Tag Archive: words


80 Pages – Thankful for Words

[sorry, it has been a while since I last wrote, but I was busy doing some other writing. I thank God for all of you who have supported me through this amazing time.]

Jesus-Is-LordLast week I turned in my commissioning papers to become a Provisional Member of the Ordained Elders in the United Methodist Church. While I am not saying that 80 pages was easy, or that that I am chomping at the bit to write 80 more it was an interesting experience to reflect on God in this way. For example one of the questions was “How do you interpret the statement ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’?” I wrote two pages in response to this one question. I also had several moments, including a moment with this question, which felt like an answer could have been a book in and of itself. I began to appreciate more and more that this glorious, wonderful God revealed in Jesus Christ who we encounter through the ever-present Holy Spirit is beyond our words. There is not enough ink, paper, Terabytes of data, or time in all creation to adequately give space toward depicting in words the infinite God of all creation. There are not enough words to explore the WORD. So I am thankful that I had the opportunity to reflect on God for 82 pages, but I am also thankful for the gift of eternal life in which we get to spend the never-ending depth of love expressed in our savior Jesus Christ.

Word of God, thank you for expressing your love to us in Word made flesh. May our words give you praise and speak of your glory until your kingdom come.

Amen

Worship CloudsTwo Sundays ago we began a worship series at St. Paul called God’s Eye View.  The notion is that, when an artist stares at a blank canvas he doesn’t see a blank canvas. He has a vision of what could be, should be, and will be there.  When God looks at us He sees what could and should be there. So last week we began discussing God’s vision for our church. We began with a blank canvas on the first Sunday then yesterday clouds filled the canvas.  The clouds represented the first part of our vision statement: our call to worship God. I did a call to worship this past Sunday about the next part of our vision statement: love neighbor. I did it in a type of dramatic fashion pretending to be an artist in God’s art studio.  It was an interesting experience for me. When I preach I spend a great deal of time crafting the words I will say and how I will say them. In a sermon I may give a metaphor, but then I explain in great detail what the metaphor means. During this short 3 minutes call to worship I used a great amount of metaphor language.  Even though my head was full of ideas of what each thing I said meant; I didn’t explain it much at all. I just let it drift out among everyone.   Speaking like this had a certain scary freedom to it. There was a sense of excitement (at least for me – I am not sure about everyone else) in trusting the Holy Spirit to connect the dots. I wonder what it would be like to preach like that? Maybe that is why Jesus spoke in parables?

So next week in worship we should see on the canvas some roots digging down into the soil holding on and some leaves stretching toward the sun, not just absorbing the sun, but reflecting the sun. Then we will begin discussing God’s call for us to Raise Disciples of Jesus Christ.

We at St. Paul United Methodist Church are called to Worship God, Love Neighbor, and Raise Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our community and our world.

Word seeds

James 3 has been messing with me. [This is actually a funny statement as of recently – all of scripture seems to be messing with me, in a strangely good and uncomfortable way this is becoming normal: “getting messed with by scripture” – – maybe I’ll talk about that in a future blog post] Alright, let me restart the train of thought.  James 3 has been messing with me. I had a collision of metaphors crash in my head this week. James talks much about the the words we speak. He mentions mouths needing bits and bridles, tongue being a rudder, tongue is a fire that can set a blaze, the tongue is like a wild beast no one can tame,and the mouth being a spring of water. In verse 12 he mentions the fig tree, which is probably what got my brain going in an agricultural direction, and I began to think about my words as seeds. Those who hear my words are the soil (the souls) in which I am planting these words.  So I began to think about my words that I speak daily. If I were to wait a year or ten to see what kind of harvest there would be, what would spring up? Was it words of life that I have been planting or empty words of death? In this book I had to read for class it describes human beings as words spoken into being by the Word of God, and through our spiritual formation with scripture the garbled word in us get’s cleaned up. I want the words I speak to participate in God recreation and redemption.  So, the question for me today is: what seeds am I planting?

Jesus, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of heart be acceptable to you. May there be a harvest of the fruit of love, joy, peace, patients, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control that springs forth from the soil (souls) in which my words and YOUR WORD is planted. O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.

Angles

For most of my life I have read the scriptures from one angle.
However, recently I have had a bible study where people that have had completely different life experiences have entered into the conversation. One of my new friends has a very rough past and is now exploring God. We read through a number of chapters of Matthew and one of the sections (I could call it a “pericope” – that is one of my Duke words I haven’t used recently) talked about weeds and wheat growing up together and then at harvest the weeds are pulled up and burned and the wheat collected. I have always read that passage feeling like I was one of the wheat.  Tonight sitting next to my friend, I wondered about how many people have read things like this in the scriptures and felt like they were the weed – just waiting to be jerked out of the ground and burned instead of feeling like the wheat(I have always considered myself one of the wheat).  Just having a friend with a different life experience has messed with my perspective of reading the scriptures – I am glad God is challenging my angle.

God, help me read the scriptures(and see myself, and my friend, and … well EVERYTHING)  from your angle. Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear. Amen.