Blessings in Disguise

“But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” (Genesis 33:4)Well this was unexpected. Two brothers who, from the womb, had wrestled with one another – for parental love – for position – for favor – for blessing. For decades, their relationship was fraught with manipulation, physical and emotional cut off, lies, fear, resentment and guilt. And now God has come – in disguise – to wrestle with one of them. Jacob…

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Thanks to God For My Redeemer

I can remember as a young pastor thumbing through my grandmother Emilie Bee’s old church hymnal while serving a small congregation in Grafton, Illinois. I remember the congregation well because we had to cross the Mississippi into Illinois by way of a barge/ferry. As I perused her hymnal, I came across a piece of music that has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving poems. I like it, first, because it is so simple, and second, because it is so specific. It doesn’t simply…

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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…

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From Grief to Fatigue to Spiritual Rest

“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.” Matthew 11:28-29 Early into this pandemic and our sheltering-in-place I started talking to people about their feelings of grief. In March and April perhaps you were feeling sad, irritable or unsettled. A friend told me that she was feeling…

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