In the black and white family snapshot, we’re sitting on rocky ground with a snow-covered slope in the background. Our expressions are not the typical “cheese” for the camera. The youngest brother looks dazed, his eyes wide and his mouth slightly open. The middle brother’s cap casts a heavy shadow over his face and his… Read More


Several years ago I went on a trip to Puerto Vallarta with friends. One of the activities I looked forward to was fishing in the ocean. When that day came, I took a bus into town and walked down the beach until I found a secluded spot on a pile of lava rocks that jutted… Read More


“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” These are the words of church father Saint Augustine, who lived in the 4th and 5th centuries. I think of Augustine as one of our mixed blessings. On the one hand, he championed the doctrine of original sin… Read More

Glitter and Ashes

I have to confess that one of the reasons I accepted Jane’s invitation to preach this morning is because I love anointing people with glitter. Yes, glitter. I first anointed people with glitter as part of a children’s message about the strange story that Jean just read for us. As you heard, Jesus climbed a… Read More

Making Space

Ted was my one of my grade school enemies. I was shy, awkward, and serious. I didn’t know how to stick up for myself. Ted, along with several other boys, enjoyed tormenting me. One day, our teacher was distracted, fiddling with a faulty projector. Ted saw his opportunity. “Who farted?” he blurted out in a… Read More

Get Closer

There is much in the sacred texts that Milo read to us today that resonates deeply within me, each of which are deserving of sermons unto themselves: choice; seeing; fire; life; death; infants; path; growth… With limited time, any guesses as to which one we will be talking about the most this morning? I will… Read More

Give Light to All the House

I love to walk in the dark without a flashlight. I took up this practice while working at Wilderness Canoe Base, at the edge of the Boundary Waters. For the community there, it’s part of the culture, a point of pride, to learn to navigate the rocky, steep paths by instinct as much as by… Read More

Blessed Are Who?

In just about every wedding sermon I give, there is a moment when I urge the couple to turn around. Typically, they are standing with hands joined, facing each other. I usually have to say it more than once. Really, I mean it: turn around. Take a look, a good long look, at this beloved… Read More

Called Toward Dawn

Though pastors often preach about the Christian concept of calling, or vocation, most members of congregations don’t feel called. That’s what Professor David Lose and his colleagues found when they surveyed churches. Lose theorizes that this disconnect happens because we so often link calling with what people do for paid work. He points out that… Read More

At the River

This week, Robert Marchand set a world record for cycling 14 miles in an hour — at the age of 105. I was intrigued, so I read more about Marchand. Born in France, in 1911, he survived two world wars. He held many jobs in his life. He was a firefighter, a truck driver in… Read More