Monthly Archives: January 2017

January 27 – Affliction As a Means of Grace


I look to the morning readings from the Psalter to help guide my prayers for the day.  As LPC people know, we have been praying for two faithful women in our congregation, both of whom are in the midst of chemotherapy treatments for the cancer that afflicts them. This past Wednesday morning’s reading included the “Teth” section of Psalm 119 (Psalm 119:65-72). Verse 71 found its way into my thoughts and would not leave even after repeated attempts to send it away.

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”

I typically form prayers, prompted by the Psalm, for each of these courageous women and send them along as a morning email. Scripture calls us to pray for one another, and I hope the prayers I send day by day might be an encouragement for the long journey through chemo. Continue reading

January 20 – The Green Stole of Defiance


I’ve decided to wear my green stole on Sunday. It seems to me like a pretty good act of defiance.

At LPC we don’t pay much attention to vestments and paraments; you know, the decorative stoles a pastor might wear with his robe and the variously colored runners on the communion table or pulpit. In fact, we use no paraments and the pastor can’t seem to decide whether he likes vestments or not.

In the high churches vestments and paraments are very important and for good reason. They serve as reminders of the mighty acts of God, though sometimes the parishioners fret about them as if they should be subject to the tastes of an interior decorator.  Among the reasons paraments are not so important at LPC are the architecture and chancel furnishings that discourage their use. And my vestments, modest as they are? Sometimes a plain black preaching gown says all I want it to say.

But this Sunday I’ll be wearing my green stole, and I hope it says all I want it do say. Continue reading

January 13 – Road to the Super Bowl, Hail Mary Edition

Hail Mary

Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, likes to throw Hail Mary passes, and he does so successfully more than any other quarterback in the league. In fact during the past twelve months, Rodgers has thrown more successful Hail Mary passes than all the other quarterbacks in the league combined.

Rodgers’ most recent Hail Mary came at the end of the first half of last Sunday’s Wildcard Playoff Game against the New York Giants. It was really nice.

Calling a time-running-out, desperation long pass into the end zone a Hail Mary began after a December 28, 1975 NFL playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings, when Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (a Roman Catholic) told the press following his  game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson, “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.” Continue reading

January 6 – I am Willing to Sing


I told the story on Sunday, but I like it enough to tell it again.

Becky and I had a wonderful few days in London between Christmas and New Year’s. The trip was low on plans and high on “what shall we do today?”

Before we left, we had talked about an evensong service possibly fitting into our “what shall we do today?” schedule. Our flat was a ten-minute walk from Saint Paul’s Cathedral and Tuesday, December 27, the Third Day of Christmastide, turned out to be just the right day for that late afternoon service of prayers and carols at Saint Paul’s.

The notice posted on the iron fence outside the cathedral told us the door would be open 45 minutes before the service, and we were there on the cathedral steps at just about the 45-minute mark. There may have been a couple of hundred people in line before us, but Saint Paul’s seats over 3,000, so we knew there would be no problem finding a place to sit. Continue reading