Jesus, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and still wet from his baptism, comes back to his home synagogue, publicly claims that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy, and is praised by everyone. Then, within five verses, everyone in the synagogue is filled with rage. They drive him out of town so that they might hurl him off a cliff.
Indiana’s fiery love affair with basketball began just a few years after James Naismith taught his Massachusetts gym class to toss a soccer ball into an elevated peach basket. After he got a taste of Hoosier Hysteria in 1925, Naismith wrote that basketball seemed to have its “origin in Indiana.”
Our firstborn son came into the world seven years ago with red hair, blue eyes and keen perception. We discovered this early on.
We’d be out for a walk and Jonah would start pointing and saying, “Woof, woof, woof!” (i.e., “Mama, Dada, over there, a doggie!”). We wouldn’t see a dog anywhere, but he never lost his resolve. “Woof, woof, woof!” And sure enough, six, maybe seven blocks up, off in the distance we would see it: a big black poodle, or a cream-colored golden retriever. He was right every time. We were the ones without eyes to see.
Breast-feeding is quiet and holy work—rocking, comforting, studying each other’s face and skin-to-skin bonding. When it goes well (and God knows, it doesn’t always go well!) nursing is a sweet and beautiful thing. It’s sweeter than honey, the psalmist might say, sweeter than the drippings of the honeycomb.
Now that it's summer, I'm on the lookout for nonviolent
water toys. They're a lot harder to find than one might think. If you
look past the brightly colored plastic, all you're left with is mock
weapons: rapid-firing automatics, pistols, double-barreled rifles, AK-47s
A few weeks before I was ordained, a gunman entered a
Benedictine monastery just north of Kansas City. The man parked his car in the
parking lot, walked into the monastery and opened fire. He shot and killed two
monks and wounded two others; then he marched into the chapel and shot himself
in the head.
There's a young man in my congregation--let's call him
"Michael"--who's trying to turn his life around. He's been in and out of
detention centers and prisons since he was 13. Over and over again, he was
caught stealing cars, smoking pot, breaking and entering; you name it, he's
done it. But now he's trying to change, to turn around.
Vogan is one of the most dedicated church members I know. Every Sunday, 15
minutes before the prelude begins, he climbs up into our soaring, Gothic tower
with one goal: to set our 2,020-pound church bell into full swing. Then, for
ten whole minutes, the Old South bell calls all of Boston to pray.
Sometimes the news of the world can take the hope of Easter
right out of you. Sometimes it's hard to believe in the resurrection.
And yet, this is how it happens: a woman, 38 years old, is
diagnosed with breast cancer and has to have a total mastectomy. Two years
later the cancer comes back, and her doctor schedules her for another
Scholars say the title "To the Hebrews" is not a part of the original
manuscript: the author of this early Christian letter—a written sermon,
really—doesn’t waste time on salutations. He gets right to it, straight
to the point.
“Brothers and sisters, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Let us therefore join our hearts together in prayer. . . .”
With these words, I invite my congregation into a spirit of confession week after week. To some extent it works: everyone dutifully bows, prays, holds silence, sings a contemplative chorus and rises for the words of assurance.
During the day, her mother’s confusion was manageable, more or less.
They would wake up, have their tea and toast and walk around the house,
noticing which flowers were waxing and which were waning. After their
mid-morning nap, they would have lunch and then settle into a long game
of cards or—her mother’s favorite—dominoes.
It’s official: our entire household is obsessed with outer space. Our children have a solar system hanging over their beds, our upstairs hallway is graced by images of the Milky Way, and when nighttime falls, glow-in-the-dark planets sing an eventide song of praise to the God who made them all and yet is mindful of one little family staring up in wonder.
We did a lot of breathing through our teeth: “Hee, hee, hoo. Hee, hee, hoo. Hee, hee, hoo.” The instructor said this breathing would help mitigate the pain of labor, and it did, until we hit that thing called transition (the most intense phase of labor when even the strongest women momentarily lose faith in their ability to bring new life into the world).
Our guide assured us that it wasn’t very far, only about 15 minutes or so up the road. Maybe 20. We were on our way to Bassin-Bleu, one of Haiti’s most magnificent waterfalls. The sight of it, said our guide, would take our breath away. It was early in the morning.
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