Showing posts from February, 2009

The Miracle

In theory, I would find a way to worship most Sundays apart from St. John's at congregations offering services around my worship schedule. Serving in a metropolitan area offers these perks: collegiality, collaboration and the opportunity to worship in the pews.

As coffee hour slowed, I locked up and headed northeast to El Milagro, a Spanish-speaking Lutheran church in Minneapolis. My cousin is in town and I'd been meaning to explore this place with her. I drive by El Milagro (The Miracle) every day and seeing it reminds me of the times I have worshiped in a language I don't understand. A Xhosa church in South Africa had me beating my hand on a percussion pad and trying to make my mouth click as we sang hymns with melodies I must have known in another life. Bangladeshi Christians had me dancing on Christmas Eve and rocking to the rhythm of what felt like the Lord's Prayer.The sound of tambourines met us as we entered and we followed our noses to incense in the sanctuary…

Fresh Air

There are certain times during the day I avoid the grocery store because it is crowded and crabby, but Wednesday night was not one of them. There were so few of us that we actually saw each other. I watched a teenage boy hoist a gallon of milk into an old woman's cart for her. A grubby man in fingerless gloves smelled the oranges carefully, one by one, undisturbed by other shoppers.

Something about my faith permeates these moments. I watched those tempted by the bakery decided whether they needed late night donut and wondered about the woman buying more cat food than human food.

When I have time, I like to get in the longest check out line and read the latest tabloid magazine while I wait. I glossed over photos of Chris Brown and Rihanna, heroic Capt. Sully, and the new mom of octuplets. When it was time to load my groceries onto the belt, I noticed the drama unfolding in front of me. A toothless woman in a blaze orange hoodie was near tears, trying to explain the injustice i…

Sustain Us

I've been wading through the first few chapters of Mark a lot lately. This year, most of our gospel readings come from this author and our Wednesday night bible study is also living in his account's urgent secrecy.

Each gospel author finds a unique way to move from Jesus' baptism into the wonder and danger of his ministry. Mark tells us that Jesus commissions the disciples and sends them out with the power to heal. Lest we believe these miracles are received with pure jubilation and awe, he then tells about the beheading of John the Baptist. This Word is not for the faint of heart. There will be consequences and the fear ripples through crowds.

But Mark doesn't leave us in the fear. In fact, he doesn't leave us anywhere for very long. We don't have time to digest the gruesome news before Jesus is with the disciples in a deserted place, surrounded by the curious and the faithful. They have followed out to this field and wait, like sheep without a shepherd.

The disc…