The truth is, scriptures like these were not written for comfortable people. They were not written by comfortable people. These scriptures have nothing whatsoever to do with comfort. This week, we can’t look away. And we shouldn’t look away from the message of grace and mercy that the Gospel has for us.
I was delighted when Cambridge University Press asked me if they could send along a review copy of George Herbert: 100 Poems. While an ebook is available, this is one to own in paper. Keep it at your bedside for morning or bedtime reading, or perhaps leave it at work for mental excursions into rural England during your breaks.
Sometimes, I think we confuse the work of the church and the work of disciples. The church — literally, the ekklesia, the community — is found where Christians are gathered. The work of the church is to offer prayer and praise; to proclaim the Gospel; and to promote justice, peace, and love.
There’s not a wrong way to pray. Have a look in the scriptures, and you’ll see people praying all kinds of ways — and you’ll see folks who fail to pray very well at all. St. Paul exhorts us to pray without ceasing, but that prayer can take many forms. For some people, the daily office works brilliantly. For others, contemplative prayer is where it’s at.
Jesus taught us to love everyone, and whether or not we like them has no bearing on it. Christian love is not about emotions, it is about grace. Christian love does not come with a Hollywood soundtrack, but rather with the sweaty brow of hard work.
In an annual tradition, here is the customary Epiphany Proclamation, to be read out at services today and shared with the faithful. Since I am not serving in a parish, I am pleased to share this with you, dear reader, here on 7WD.
Back in July, an article on evangelism and race was the cover story in Christianity Today (“Dear Pastor, Can I Come to Your Church?”). The author set out to answer a vital question, “Do Christian churches in the United States actually welcome people from different racial and ethnic groups?” Turns out, the Episcopal Church does not have a good record on race and evangelism.
I pulled a blogging muscle in the run-up to General Convention last spring. Of course, I don’t mean a literal muscle. Just got a bit worn out, so I’ve had a rest. But it’s time to write again! As soon as I get all the cobwebs cleared, I’ll have more to say on the usual topics and maybe some new ones.