reflectionary

Dead Set

Dead Set

“Keep death before your eyes daily."

This is one of the “tools of good works” listed in chapter four of the Rule of St. Benedict. Though it is only one of over seventy, it jumps off the page. It is how we begin this season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, being reminded “that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Lent has death at the start as well as the destination.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Every time I officiate a wedding, I warn the couple that if their ring bearer and/or flower girls are under 6, they are almost guaranteed not to make it down the aisle by themselves. (It's not a bad thing; I just want to make sure they know.) I share this from experience not only as a pastor but as a former toddler. At three or four, I was ring bearer in a family friend’s wedding. The story goes that my parents told me so often not to “wander off,” that by the time the reception came I looked at them and groaned, “Can I wander off now?"

Face to Face, Glory to Glory

Face to Face, Glory to Glory

The small town in Illinois where I went to college had an inexplicable wealth of thrift stores, and I quickly developed a thrifting habit. (“Habit” sounds better than “problem,” right?) I shared this secondhand lifestyle with my roommate, and we would do the rounds at the local shops at least once a week. For me there was (and still is) something deeply satisfying about the treasure hunt, the searching and discovery. During one of our forages among the dusty shelves, my friend found a light therapy lamp—one designed to mimic sunlight and shine on your face to combat seasonal depression.

Beautiful Frustration

Beautiful Frustration

Jumping into Genesis 45 feels like dropping in at someone else’s family reunion right around the point when everyone has “drank freely” (43:34) enough to start a tearful trek into the past. We are left to catch up. This passion has patiently waited over the twenty years that have passed since Joseph’s brothers jumped him, threw him in a pit, sold him into slavery, and lied to their father that he was dead. Joseph is known for his dreams and interpretations of dreams, but I wonder how he slept those long years. 

Fish and Dishes

Fish and Dishes

I was by myself taking care of a particularly overflowing sink of dishes on what I believe was a Tuesday night. On the mission style armchair behind me was a copy of Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses, my seminary reading that I had just put down to go about some housework. One blessing of such ordinary tasks is the space they leave for the mind. Mine began to wander.

Here Are Your Mysteries

Here Are Your Mysteries

Today, we usually imagine “reading” as a primarily private act and “reading the Bible” as the definitive devotional act. Such has only been the case for a few hundred years. In the ancient world especially, for the vast majority of people Scripture was something spoken. Setting Scripture within its original context of the worshipping community, we are poised remember something central about what Scripture even is.

Always Too Much

Always Too Much

Since beginning at Peachtree, I have come to delight in officiating weddings. Few events are so paradoxically weighty with meaning and light with joy. All the preparation and anticipation is released in a moment. All rise. The doors open and there stands the bride. Fanfare builds and climbs to a breathless rest. And she enters. While all eyes are fixed on the bride, mine move to the groom.