A Story to Tell

The stories we tell about ourselves and others matter. The stories we tell about our God matter. Stories are how we build relationships and cultivate faith. Throughout the Old Testament, we see the people of God being instructed to remember how God has engaged them. Sometimes they are called to remember by creating festivals and holidays where they reenact the story (like Passover). Other times they are told to leave a pile of stones, build an altar, or name a significant place in…

Continue ReadingA Story to Tell

Come to the table

It’s summer again, the time of family gatherings. This is the time of year we put extensions in the table and dig folding chairs out of their dark corners so that there can be room enough for everyone at the table. Our table never quite meets the Norman Rockwell dream. There is always a bit of chaos when you bring so many people together. There’s the negotiation of who sits next to you and how to get more elbow room. Still, whatever the…

Continue ReadingCome to the table

You’re Invited

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30 I’ve had a few conversations lately where people have lifted up the silver linings that the shutdown has offered. Some have experienced more time to evaluate their…

Continue ReadingYou’re Invited

Unsettling Joy

Alright, I have a confession to make. Don’t tell anyone, but for the last week I have found myself humming a Christmas song. I know, I can hear your gasps from here. “But Sarah, it’s only April!” “It’s EASTER...you’re in the wrong section of the hymnal!” “Christmas songs before Thanksgiving, that’s an abomination!” I know and yet I can’t seem to get Joy to the World (by Isaac Watts) out of my head. More specifically, I can’t get verse three out of my…

Continue ReadingUnsettling Joy

Just Tom

Imagine with me for a moment: You’re a guy who has spent the last three years traveling and working with your best friends. It’s been exciting and exhausting and oh, so much fun! That is, until it wasn’t. Your leader, the glue that held your fraternity together, was just arrested and killed. What now? You have no idea if the cops are looking for the rest of you. You couldn’t handle losing anyone else right now. You all go into hiding together. And you’re…

Continue ReadingJust Tom

Lenten Presence

Usually, Lent is my favorite season of the church calendar. I enjoy the weight of it. It’s a time where we embrace the sweeping grandeur of the Christian story. Lent feels like we are trying to embrace both the beginning and the end while holding space for all the messiness of the in between and you never quite know if your arms will stretch that far. It’s a time where we speak hard truths and tell long stories. We remind each other that…

Continue ReadingLenten Presence

Holy Roofs and Strange Sights

Jesus Heals a Paralytic One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on…

Continue ReadingHoly Roofs and Strange Sights

It’s been a week…

It has been a week since an armed mob forced their way into the United States Capitol building. Watching the event unfold on the news that day, I had all the emotions you might expect. Anger, frustration, and fear were palpable as my family talked that day. I heard many people (both on TV, social media and in private conversation) call for peace. This week, I find myself feeling the weight of questions of faith and faithfulness. I have fewer answers than I…

Continue ReadingIt’s been a week…

When God orders a burger…

When I was doing my undergraduate work at Pacific Lutheran University, I got to take a class on Judaism taught by Rabbi Glickman. In one of the lectures, Rabbi Glickman recounted an interfaith conversation where a local pastor asked him, “Do you really think God cares if you have cheese on your burger?” The Rabbi’s thoughts were that dietary laws aren’t about God being offended by what we eat but rather are a way of reminding God’s people that God is present in…

Continue ReadingWhen God orders a burger…

Turkey With a Side of Compassion

For many of us, Thanksgiving is going to look different this year. I’ve heard the heartache of many who are mourning the loss of another expectation going unmet in 2020. In many ways, the holiday seems like it will embody all of the frustration, disappointment and isolation that have defined this year for so many. I want to start by saying that it’s okay to be sad. It’s healthy to mourn. There are plenty of Psalms of lament that witness to the fact…

Continue ReadingTurkey With a Side of Compassion

Unlikely Blessings

Last week, the gospel passage read in many of our services was the beatitudes. I’ve always loved this passage. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus proclaims blessing. Not only that but Jesus blesses the most unlikely people. He proclaims the gifts and favor of God’s kingdom will fall not on the social media darlings who proclaim themselves #blessed but on those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, etc.. In our culture, the word blessing is used to describe anything…

Continue ReadingUnlikely Blessings

When the World Goes Quiet

Self-quarantine has called forth some questions of late. Once you’ve finished with the cleaning, gotten bored with the baking, donated more masks than the hospital wanted, and binge watched everything that Netflix has to offer, many of us are left with the discomfort of too quiet homes and unquiet minds. The solitude and silence are getting to me, but I know that both are revered as spiritual disciplines. Why? What do solitude and silence reveal? I have begun to wonder if they compel…

Continue ReadingWhen the World Goes Quiet

The In Between

As a child, I never really understood why scripture makes God’s people seem so discontented in the desert. They are freed from slavery in Egypt, provided with food and water by miraculous means, receive the ten commandments, and they get to see the active presence of God in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. I could never understand why they weren’t always in awe. Now, I find myself relating to the Hebrew wanderers. Beginnings are always…

Continue ReadingThe In Between

Trusting and Transformation

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge [God] And [God] will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) For those of us who have grown up in the church, trusting God may seem like a given. It’s just expected and assumed; like how eating is an assumed part of being a living human. Yet our childhood ideas of trust are often underdeveloped. As a child I trusted God to be…

Continue ReadingTrusting and Transformation

Hope Wins

The world seems chaotic lately. Filled with problems that I have no solutions for. There is a lot of grief being held by our community: for lives lost, for justice denied, for the felt loss of agency and certainty, loss of income and stability, for the loss of physical gathering and fellowship. Yet we do not grieve as those without hope. So I invite you to join me in remembering the story of our hope: Before anything that humanity knows ever came to…

Continue ReadingHope Wins

Mad Libs

One thing that I’ve enjoyed during the stay at home order is Mad Libs. If you haven’t experienced them before let me give you a quick guide: Mad Libs are small stories that have strategically removed important words. The players are asked to provide adverbs, adjectives, nouns and verbs without any context. These words are then plugged into the story and read to the group. It’s usually a great way to get some laughter into your day.In any Mad Libs session, there is…

Continue ReadingMad Libs

Seeing and Seeding

I’ve gotten a few calls recently where I pick up the phone and hear, “Do you think this is the Apocalypse?” It’s a jarring question that catches me by surprise every time. So let me start by saying, “no.” This is not the end of the world. This is not apocalyptic. At least, not in the pop-culture, Left Behind, sense of the word.Yet the word stuck with me this week. In the Greek, apocalypse means uncovering or revelation. In many ways, the current…

Continue ReadingSeeing and Seeding