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

Collect for Spy Wednesday

Last Supper, Church of Saint Martin

A prayer for today’s Community Holy Week service at which I am serving as the liturgist, based on the lectionary reading (John 13:21-32). It’s called Spy Wednesday to remember Judas conspiring to betray Jesus. Glorious God, in your Incarnate Word you name the truth of our existence, and through the cross, Christ Jesus emancipates the … Continue reading

Confessing Christ the King

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[ Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood … 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

Theological Offspring

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=salvation+army+bell&iid=6030149″ src=”b/e/6/4/Salvation_Army_KicksOff_861d.jpg?adImageId=7781836&imageId=6030149″ width=”234″ height=”165″ /]Our son Ben, along with his sister, is staying with his aunt for a few days before Thanksgiving. He has been fascinated with the Salvation Army volunteers ringing bells, and today engaged one of them in a theological conversation. It went something like this… Why are you an … Continue reading

Saying More Than One Thing

I was a senior at Rice University, and as I loved my Religious Studies major and had shown a bit of aptitude for it, I and a few other undergrads were invited to participate in a graduate survey/seminar on Biblical Studies with Matthias Henze and Werner Kelber. So with less than 10 students in the … Continue reading