In Company

On the wall of my study hangs a poster-sized picture of my confirmation class. It’s a game for my church members to come in & try to find sixth-grade-Josh. Not a hard game, actually. I keep it even though I can’t remember everyone’s name—it was a big class, and not everyone was a regular at … Continue reading

3 More Ways to Observe Holy Saturday

I posted several years ago on the Top 10 Ways Pastors (and others) Can Observe Holy Saturday. I think those are still great suggestions, but I’ve had a few more ideas. So here’s three more. Watch some film. My friend Susan is hosting a movie marathon this year, which I think is a great idea. … Continue reading

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Holy Week is a bit of an exercise in futility for some of us liturgically-minded pastors. While the Sanctuary may be full on Palm Sunday and overflowing at Easter, the empty pews at our midweek services beg for some attention. I urge my congregations yearly to appreciate the joy of Easter by attending to the … Continue reading

Signs, Wisdom, and the Cross: A Call to Worship

A Call to Worship based on the epistle reading from the lectionary this week, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (CEB). Feel free to use this in your church on Sunday; just remember, this piece of liturgy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Where is God? Show me a sign that God … Continue reading

Morning Exsultet

Let’s say you are a pastor or worship planner whose church doesn’t do an Easter Vigil. But you want to share some of the rich tradition of that service with your congregation members. What do you do? Why, you adapt the Exsultet for use during the ordinary prayer time on Easter morning! This is my … Continue reading

Deserving Death, Mercy, and Good Friday

The religious leaders tell Pilate “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die…” (John 19:7) because Jesus has committed blasphemy. Hearing that read at today’s Good Friday service reminded me of this passage in J R R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Frodo and Gandalf are discussing Gollum, who … Continue reading

What to Get a Savior Who Already Has Everything?

There’s a lot of talk these days about Christ and Christmas, and what’s appropriate to say and do at this time of year, especially as a person of faith. With so many going to worship this evening to inaugurate the Christmas season, I thought perhaps a brief word on the subject might be appropriate. One … Continue reading

O Emmanuel (December 23)

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=freedom&iid=5067290″ src=”a/8/0/9/Woman_with_son_25c3.jpg?adImageId=8552829&imageId=5067290″ width=”234″ height=”186″ /]O EMMANUEL, our ruler and lawgiver, the expectation and savior of the nations: Come and set us free, O Lord our God. O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come … Continue reading

O Rex Gentium (December 22)

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=crowd&iid=5094860″ src=”a/7/c/3/Colorful_Peace_flag_4550.jpg?adImageId=8517622&imageId=5094860″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]O RULER OF THE GENTILES, their treasure and the cornerstone that binds them in one: Come and save those whom you formed from the dust. O come, Desire of nations bind all peoples in one heart and mind. From dust thou brought us forth to life; deliver us … Continue reading

O Oriens (December 21)

O DAWN from on high, splendor of God’s light and sun of justice: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness, in the shadow of death. O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by thy justice here; disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel … Continue reading