Monday, March 31, 2008

St John's Hudson, NY

Yesterday afternoon, I attended the closing of a congregation. After 140 years of service and witness in the community, the congregation was no longer able to sustain the building and ministry. As we sang the closing hymn, "Lift High the Cross", the acolyte and sexton with military precision began extinguishing the altar candles.

When he extinguished the last candle, he stood and bowed before the altar. When he turned to walk down the aisle, tears streamed down his face. At that moment, I too began weeping, along with several others who sat nearby.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied.

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said "See how he loved him!" But some of them said "Could not he who opened the blind man ave kept this man from dying?"
John 11:33-35

Holy God, for 140 years St John's in Hudson, NY proclaimed your mercy and love to their community and world. During this time of grieving and questioning, surround all the members with your loving peace that they will trust that you are with them always. From this sorrow of the congregation closing, bring forth a new and vibrant ministry to care for the people of Hudson, NY just as you created the St Paul's Center in Rensselaer. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What Easter Means to Me

A few years back, tragedy struck the communities I served as pastor. A vibrant, dynamic 14 yr old boy was killed in an ATV vs. pick-up truck accident. I struggled how to make the connection for the youth on how our faith had a message of hope in the dark times. I sort of mumbled to one teen, Jesus kicked Death's butt. He grinned and the idea of capturing that visually has stuck with me. At first, I tried talking a skilled banner maker into creating one for me. Lorna always politely declined the idea and went with far superior Easter banners.

Even still, I never gave up on the idea. During Holy Week, I reconnected with my friend, Dr Draw, and Bill took the idea and ran with it for me. Enjoy this short cartoon

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stealing from neighbors

I could not believe that people truly thought the listing on Craigslist (free internet want ads) was true. Are we so desperate for stuff that we would go and do such a thing here in NY?
Martin Luther has some words for us in the explanation to the 7th commandment, "Thou shall not steal"

We are to fear and love God, so that we will neither take our neighbors' money or property, nor acquire it by fraud or by selling them poorly made products, but will help them improve and protect their property and career.

What would you do if you saw a crowd of people coming up to your neighbor's house and carrying off household goods?

Me, I'd call the police and go confront the people. May the Lord show us a better way to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Friday, March 21, 2008


From 1996 to 1999 I was a member of Peace Lutheran Church in Lompoc, CA. A small church with devoted and faithful members, I started checking out one family's web page for Bill's cartoons blended with his wife, Lynn's, poetry or words.

I haven't thought of Dr. Draw in a while, but on a whim this morning, went to God tube to see if Bill had ever shared on the site. Sure enough, I found this

During this Holy Week, may you feel contacted to the whole body of Christ. For in Christ, we are one.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The answer

If you haven't seen the quick cartoon from yesterday, please take a look at that first. Easter on the Net -- offers this origin of the Easter Bunny and Eggs

While the Easter Bunny is a wonderful symbol of the free gifts of God in Christ, we also need to remember the reason for the joyful celebration: Christ is Risen from the dead! He lives!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A good question

Come back to find out the answer

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy Week terms explained

What does Maundy Thursday mean?
Maundy means " command" in Latin and on Maundy Thursday we remember the new commands Christ gave us: the command to love one another, the command to remember him in the simple meal of bread and wine known as Holy Communion, and the command to serve others as he serves us.

Why is it called Good Friday?
It is a good day for us; the day Christ took our punishment. This week is not only Christ's Passion story, it is our story of being saved.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A week that starts with H and has four letters

Yup, it's Holy Week! (Seriously, what else would it be?)

This week is a time of remembering the final days of Jesus. We journey from cheering and praising Jesus on Palm Sunday, to the confusion and fear on Maundy Thursday and then cry "Crucify Him" on Good Friday. Then the waiting begins, the sense of lose, the realization that his death was for me, for my family, for my friends, for the whole world. There is a feeling of despair on Good Friday (named for our good, not Christ's).

Then the roller coaster turns up, the elaborate joy on Easter morning is indescribable. You have to experience it. Hollywood is made the resurrection a thing of zombies; but we Christians know better. The resurrection of the body is eternal life with God and Christ where we sit around the great banquet table, and realize the promise of Revelation 21 has become true:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away." 5And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.

This is not a scary vision; it is a hope filled promise. One that gives each believer energy and hope in the darkest of times.

God is good, all the time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No Problem vs My Pleasure

I've noticed a trend. Whenever, someone does something nice for me and I say thank you, the response is "No problem."

I'm wondering what happened to the older phrases, "You're welcome" or "my pleasure." I've realized that when I say "No Problem" to someone, it is actually implying...ya know, I was doing something else but since this wasn't a big deal, I did it for ya.

I've decided that I'm repenting of my "no problem" answer, and going to phrases the convey something more positive. If I help someone, it is my pleasure to do it, because I have been given the gifts and skills to do that task.

I can't picture Jesus saying "no problem" as he hung on the cross. But I can hear him say "You're welcome" whenever I'm on my knees saying Thank you God for forgiving my sins.