Showing posts from 2020

Where were you then? Where are you now?

Nineteen years is not that long ago in the grand scheme of things. But a lot has changed in the world. One thing that persists is grief. There are too many more losses. The mourning for 9/11 is not concluded, and more tragedy has come to the world. It is important to remember what has happened. If we do not notice the devastations around us, what will we pay attention to? And if we notice only one tragedy, we are frozen in time, blind, deaf, and numb to the world we live in. Because of the confluence of circumstances, 9/11 is probably the most memorialized single event in history. If you were more than two or three years old and living in the U.S., 9/11 was part of your life. And it was a moment in time where we had the world's sympathy and help. This past Labor Day, Lisa and I visited the Harborview 9/11 Memorial Park in Bayonne. It holds the Tear of Grief memorial, a gift from the Russian people (officially named "To the Struggle Against World Terrorism").

Loooouuuuuuuuuuuu! Lou Brock, Baseball Hall of Famer, 1939-2020

When you're a boy in growing up in St. Louis, you learn about baseball. My Dad took me to my first baseball game in 1963, at the old Sportman's Park, to see the great Stan Musial play in his last season. I was a little young to understand what was going on, except that it was a Big Deal. Baseball was Important. I missed the 1964 World Series, but by 1966 or '67 I was playing ball myself and was, of course, a Cardinal fan. And what a time that was. In '67 they would win the World Series, and in '68 lose in a dramatic Game 7. It was a solid team, with some of the best players of the day and some for the ages. The '67 team was managed and general managed by future Hall of Famers (Red Schoendiest and Musial). Dal Maxvill, Julian Javier, Mike Shannon, Orlando Cepeda in the infield. Tim McCarver behind the plate. Two Hall of Famers in the starting rotation, Steve Carlton and the great Bob Gibson. Roger Maris and Curt Flood in right and center field. And the thrillin

The Desolating Sacrilege

A Dictionary of the Bible includes a definition of the "desolating sacrilege" (NRSV; ‘abomination of desolation’, AV and REB in Mark 13: 14; ‘appalling abomination’, NJB). "The phrase is used in Dan. 9: 27 to denote the pagan altar set up in the Jerusalem Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BCE; and in Mark 13: 14 it may refer to the failed attempt by the emperor Caligula to install his statue in the Temple (40 CE) or to an event such as the display of army emblems in the Temple in the war of 66–70 CE. Luke (21: 20) probably has the siege of the city in mind..." ( A Dictionary of the Bible, Oxford Biblical Studies ). How strongly can you say it? How can you communicate the outrage when the life is crushed out of a man on a Minneapolis street, or the perverse claims righteousness is their property, as they bring devastation to a holy place? Imperial power demands that all bow before it. Yet it is illegitimate. The emperor has never had any clothes. The Livin

The Walk to (and From) Emmaus

You may have been blessed to have Someone, perhaps many Someones, in your life who cared for you, who mentored you, who helped awaken you to the best there is in you. Who opened to you the book of yourself and the book of life. Perhaps they are still with you. Perhaps they have passed in one way or another, and you feel their loss. The Walk .

Locked in, but not locked out

I have heard a lot of good preaching. This is among the best. As a preacher myself, about the best response you can get it "It spoke to me." It did. Thank you, preacher. The two fit together but don't miss Locked In, but Not Locked Out . Sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, preached by Rev. Lisa Bellan-Boyer. Gospel & "Children's" Sermon Catch & Release

Jesus walks with the Cross

Each of the previous six Good Fridays, a procession of grief and hope has walked with Jesus to sites of violence in Jersey City, remembering how the Passion of Christ connects with our present-day reality. This year we regretfully and wisely do that remembrance at home. Of course, Jesus also remembers, and continues to walk with those who suffer. The first station . He is condemned to death. Eleven days ago, a beloved child of God was killed at Triangle Park. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? &nbsp&nbsp Psalm 22:1 The next station . He falls the first time. Five days ago, a beloved child of God was shot and killed on Ocean Avenue, between Bidwell and Bayview. O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. &nbsp&nbsp Psalm 22:2 The next station . He falls the third time. Four days ago, a beloved child of God was shot and killed in the area of Mart

A packed church, or...


The glad news

Psalm 40 Sermon for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, Year A Today I'd like to focus on a couple of the things which are at the core of who we are as a Church. This psalm is rooted in testimony. The Lord heard my cry, he lifted me out of the mire, established me on solid ground, and gave me the gift of praise. There is a new and glorious song in my mouth. And I want to go tell it on the mountain, I want to tell everyone what God has done for me . Those two words - for me - are so important to our life of faith. For Martin Luther, finally hearing these words in scripture helped him overcome his fears of being unworthy, and believe that God was on his side. God's work and God's love are not an abstract concept of theology - "for me" brings them up close and personal. "For me" takes God's saving action out of the future and makes it immediate, present, here and now. God has been "gooder than good." God has acted on my behalf, delivering