One of the things that continues to catch my eye as we traverse the lands of Scotland and Ireland are the many photogenic passage ways that come into view. I’ve included a few pictures in this post to illustrate what we’ve seen.
Initially these registered as scenic paths or walkways leading us toward a new destination or discovery. But in time I came to see the deeper passage ways pilgrims
of faith have followed in their pursuit of hope, answers and reassurance in life’s challenges. Truly we are not so different today as we continue to seek paths to God and our own faithful discipleship.
These moments in time are helping me reframe my thinking along the way as to how to articulate the One who is “The Way” to others in our world filled with round-abouts (something Europe loves) and dead end choices.
I invite you to identify the everyday passage ways you see before you today and consider the paths you are choosing.
This summer the congregation I partner with in ministry and I have been given a gift. It’s the gift of a sabbatical. By definition a sabbatical is to be a time of rest, renewal, reflection and refreshment. It shares the same root as the word “sabbath”. My understanding of sabbath is, in part, a disruption of the normal routine in order to be able to live a different rhythm. Just as the sabbath invites us to stop, worship, rest and rejoice – breaking the weekly rhythm of work and production; the hope of a sabbatical is to also live into a new, or different rhythm in order to pay attention to new and different things. One who has observed sabbath is ready to re-enter and re-engage in the routine of life, knowing that he or she is not at the center of keeping the world spinning. So is the hope of a sabbatical – to re-set one’s perspective and allow a refreshed and reinvigorated engagement in vocation for the next season. Continue reading
A lot can happen in three days. The world can change in just three days. I’ve been thinking about the three days we are walking through at the end of this Holy Week – three days traditionally called the Triduum in the church. Here’s a definition: “Triduum”, the period of three days that begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday. You may know these three days by more familiar terms: beginning at dusk on Maundy Thursday these 72 hours extend through Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. They are three days that changed the course of history and perhaps the trajectory of your life. Continue reading
This Wednesday, February 14th, in addition to being Valentine’s Day, is Ash Wednesday. This day marks the beginning of the Lenten Season – a period of 40 days, plus 7 Sundays that ends with Easter. The 40 days are modeled after Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the wilderness (see Mark 1:12-13). The 7 Sundays are intended to be 7 “little Easters” along the way – a respite of worship and celebration in the midst of our otherwise sober companionship of Jesus through his 40 day trial.
I did not grow up in a Christian tradition that emphasized Ash Wednesday or Lent in any fashion. My first exposure to this season of the church year was during my seminary days as I served on the staff of a congregation that did observe the liturgical, or church, year. I only attended my first Ash Wednesday service as a 35+ year old adult, and I’ve only led a very few Ash Wednesday services as a pastor. (Being Baptist we often exert our “freedoms” when it comes to all things liturgical!)
Still, I find this day, and this season, to be increasingly important and significant in my faith – and I hope you might as well (no matter your faith heritage). Continue reading
We are in the midst of a 30 Day Prayer Challenge at First Baptist – Columbus, the congregation I am blessed to serve as pastor. This blog is addressed to that challenge and its participants, but I hope might speak to others beyond our faith community as well.
Most of us, if asked to identify Jesus’ prayer, or The Lord’s Prayer, would quickly think of the prayer he taught his disciples, found in Matthew 6 or Luke 11. But there’s another, longer prayer of Jesus’ found in John 17. In this prayer Jesus prays for us. And he prays for all “those who will believe in me” through the witness of his followers.
Get that – Jesus is praying for our witness to others in his name. He is praying that we who claim his name and the identify of Christ follower, will be purposeful in sharing the good news we’ve come to know and understand with others. He is praying for the multiplication of the church, for the growth of his Kingdom, on earth as in heaven.
What does that do for you? Does it give you courage to know that Jesus has prayed this prayer for you and I? Does it inspire you to pray this same thing for yourself, for others, for your congregation?
Sharing faith, witness, evangelism . . . whatever “churchy” word you choose, is too often neglected in our prayers. We are called to pray for those who are without Christ. We are called to pray for our witness to, with and for them.
Will you join me in this prayer?