What is Holy Week For You?

In the church I grew up in on the West Side of Chicago, a church that worshipped about twelve hundred people on a Sunday in the mid-summer, Palm Sunday marked the ramping up to very busy week. There were twenty-four services beginning at seven in the morning of Palm Sunday and ending at one in the afternoon on Easter with six on that day alone. In my junior high days and through high school, I worked regularly at the church but for me…

Continue Reading What is Holy Week For You?

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 Reading Lenten Presence

Arrival of March

When I was growing up as a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (“Tosa” to those in the know), I found the Psalms to be exceptionally boring. There was so much repetition from Psalm to Psalm; the language and topics were archaic; there were no good stories, only a bunch of little verses that didn’t seem to fit together. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found the Book of Psalms to be among the most meaningful parts of scripture. I…

Continue Reading Arrival of March

Consider the Psalms

Lent is an appropriate time for reflection and self examination and there is no better place to ground our thinking than with the Psalms. This is a book that is actually made up of several books and inside each we can find songs that reflect many ways of describing our relationship with our God. There about nine major types of Psalms and most contain more than one manner of expression. For Lent however, I wish to focus on the Penitential, the Laments and…

Continue Reading Consider the Psalms

Allowing Time in Lent

The season of Lent began yesterday, did you make it to one of our local Lutheran churches who did “Ashes on the Go” for your Ash Wednesday? Or did you find a time in your home or workspace to remember the day? Or did the day move past you in the usual fashion, and perhaps now you are feeling a twinge of regret for missing it, as I mention it? I always will remember one Ash Wednesday when I was living and working…

Continue Reading Allowing Time in Lent

On Lent and Hope

I love the church year, the changing seasons and colors. Whatever else happens in the world, the church year goes forward. It is not like the chronological calendar year that starts on a number and moves to another number at the end. The cycle of the church year revolves, with hints of the next season, the next experience always ahead. The colors change, the paraments change, the fabric and shapes of the banners, the flowers or the not-flowers at the altar. Some days…

Continue Reading On Lent and Hope

Oboe Lessons

Nearly five years ago, I started oboe lessons. This was something I wanted to do since I was in elementary school. When the time came in fifth grade to start learning a band or orchestral instrument, I really wanted to play something with flashy, silver keys and that had a cool instrument case. Instead, I was given my father’s violin. Needless to say, with such a lack of enthusiasm, my violin playing days were limited. As I got older and looked toward retirement,…

Continue Reading Oboe Lessons

Marking Time

“How might our experience of time change if we could learn to receive time as a gift from God? How might this open us up to live more fully?”  Dorothy Bass, Receiving the Day One of my favorite TV shows is When Calls the Heart on the Hallmark Channel.  It is about a schoolteacher Elizabeth  Thornton in the small town of Hope Valley in the early 1900s.  Elizabeth rings the bell to start and end the school day.  She also rings the bell to signal the end of…

Continue Reading Marking Time