Thursday, August 24, 2006

Reflection for Church Newsletter

This reflection was written for the September edition of the Acts and Facts of the Church of the Resurrection in Omaha, Nebraska.

My dad, who was a Baptist pastor for 27 years, gave me two pieces of advice about ministry. 1) Preach what you believe, both inside and out of the pulpit. 2) Maintain your personal relationship with God, as it blossoms it will overflow to the people around you.

I was an intern in Resurrection House when my dad gave me that advice, and I have tried to follow it ever since. I believe my father’s wisdom applies not just to us ‘people of the clothe’, but also to all baptized Christians. In our baptism we are called not only to follow Christ, not only to learn his ways, but live them out each and every day. To do this we must preach what we believe and our actions must be consistent with our words. St. Francis once said we should “preach the Gospel everyday and if necessary use words.” Our actions often speak louder then our words ever will.

But we must also seek time with God everyday. We can’t be in relationship with something we don’t spend time with. We can’t learn Christ’s ways if we never see, talk to, listen to, and feel Christ in our lives. Indeed the only way—according to my dad—for us to preach what we believe, the only way for us to love or care for those around us, is through personal devotional time with God. See, it works like this, God is better at loving then we are. Furthermore, God is willing to give us more love then we need. It is this overflow that when we share it with those around us enables us to love them the way God does. It is in sharing this abundance of God’s grace given to us that we are able to glimpse the Kingdom of God.

I find the Church of the Resurrection to be an outstanding place to try and live out these pieces of paternal wisdom. First, genuiness is prided upon here. People are who they are, and we are quick to accept each others differences. But even better than that I am challenged to be disciplined in my devotional and prayer life by hearing about the prayer lives of our members. On a recent Sunday, an elder of our congregation said to me, “I get up each morning and pray for God to help me love all those I meet each day, and at the end of the day, I make sure to tell God five things I’m thankful for that day.” What a wonderful discipline that is. I could easily tell that the kindness that exudes from this gracious child of God emanated from God through her prayer life. Furthermore, it challenged me to pray more consistently, to be grateful more then I gripe, and share God’s love daily.

Come get fed at Resurrection so you can go feed. Come get loved at Resurrection so you can go and love. Come Join Us!

God’s Peace,


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tryptich in the Chruch of the Resurrection

These are some photographs of the tryptich that hangs in the worship space of the Church of the Resurrection where I serve. It is a graphic portrayal of some of the attrocities of the 20th century: mustartd gass in WWI, lynchings, american sweat shops. Over these images hangs Jesus on the cross. This artwork keeps me mindful of two things: 1) Jesus, that is to say God incarnate is present in our suffering, 2) We are to stand with Jesus to change the world to prevent these atrocities.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Church of the Resurrection Inspired Collage

This Collage was created by Alison Black, a former Resurrection House intern and COR health minister who now lives in Leavenworth, Kansas with her husband Stephen and their two cats.

A print of this collage will be part of the silent auction at the Resurrection Jam in October.

long time no blog

I haven't blogged in what seems to be a very...very...long...time. In actuallity it has only been about two months, which flew by for me. However, in hindsight, it seems like a life time ago since the end of General Convention 2006. A lot has happened in the passing time with senior high camp and junior camp swallowing most of my attention.

Camps went really well! With the help of some amazing volunteers--especially my wife Jodie--I poured my heart and soul into the camps. All our hard work paid off. From senior high camp where we trained youth as peer ministers we had five outstanding new junior counselors emerge for Junior camp. At Junior camp we had an outstanding time with campers learning to fully rely on God and to share God with each other. The Bishop said to me the other day that when he visited and celebrated at the closing Eucharist he had never seen a group of 4th-8th graders so focused in worship in his life. I am proud of what we did with the camps. Both camps grew by at least 30% and also the Christ centered, participant focus was higher. But...despite all this, I think I might have gotten more out of camp then the campers did.

There are two moments I would like to share: a sun set and a prayer. I was walking back from the activity building to the caffeteria one evening and saw this stupendous sunset. Camp Comeca, a Methodist Facility we rent space from, is located on possibly the only hill in central Nebraska. To get there you are driving along through corn fields and then boom...there's this range of hills with Comeca on top. From atop this hill you can see a great distance because there is nothing to block you line of sight. The corn is high here, but not that high. Possibly, if the skies are clear enough, you might even be able to see Vegas from atop Comeca. Consequently, I had a great view of this sunset!!!! A great view...and it hit me. Right in that moment I had an epiphany. The God that created that sunset, the God that makes stars and planets, atmospheres and colors, hills and corn and human eyes, the God that keeps all these things inbalence so there can be life, the God that is powerful enough to do all cares about little old me. That is grace. Once upon a time a wise man described Grace to me as something good we get that we don't deserve. I certainly do not nor could I do anything to deserve the care or attention of the supreme creating God, but yet I have it. You have it. All have it. Grace, indeed.

The other experience was at our evening prayers one night. We were praying the Song of Simeon, which was first uttered by the prophet Simeon in the Temple at Jesus' presentation eight days after his birth. Simeon recognized God in the infant Jesus. A moment so powerful he was inspired to proclaim,
Lord, you now have set your servant free
to go in peace as you have promised;
for these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A light to enlighten the gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.
We prayed this prayer at camp and I as looked out at the campers, these small children that carry the light of Christ in them, I was set free as God has promised. I saw God in them, a vision of Hope. Each and everyone one of them has the light of Christ in them, and--in the words of Louis Armstrong--oh, what a wonderful world. What a wonderful world we could have if we inspire these Christ bearing children to share thier light with the world.

God's Peace,