Do Not Lose Heart

A sermon on 2 Corinthians 4-5:1. I remember sitting in high school economics class. I’m not sure what the state of Tennessee hoped we’d be learning, but the coach of the baseball team turned our economics class into a personal finance class. The personal finance radio celebrity, Dave Ramsey, lives in my hometown, and our…

Snow Angels: Super Small Ways Parents Can Grow Children’s Spirits

A couple months into my Maternity Leave away from church duties, my oldest child, still yet a toddler, sat in the floor of her room reading her children’s Bible. I noticed and asked, “What’s your story about?” “Jesus,” she said. “Do you know him?” Now, either my mainline denomination-ly raised toddler had become the best…

Midnight Songs: A Prayer Practice for People at their Spiritual Limit

At the end of my hospital chaplaincy internship my supervisor gave me a prayer book for the bedside. The small volume lends its wisdom in important pastoral moments with people at their limit—people who are dying or very sick. Usually, when the spiritual moment for bedside prayers arrives, we know it. Someone is very ill….

Spiritual Scrapbook: Practices/Pathways to God

The Daily Routine. (posted 3/30/20) In worship on Sunday, we read the story of the woman who gave everything she had, all she had to live on, two small copper coins. You give so much. every. single. day. especially now. Stop and think about your daily routine in the days of ‘social distancing.’ What’s changed?…

Spiritual Scrapbook: Ancient Scriptures/New Prayers

A Simple Prayer. (posted 3/30/20) What would I do without you? Thank you. Amen. Read the story of Lazarus. (posted 3/23/20) Read John 11:1-44. Notice the range of emotions in the story. Then, write a prayer of gratitude for our God-given emotions. “God is God-enough to know our laughter and our tears alike.” (This idea…

Spiritual Scrapbook: Poems Found

“Beloved is Where We Begin,” Jan Richardon. (posted 3/23/20) Praying, praying, praying for all who are going out to work today, who are worried about personal safety, who are worried about family members at home, who are worried about those they work with or work to serve. Do not leave home this morning without hearing…

Spiritual Scrapbook: Songs Lifted

“It is Well with My Soul,” various Nashville Studio Singers. (posted 3/30/20) Watch and listen on YouTube. Just beautiful. Each singer recorded their voices at home, most on cell phones, and a producer put it all together. I grew up in the Nashville area, and the song sings of ‘home’ for me. Have you ever felt…

The New, True Marks of Kid-Friendly Churches

We love our kid-friendly church. We still talk about a moment in worship, several years ago now, when a two-year-old walked down the aisle from the back pew to stand in the front of the sanctuary. The handbell choir was playing the introit from the side balcony. Front and center, the little one tilted her…

“Mysteries, Yes”

As long as we’ve had necks to bend and fingers to point, people have been staring up into the sky. For so long, we didn’t know what was beyond the sun, moon, and stars visible with the eye. And, now, we know a great deal about the great beyond, and, yet, the sky hasn’t lost…

Let beauty be.

What beauty have you known? In his book “Sabbath,” Wayne Muller tells the story of a beautiful neighborhood, with a beautiful church. “When I worked as a community organizer in the poorer Boston neighborhoods,” he writes, “we often had meetings with local teachers, parents, clergy, and social activists, trying again and again to listen for…

For Children Like Us

Children’s book author Sandra Boynton writes bright, funny books starring energetic, often dancing animals. A favorite is called Snuggle Puppy. It goes like this: “Oh snuggle puppy of mine, everything about you is especially fine. I love what you are. I love what you do. Fuzzy little snuggle puppy, I love you.” Children’s books are…