Last night, I conducted my eight Ash Wednesday service. I still feel like an utter novice at it. It feels like I am playing make believe, engaging in rites and rituals that I have no business attempting. Last night, incredibly, I forgot my lines (“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return… […]
I was at a lunch this week where Matthew 20:20-28 was read devotionally before the meal. It’s the passage where the mother of James and John seeks to stake out some territory for her sons in the kingdom of God that Jesus was always going on about and which she believed was imminent. “Grant that […]
As I’ve mentioned before, I often join a few Anglican colleagues for morning prayers on Wednesdays. When I do so, I invariably come away with something to ponder from the Scriptures we read together and the traditional prayers that we join our voices with. This morning’s Psalm was a portion from the longest of them […]
To err is human, Alexander Pope famously said in his Essay on Criticism. Yes, it certainly is. And the more experience I have with this being human business, the more evidence I am afforded of this unpleasant truth.
Often when people find out that I’m a pastor for the first time, they will gradually, at some point in the conversation, summon the requisite courage or boldness or curiosity to ask some version of the question, So what do you actually do all day? I will usually “um” and “ah” and “well, you see” for […]
I heard an advertisement on the radio while driving around today. A restaurant was offering one free glass of wine per person for every visit over a certain period of time. After frantically altering my lunch plans and stampeding down to this restaurant for an 11:00 lunch snorting derisively at the moral decay and transparent […]
One day, three conversations. 1. I’m at a function where my job is to give a short devotional and prayer before the meal. Pastor-y stuff. You know. I’m trying to be witty, disarming, light. I make some throwaway comment about how I know we’re all hungry and that the soup smells good, but please won’t […]
I sometimes think of strange things on the way to work. Today is April 8, 2014. Yesterday it was 20 degrees Celsius here in southern Alberta. This morning it is snowing. This seemed somehow wrong to me as I was driving down the highway this morning. Yesterday the window was open. Today the defrost is […]
Lent is a time when we talk often about “wilderness experiences”—about times when things are hard, when God seems absent, when we seem disoriented or stressed or lonely or bored or anxious or whatever. “The wilderness” becomes a kind of placeholder for an experience or set of experiences that happen to us. A season we […]
A few stray strands from the week that was that I am trying to connect on a glorious hoar-frosted Friday morning…. One of the cool traditions that our church is a part of is what is called “Lenten lunches.” Every Thursday throughout Lent, a different church in our city opens its doors to sisters and […]
There aren’t many good radio stations in the city I live in. Like, roughly zero. But for a few glorious moments this morning the heavens opened, the clouds parted, and a shaft of wondrous auditory light suffused my little Volkswagen Jetta as I flitted about, running errands on a windswept prairie day. U2’s “One” was […]
Remember that you are dust and that to dust you shall return. These words have been spoken in churches around the world this Ash Wednesday and will be spoken later today in our own church. These words are a call to ponder our mortality, to examine our souls and repent for our sins, to begin […]
It’s mid-afternoon and it’s been one of those scattered, disjointed days. Office equipment malfunctioning, the seemingly constant pinging of email, several conversations about how to do this or that better, and what the church ought to consider doing, and what a healthy church looks like, and not getting my sermon done, and thinking ahead to a funeral […]
I led my first ever Ash Wednesday service today. Actually, scratch that. I participated in my first Ash Wednesday service today. My Mennonite Brethren background was decidedly low church and we didn’t really observe Lent or Advent or the Christian year in general. It was Christmas and Easter and that was about it. Everything else was high-church […]
Two services in the next six days, combined with a quick jaunt to Saskatchewan to see family in between will likely mean a rather light week on this blog. I did, however, want to throw up a quote that I came across a while back that I’ve been thinking about as we head into the […]
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, the day when ashes are placed on foreheads, and the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” are proclaimed. For whatever reason, throughout my life, I have rarely needed this reminder.
The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday tomorrow, and over the last week I have been overhearing the customary discussions about who is giving up what for the period of pre-Easter preparation. I have given up things for Lent in the past and have occasionally even found the process to have the effect of […]
Lent is a time of waiting—something we are all, in various ways and to varying degrees, familiar with. During Lent our waiting is oriented towards Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the high points of the Christian calendar. But “waiting” is a theme that extends far beyond the period of Lent.