Another Lenten thought

If you get too engrossed in what you are doing, you will not be able to notice what God is trying to accomplish, just as many did not see the working of God in the Savior. So, keep your eyes and ears Open, and as soon as you perceive something of God ‘s work, let it speak to you.

Another Lenten Thought

Someone asked a question about a pressing theological matter. 

Suppose one had given up meat for Lent. Could one eat meat on Friday? Isn’t there a day when you can do the thing that you’re not doing?

An answer came that I liked. 

Yes. There is. Lent is 40 days. They start with Easter based on a moon or something. Then they count back 40 days and that’s Ash Wednesday. But they don’t include the Sundays in that 40 Days. Why? Because theologically Sundays are a little Easter every week; they are Feast not Fast days. So you can do the thing you’re not doing for Lent on Sundays. 

And the best part is that it’s totally guilt free. Easter, any Easter, ought to be guilt free. Easter by its very nature is guilt free; there’s just no room for it. 

Thinking to begin Lent

Thinking to begin Lent: “Jesus Christ has not made life easy for me. On the contrary, it would have been more comfortable to be without him than to live with him. He puts burdens on the soul, which one would rather let pass unheeded.” -Bishop Otto Dibelius

I recently attended the shavat service at Temple Emmanu-El, where my friend Rabbi Oren Hayon serves. 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.