Prayers Around the Cross

“But I, O LORD, cry out to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.” Psalm 88:13The above quote is from one of the lament Psalms that are in our Bible. Laments tell of the grief and pain either a person or the ancient nation of Israel happen to be going through. Every lament is honest in what is unfolding and each one tells God the truth and asks for help or some kind of deliverance from oppression. And every one, except…

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Advent Blues

“Advent does not begin in buoyancy or celebration or in a shopping spree. The natural habitat of Advent is a community of hurt. It is the voice of those who know profound grief, who articulate it and do not cover it ever” Walter Bruggemann Those words are from one of my favorite biblical scholars Walter Bruggemann. He hits the nail on the head when it comes to Advent, especially this year. Yes this has been a year of hurt, of “one crying in…

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Mixed Up

Not too long ago, my wife and I sat down to a surprisingly relaxing evening after a tough week and we decided to try and watch one of those wonderful and ever popular Netflix original holiday movies. As is usual with those films, I found myself cringing at the script and acting ability. I found myself say at about the hour mark, “how long, O Lord?” Of course, we both laughed and then continued the slog for another 37 minutes. It’s fun to…

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Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

Last summer I spent a month with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Gertrude's Monastery in Cottonwood, Idaho. The nuns had granted me an artist residency: a whole month to work on a manuscript I was writing and read and engage in what they called "holy leisure."  It was one of the greatest blessings I've ever had to live with these faithful women. I joined them twice each day for morning and evening prayer, during which the nuns sang the psalms. They would sing…

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The Waiting

“I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.” (Isaiah 8:17) Waiting is not something I’m very good at. I admit I’m impatient and it’s hard for me to watch the slow pace of change over the years. Yet that all changed this year, everything changed didn’t it? Almost overnight we went from being these incredible social beings to isolated, stuck at home, and separated - not just by walls,…

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Unconsolable Grief

“O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:4-7We have entered a time of grief like none other in my lifetime. And my life has been filled with grief…

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Freedom Blues

“Freedom’s just another word fornothin’ left to looseNothin’ don’t mean nothin’ if itain’t free, no, noAnd feelin’ good was easy, LordWhen he sang the bluesYou know, feelin’ good was goodenough for meGood enough for me and Bobby McGee!”The lyrics above are from one of the greatest songs written, this is verse three of “Me and Bobby McGee.” If you know it then you most likely know that it was written by Kris Kristofferson. It has been performed by so many artists, the most…

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Waiting for Morning

Psalm 130 1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. 2   Lord, hear my voice!Let your ears be attentive   to the voice of my supplications!  3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,   Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with you,   so that you may be revered.  5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,   and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord   more than those who watch for the morning,   more than those who watch for the morning.  7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!   For with the Lord there is steadfast love,   and with…

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