What Am I Learning?

One of the standard pastoral care questions I have often posed to persons who are dealing with a life challenging situation is: “What are you learning through this experience?” Over the past several weeks I have been asking myself this question as I’ve spent time on the other side of the pastoral care equation.

Without going into all the details I’ll share a little background: Continue reading

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Three Days

A lot can happen in three days.  The world can change in just three days.  I’ve been thinking about the three days we are walking through at the end of this Holy Week – three days traditionally called the Triduum in the church.  Here’s a definition: “Triduum”the period of three days that begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday.  You may know these three days by more familiar terms: beginning at dusk on Maundy Thursday these 72 hours extend through Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.   They are three days that changed the course of history and perhaps the trajectory of your life. Continue reading

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Boiler Up

I have been a Purdue fan all of my life.  No kidding, for as long as I can remember I have cheered on the Old Gold and Black.  Why?  I’m sure it had something to do with 3 older siblings attending Purdue University for college, as well as earning my own undergraduate degree from the West Lafayette campus.  The allegiance was built early and runs deep. I can remember in elementary school wearing a different Purdue shirt every day of the week.  My teachers even commented on my regular Purdue attire.  Hey, it made getting dressed easy! Continue reading

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Lifted Up

There are three places in the Gospel of John where “lifted up” sayings appear.  Each of these are quotes from Jesus.  Here they are:

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up”  – John 3:14

 

“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.” – John 8:28

 

 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” – John 12:32

 

This “lifted up” wording may sound strange to us, but Jesus and his contemporaries knew exactly what he meant.  In first century Palestine the primary way a person was “lifted up” was by crucifixion.  Jesus is forecasting his death, and the means by which he will die, in these sayings. Continue reading

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Ask, Search, Knock

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. – Jesus (Mt 7:7 NRSV)

Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 are very familiar to me.  Mostly I know them as part of a chorus we used to play and sing at church camp.  When sung in parts and with the descant, that simple little chorus could transform a campfire experience into something special.

It’s funny how such familiar words can be found fresh again.  At least that was my experience early this week, when in the course of reading Matthew 7 I stopped to consider the words anew.  I no longer hear them as a teenager or young adult camp counselor.  I hear them as a middle-aged pastor, husband, father, and recently new granddad, who has been wrestling with God in prayer for the past several months. Continue reading

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