Jesus to come to the house. I would have asked him to see the terrible suffer

For Valentine

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. We have made it a day for sharing cards, chocolate, flowers, and making expensive dining reservations. Clearly, retail has driven the way we celebrate Valentine’s Day. However, it didn’t start with fancy chocolates and Hallmark cards. Some say it started with a beheading! It is this story of Valentine, a Roman priest in the time of Claudius the Cruel, that reminds me what we should be celebrating. While the story of St. Valentine is veiled in legend, there is truth buried in it. Here’s the story that compels me. Claudius the II had a war to fight and needed undistracted young men to build his invincible army and claim victory. Claudius concluded that single

A Level Place

After naming his disciples and calling them together, Jesus left the quiet hillside to face the crowd that was waiting for him. They had probably heard he was near. Their presence was an expectant, ready-to-listen audience no one had summoned. The crowd hoped it was the invitation Jesus needed to speak. As Jesus surveyed the group, he saw familiar faces from those who had been following him as well us new faces from the surrounding area. Not one to send people away, he looked at the terrain and found a “level place,” (Luke 6:17) where he could stand and teach. Who Am I? They were just three words, but they awoke a longing inside me that had been dormant. I tried to find myself in the wai