Blog

First-person reports, thanks, requests and other items reflecting the day-to-day workings of life in a parish community

Friday in the Third Week of Lent

Many years ago, I worked on a therapeutic team on a psychiatric unit in a small hospital in Massachusetts. The head psychiatrist would reply, when we reported on what the patients were telling us, “It’s not what they say, it’s what they do.” I have relied on that wisdom to name my own resistances and to understand others’. [ More → ]

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Thursday in the Third Week of Lent

Just reading the morning paper, my muscles tighten and my stomach clenches. Like the “strong man, fully armed,” my guard is up before I’ve even left the house. I recognize this state of righteous indignation, of being tense, resentful, willful, intransigent, described in very simple terms in the readings for today. [ More → ]

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Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent

Jesus quoted Deuteronomy more frequently than any book of scripture. And here we are 2,000 years later being brought up short by the Deuteronomist’s message: “I now teach you statutes and ordinances for you to observe in the land you are about to enter. You must observe them diligently for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the people.” The land does not come first. [ More → ]

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Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent

And Jesus spoke: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to an iconic black church that held an emotionally charged service Sunday as its members, the city and the nation continued a painful healing process. Church bells tolled across the city at 10 a.m. in memory of the victims of Dylann Roof, who opened fire Wednesday night on a Bible study group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.” [ More → ]

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Monday in the Third Week of Lent

Belonging to two realms is what the crucifix symbolizes, the tangible earthly economy of exchange and services, and the vertical realm, of the Holy Spirit, and how the two are inextricably tied.

I am taken by the young Jesus’ ability to belong easefully within both realms, with obedience and grace — and win the favor of both earthly and immortal realms. [ More → ]

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Saturday in the Second Week of Lent

Forgiving those that trespass against us is hard work.
 
Forgiveness is an action that requires setting aside ego. To forgive is not an acceptance of wrongdoing, it’s a path to discovering the common truth. In compassion we find mercy and healing.
 
These lessons are difficult under any circumstances.
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Friday in the Second Week of Lent

What would it look like for the earth to be handed over to someone other than us — the whales, perhaps, or the bees with their communal sense of well-being? At a certain point it seems that nature itself may simply rise up to be rid of us. And yet, Jesus invites us to change. To wake up. To go a different way. What, I wonder, have we rejected that is foundational to God’s new creation? Mercy, simplicity, interdependence, some of our kin? [ More → ]

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Thursday in the Second Week of Lent

One Tuesday, a family came in, visiting from Italy. The dad looked around and asked, “Where is the host?” Though at first confused, I then had an epiphany: Oh, that Host! More important, this visitor and I had an opportunity for a friendly discussion of Christians’ varying views on Holy Communion. [ More → ]

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Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent

At the end of the Gospel, Jesus says, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…” I think the service Jesus is talking about is not so much a task as a way of being in the world, of living into the generosity and humility that defies our daily risk and reward calculations. [ More → ]

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Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent

When I was in college I told people I was a vegetarian but in fact continued to eat meat. I was not willfully deceptive. I actually believed I was vegetarian but this was 100% imaginary; a fantasy about what kind of person I wanted to be, in those days. The next step — putting an aspiration and belief into action — never quite happened. I cheerfully continued to eat hamburgers. [ More → ]

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