When I was four years old, our family moved to southern Nevada. I grew up in the desert. I walked through the desert each day to get to school. After school, and on weekends, I played in the desert. I was familiar with sand, lizards, and Joshua trees. I learned early to love the desert.
Fifteen years ago Mike Turner was hiking in the Wyoming wilderness. He came across a field of boulders next to a lake. He was jumping from boulder to boulder when one moved. His feet slipped and he began to slide down. The boulder fell over and came to rest against another one, pinning Mike by his legs between two boulders.
In Vacation Bible School you don’t simply tell Bible stories, you inhabit them. This is the greatest share of the work, creating visual spaces where children can experience a Bible story. This year I made a throne in the sanctuary to help the children visualize the day courageous Esther appeared before the King in an attempt to save her people. (The foam swords added a special touch!)
Midway through Sunday worship, I realized my sermon didn’t fit with Father’s Day. I had a Father’s Day prayer to use during the pastoral prayer, but it felt perfunctory to read the words. Truth is, Father’s Day just isn’t on my radar. I am a 50-year-old man who has never been a father, and my own father died over 30 years ago.
I am weak in him. This week I mailed a few dozen invitations to a meeting about a mission trip, a trip few people are interested in. I wonder if the trip will need to be canceled. I am a disciple who has fished all night and caught little.
Since I am curious about new versions of the Bible, I picked up a copy of The Books of the Bible, an edition without section headings or chapter and verse divisions. Simply the plain text, in the NIV translation, in a single column format.
I have a new name for God, at least new to me. The old three-letter word "God" is worn out. Words only last so long before they need to be retired for a season. The word "God" has too much freight on it and too many associations.
After Solomon built the Temple, or rather, after his laborers built
it, he stood and offered a prayer for its dedication. In his prayer, he
admitted that the Temple, for all its human splendor, could not contain
or limit God.
My job often has me walking down hospital hallways. Today it was at
St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti where a parishioner is recovering
from pneumonia. Last week he slept as I sat in the room and worried
about him, but today he met me with a smile. He explained a procedure
I didn’t understand. Medical information seldom sticks in my brain.