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You are my hiding place

“You are my hiding-place; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” Psalm 32:8 I have told the story before, I think, about my time in the National Jewish Hospital and Research Center, in my eighth and ninth year of life. I was chronically sick as a boy and my parents took me to National Jewish in Denver so that they could try new, innovative treatment, immunotherapy (new at the time), and other medications that might help me live a “normal” life. After five days of testing, my parents had to return to North Carolina, my four siblings, and my father’s work. I was left in a strange place, with strangers, and felt terribly alone. I struggled for many months to

Jesus as truth

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 I remember the first time that I visited the Holy Land in Jerusalem, I spent a lot of time in and around the Kidron Valley which is very, very small, by the way. There are olive trees near the Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives that may date to the time of Christ. And I imagine what those trees have born witness to over the centuries, since the time of Christ? The destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. The ancient olive orchard witnessed the city changing hands, with its outer wall extending ever more outward, between Muslims and Christians and then Israelis ... many times in some instances. And yet, my mind goes

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37 Who has ever heard a commencement address (show of hands)? Now, how many have heard a really inspiring, rousing commencement address? Finally, who has listened to an address and simply desired for it to be over? Yeah, I hear you! Moses, in Deuteronomy 30, is giving a commencement speech, of sorts. What does a commencement address do? It acknowledges the accomplishments of the graduates (Israel), reminds them of the challenges (past and future), and, finally, sends them out into the world. Moses’ work with Israel, like teachers with their students, is over and it is now up to them to live into the promises of God, even

Awash in the humbleness of Jesus

For I have set an example, that you should also do as I have done to you. John 13: 15 Our reading of John (the Good Book Club) has brought us, this week, to “the Great Discourse,” Jesus’ final teaching of His disciples. Jesus, in John 13-17, this Discourse, he reassures His disciples, challenges them, and guides them into what will be a new reality with them. He commands them to love one another, to take heart, and to “do as I have done to you.” In one of the great moments in all of the Gospels, Jesus dramatically, yet humbly, takes off his robe, puts a towel around himself, and begins to wash His disciple’s feet before supper. The disciples must have been stunned at Jesus’ humility and we k

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Isaiah 58:1-9a; 1 Corinthians 2:1-12; Matthew 5:13-20 It is nice to think of ourselves as being the “light of the world,” but it is a tall order. I am constantly pulled back to the story of Paul and his journey. How was he a light of the world? Jesus is easy, in some ways, he was perfect, son of God and Man, he did everything right. Paul started off as a man of violence, vengeance and anger. The Bible is full of flawed characters that God used as instruments of His grace, glory, and blessing. Paul is one of those characters and he uniquely called for us to see the vision of the crucified Jesus as one of power – power coming from Christ’s weakness, Christ’s humility, Christ’s blessings, Chris

Seeing the glory of God

Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ John 11: 40b John 11 communicates an important truth in the Jesus story: Jesus is the Resurrection and the life. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, has died and Jesus arrives four days too late to save Him (a fact that both Mary and Martha remind Him of). Jesus tells both sisters that their brother will rise again and not in some distant future, but today. They cannot quite bring themselves to believe it and who can blame them! People don’t rise from the dead which is one of the fundamental arguments that atheists (and Jesus Seminar adherents) make in shunning belief entirely or maintaining a hard skepticism arou

The Presentation of Our Lord

Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 84; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40 Please find the Song of Simeon on page 120 of the Book of Common Prayer. Let us pray. Lord you now have set your servant free, to go in peace as you have promised. For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see; a Light to enlighten the nations and the glory of your people Israel. Glory to the Father ... Amen. We say these words each week, as we say Evening Prayer. I remember when Olivia and I began praying together every night, when she was a little girl. I prayed with all of my children, but she is the only one who will still, mostly, let me pray with her. The Song of Simeon is one of those