The Arena of Wonder…and Laughter

My grandfather had a shock of white hair and a physique that testified to his love for food and celebration. He was a Baptist pastor born and bred in the Appalachian mountains not far from Hickory, NC. He had seen moonshine devastate so many families in his community that he was a strict teetotaler, but …

Continue reading The Arena of Wonder…and Laughter

Advertisements

A Flame in the Desert

The way we pray shapes who we become. Our prayers reflect our understanding of God’s work in the past and our hopes about the way God will interact with us in the future. This Egyptian Coptic prayer testifies to the expectation that God walks with believers through the storm, that His presence is a sustaining force and source of joy. And it reflects their desire to become a flame of love.

Lamentations & the Steadfast Love of the Lord

I glance over and see my four-year-old daughter sitting on the couch. Still in her pajamas, she’s coloring happily, a spray of multi-hued markers in reach of her right hand. She’s healthy, she’s safe, she’s here with me. Glancing over to my computer screen I gaze at a photograph of a four-year-old girl in a …

Continue reading Lamentations & the Steadfast Love of the Lord

Will We Eat and be Satisfied?

Five barley loaves and two fish—not much to feed more than 5,000 hungry people. But in Jesus’s hands not enough is transformed into abundance. Not enough, it turns out, is more than enough. The feeding of a crowd of 5,000 men, along with women and children, is the only one of Jesus’s miracles other than …

Continue reading Will We Eat and be Satisfied?

Fellowship: Can a spiritual reality draw us together even when we feel miles apart?

If I say the word “epiphany,” what immediately comes to mind? I think of a bright, startling moment of understanding or inspiration. I imagine an unexpected insight in which the contours of a truth once hazy snap into place. Once seen, they can’t be unseen. In this sense, epiphany is revelation—something made manifest to us …

Continue reading Fellowship: Can a spiritual reality draw us together even when we feel miles apart?

When a Blessing Breaks your Heart

“Blessed are you among women, ” Elizabeth ecstatically exclaimed to Mary, but I wonder. In the run up to Christmas this year, I’ve been thinking about Mary, about her experience of motherhood, about what it means to say that she was “blessed among women.” How could a mother who would one day witness the suffering …

Continue reading When a Blessing Breaks your Heart

Come to the waters: A design for stained glass

When my hope starts eroding, I turn to a river. I want to wash. I want to drink deep. One of the most evocative images in Scripture for me has long been the picture of a river of life flowing from the throne of God in Revelation 22. The waters are unpolluted and clear as …

Continue reading Come to the waters: A design for stained glass

When Wedding Gifts Become Wedding Blessings: Memory and Presence

Sixteen years ago today I was staring out a window in Texas watching torrential rains flood the garden where I was supposed to be married later in the day. I learned then, what I’ve learned many times since, that a marriage takes improvisation and the willingness to change course, sometimes at a moment’s notice. We …

Continue reading When Wedding Gifts Become Wedding Blessings: Memory and Presence