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A Selfless Silence

Are you familiar with a prayer like an accusing finger or a scolding tongue? I have heard whole groups of people chastised in prayers; once, I was specifically singled out for correction in God’s name. I pray you have not experienced this form of abuse, cloaked in self-righteousness and thinly veiled contempt. But just today, […]

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Windows

One of my mentors used to spin a yarn about a parishioner who once vacationed in Europe with her husband and another couple. The party of four decided on a whim to spend the night in one of those quaint B&Bs that make Americans glassy-eyed with nostalgia for the Old World. There was a babbling […]

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Roger That

A version of this essay was published in Presbyterians Today (Jan/Feb, 2015) under the title, “A Dying Wish.” A friend of a friend’s mother lay dying. I was urged to go immediately. As a visiting pastor, I received a brief scouting report: ninety-eight-years-old, one surviving daughter, terminal lung cancer, Italian Catholic. For my part, I was […]

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Who’s You Huntin’?

You are right from your side and I am right from mine. We’re both just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind. ~ Bob Dylan He spoke as if he kept gravel hidden in the far recesses of his mouth. That’s the image that came to mind when I heard the old junkyard […]

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A Resolution

They say, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” I didn’t fully comprehend this maxim until I became a parent. Perhaps you, too, have watched a young child attempt to eat a banana through his nose, or finger paint across the dining room table with sour cream. On any given day, our living room […]

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Why Come?

Less than an hour before the Christmas Eve service and the flutists are adjusting the music stands, sprinkling in occasional notes over the trumpets being blared by youth. The elders are filling Communion cups, freshening up the garlands in the windows, stacking and re-stacking the bulletins. The tree, a twenty-footer easy, is on and already […]

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Fill Your Lungs!

Those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light—a sign before our eyes when we are seemingly too afraid to breathe. A baby’s breath, barely visible in the night chill: a child born, given unto us. He is the virgin Mary’s child, who is Emmanuel—God with us. This newborn is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty […]

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An Unexpected Christmas

What do children think about the Christmas story?           My favorite response to that question is this video: it is brilliant. Spoiler alert: the part about “Can we sing for him?” always brings wonderful tears to my eyes. Merry Christmas, Andrew

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Humming Hallelujahs

Whether I was in my body or or out of my body as I wrote, I do not know. God knows. (Handel on composing the Messiah) A stranger in the hospital reaches out her withered hand, her skin the color of coffee splashed with cream, and grasps the handrail along the sterile hospital hallway. She […]

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Advent prayer

The simple word “Advent” originates from the Latin word “ad venio” which means “to come”, and thus refers to remembering the coming of Jesus as a newborn and waiting for the second coming of Christ to make all things new. In between this gracious past and glorious future, the Spirit of Christ comes continually to […]

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