When I can’t pray I often turn to the end of Romans 8. Here Paul
pulls back the velvet curtain of revelation. What we see is amazing: a
never-ending festivity where there sounds a strained, melodious,
mysterious prayer that all the suffering in this present world cannot
drown out. At the heart of the festivity is the Triune God praying for
When I pack my suitcase for the meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I often think of the words of 2 Samuel 11:1: “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him.” We Presbyterians decided recently to gather every other year instead of every year, partly in the hope that with an extra year t
Romans 8 sharpens my eyes to see more clearly a hope I cannot see on my
own. Paul has a way of encouraging me to peek over his shoulder. He
shares his spectacles of faith so that I can see with him—through the
immediate, into a wide-open country of all living hope.
The Fourth of July is certainly not a church holiday, but it is an opportunity for the church and the preacher to reflect on the history of the republic, the extraordinary group of leaders who gathered in Philadelphia to declare independence and their remarkable conclusion that at the heart of the American revolution would be individual liberty and freedom of conscience.
James Fenimore Cooper Jr. and Margaret Bendroth are rummaging through church attics and basements in the New England states, especially Massachusetts, looking for records of early American life. Some churches are reticent to part with old documents, but the two historians point out how vulnerable the documents are and offer to keep them in a climate-controlled rare book room at the Congregational Library in Boston. Among their findings: a church in Middleboro possessed an application for membership submitted in 1773 by a slave (New York Times, July 29).