There's a neat trick to folding the palm fronds in just the right way so that they become crosses. Let's turn our palms into crosses so we won't be tempted to use them as swords.
When it seems the end has come, "but God." When you see no way forward or out, "but God." When death has done its work and it seems all hope is gone, "but God." Because of these two little words, because of the defiant divine disjunction everything is different now.
Let this day, this Ash Wednesday, be a day for fewer words all day long. Let it be a day for some stillness, for paying quiet attention to mystery, to beauty, to the sacred.
Sometimes religion can be a means of escape from the urgent realities of now.
Sometimes a prayer like this is needed to wake us from our slumber, to shake us loose from our fears, and to set us on our way of "immediacy" toward long-forgotten hopes and longings and dreams. I think this is a prayer for the New Year.
The word “creed” comes from the Latin “credo,” which means “I believe.” It’s a statement of faith, an attempt to capture in words the essence of the content of the faith.
Nobody likes goodbyes, and we go to many lengths to soften or avoid them. A colleague leaves or a friend moves, and we say it’s not goodbye because we promise to have lunch, or to write, or to Facebook. Sometimes we avoid the moment altogether: even though I barely knew her, I once hid in the bathroom for half an hour at a coworker’s goodbye party to avoid the moment when she actually left.
This story cracks me up. Simon's mother was very ill, consumed with a fever, but Jesus was able to cure his friend's mother, to literally "raise her up." What a moment that must have been.
Dr. Fred Craddock, my homiletics professor in seminary, used to tell us often: "Preach Christ. Use words if you have to."
It occurs to me this being Saturday, and early in September, there may be a fair number of folks preparing their first Sunday School lesson of the year today (or tonight). Thank you.