God is present with me this day. GOD is present with me in the midst of my anxieties. I affirm in my own heart and mind the reality of His presence. He makes immediately available to me the strength of His goodness, the reassurance of His wisdom and the heartiness of His courage. My anxieties are real; they are the result of a wide variety of experiences, some of which I understand, some of which I do not understand. Continue reading “God is Present (Howard Thurman)”
Thoughts? How important are symbols?
“Just call me Erik”
I have never said these words out loud in the context of pastoral ministry.
Sometime just before or during my childhood, there was a movement toward informality in the church. Many pastors stopped going by “Reverend Last Name” or “Pastor Last Name” and started going by just “First Name.” At the same time, there was movement away from clergy attire (although for many Lutherans, collars and vestments had only been reclaimed a few decades earlier).
When I began seminary in 2005 and graduated in 2009, it was more-or-less the norm that clergy would expect to be called by their first name by parishioners, church goers from other churches and colleagues. Wearing a clerical collar was a hotly debated option for many seminary students.
I often got the sense that my desire to be called “Pastor” seemed stodgy and formal to some. And while seminary students of…
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“…For dust you are and to dust you will return.”—Genesis 3:19
Halfway through the line I almost lost it. Until that moment I’d been in a ritual groove, looking my parishioners in the eye, dusting them with ashes, calmly delivering the ancient admonition, “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.” One by one they came, listened, received. But halfway through I faltered.
It wasn’t that I suddenly realized the gravity of what I was telling them, that they were breathtakingly fragile, that at any moment they could dissolve into elemental bits, that someday they would. I’d been feeling the heft of that truth all evening.
So no, it wasn’t that I was giving them fatal news. It was that they wanted to hear it. It was that they’d lined up to hear it of their own free will. They knew exactly what the message was going…
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by Rev. Cheryl A. Lindsay
Made for a purpose.
Shaped for God’s will.
Damaged by life.
The pressure doesn’t stop.
Can it be stopped?
Can clay be made stronger?
Are broken pots put back together…
Or scrapped for fresh material?
Are broken pots beyond repair
Or can they be re-salvaged?
Should the broken pieces
Be shattered back
Into clay…into dust
That can be made
Back into clay…
With just a little water?
And placed back on the Potter’s wheel?
Take my broken pieces
And add Living Water
Place me back in the Potter’s Hands
And make me brand new
A vessel to be used
For Your purpose
For Your will
For Your glory
In Your image
In Your hands
Whole. Shaped. Molded.
Clay – broken no longer.
PEACE AND GRACE TO YOU!
Advent is a season to reflect, remember and anticipate. During this time, we remember the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We anticipate the time when He will come again. And, we reflect on the meaning of His coming, past and future, in our lives.
The Advent Calendar begins four Sundays before Christmas, which falls on November 27 this year. Our focus text for the season is the First Letter of John. The call to discipleship is a call to growing deeper in Christ and like Christ. Therefore, “all who have this hope in Him purify themselves.” In other words, the writer emphasizes that the hope we find in Christ should manifest itself in how we live our lives in relation to God and to one another. The gospel is lived. We not only “tell it on the mountain,” we show it in the workplace, the grocery store, and in rush hour traffic. That is a challenging task for all of us, but it is made immeasurably easier when we begin each day devoting it and ourselves to the Lord. In truth, that is the only way we can purify ourselves – by relying on God to do the work in us and having a receptive heart and spirit.
Click below to download a free electronic copy of this devotional.
Read the introduction, here.
Read the introduction, here.