I recently attended the shavat service at Temple Emmanu-El, where my friend Rabbi Oren Hayon. Oren and I eat lunch with Rev. Neil Willard of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church and Rev. Duane Larson of Christ the King Lutheran Church once a month. Our congregations all worship adjacent to Rice University in Houston, Texas. We call each other friends.

from-shavat-service-at-temple-emmau-el-houston

The faith of Jesus

Thinking today: It’s not faith in Jesus; it’s the faith of Jesus, the stream in which we started swimming in our baptisms. It’s not assent to a system of beliefs, as if Jesus is one item in a doctrinal list, an item that sets the boundary line of who’s in and who’s out. Rather, the faith of Jesus is a surrender, a surrender to a way of life that Jesus himself authentically lived, trusting beyond hope that it leads to life and life to the full. #OpenWelcomingCompassionate

“Turn your eyes upon … Francis”

There’s an old hymn written by Helen Lemmel in 1992. I used to sing it with a beloved congregation in Carter County, Tennessee. I’ve adapted the refrain:

Turn your eyes upon Francis,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

I’m reading a book on Francis of Rome by Leonardo Boff. Do you know that Francis consciously chose to be referred to officially as Francis, Bishop of Rome? That’s one heck of a way to start out the ministry of being the Pope! “Call me Francis; but don’t call me The Pope.” Which says to me that he takes seriously that something important has shifted in him, and that God is the Shifter. And it also says to me, “I’m not God; let’s make sure we keep that straight.”

I’m biased, but there’s something, something in all of that, deeper than humility. Something that I can’t quite name, and something I want to know very much for myself. There’s something godly about it.

Picture the image of Francis, Bishop of Rome, washing the feet of Muslims; and imagine now that the image is you.