Finding a way forward in Psalm 3
“God, do you see this?” asks the poet in Psalm 3, “Enemies past counting! Enemies sprouting like mushrooms! Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery.” -The Message
I imagine most of us have been there. Whether an enemy or a problem or a day full of troubles, sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere. Other times, the source is clear.
In any case, the poet is being pursued by “trouble.” There are enemies on all sides. …
Psalm 2: A welcome antidote to a culture of complaint.
Psalm 2 may not be the most glamorous, but it bears a truth worth telling. A person has been called upon to lead.
This was no ordinary person. The selection process was lengthy. Just when it was thought that all of the best candidates had been considered, there was David, a shepherd, out tending sheep.
Cultivating an Interior Life of Contemplation and Prayer
David was not leadership material by most standards. He did not have the pedigree that some wanted, but he did have that one intangible quality worth noting…
Reflection on Psalm 1
It was suggested to me some time ago to read and pray through the Psalms. Taking one Psalm a day, I would read, journal and write out a prayer. Today I find myself drawn to those ancient songs again.
For example, Psalm 1 is an invitation to life, a life that consists of choices within the context of a larger story. We choose what paths we travel, paths that were here long before we got here.
We choose the kind of people we wish to be and we can choose whether to be grounded or ungrounded…
Reflections while Running in the Rain
I went for a run one morning in a light rain. The air was heavy. The sky was gray. I could feel the humidity on my skin. “Why do I do this?” “Health? Peace of mind?” “Just keep running,” I say, “It’ll all make sense.”
As I moved along the wet trail, I saw the striking green of leaves, yellow sunflowers rising from a pile of stones and the deep, dark river beneath a canopy of trees. I became less aware of myself and more in tune to something other.
I was reminded of…
Life as a Hospice Chaplain
When I was younger, I was given a Bible. It had my name in it and the day it was given to me. It was leather-bound and made many trips to camp and church and occasionally rested beneath a lamp beside my bed.
One thing I remember about this Bible were several pages of maps at the end of it depicting the travels of a pastor named Paul who sailed around the Mediterranean Sea.
There, he made countless stops on islands, inlets and shores; breaking bread with people, praying with them, and providing counsel and…
“Storytelling and Healing in a World Gone Mad”
When you return to an old book, sometimes you begin to see the world with new eyes. In returning to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, I began to see what poet Kathleen Norris describes as:
“… a bold act of storytelling and healing in a world gone mad. In 1942, just twenty-four years after the end of a brutal war…, Great Britain was at war again.
Now it was ordinary citizens who suffered, as their small island nation was bombarded by four hundred planes a night, in the infamous “blitz” that changed the…
The Matter of Words, Language and Rhetoric
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, we find a charicature of just about any human society susceptible to the misrepresentation of truth. As the old saying goes, “Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth.” Even as the pigs in the story roll out their political platforms for all the world to see, we find a very playful and truthful satire on the value of words. …
Advent 4: Psalm 89:1–4, Luke 1:26–28
Jesus had a mother. Her name was Mary. She was young by most reports, but hardly insignificant. She was a good listener, spiritually aware, and boldly inquisitive.
Mary had an encounter with God that gave her the imagination to see her child as one who could change the world.
Can you imagine — holding such things in your her heart? It would have been easier to dismiss them, but Mary pondered.
She kept this imagination before her as her child grew in stature and wisdom. Even as it must have been difficult to see…
Advent 3: Psalm 130:1–6, Luke 1:46–55
Music has a way of filling our lives on various occasions. In love, in hard times, in hopes and dreams, music has a way of stirring the soul toward faithful activity.
Not long after September 11, I was listening to NPR, when I heard the sound of a flute playing Simple Gifts.
As the flute played on against the backdrop of one of the most challenging times in our nation’s history, I recalled the words to the hymn, I Danced in the Morning, set to the same tune. …
His name was John. He might have been Emily, or Mary or Maya in recent times, but in those days it was John, and there was something about his message that caught the ear.
He did not seek followers, but strangely they found him. He asked nothing of them, but what he offered — they longed for.
It was a baptism, a poetic awareness of a new way of being. This was no mere tattoo nor cross to be worn around the neck, though these may serve as meaningful reminders.
No, this was a baptism, an immersion into the poetry…
Hospice Chaplain/Bereavement Coordinator. Kerrville, Texas. Doctoral Degree. Masters of Divinity. BA in English Literature. Running. Guitar. Reflection.