The Work of Faith
“We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 NRSV). Paul’s second missionary journey began as an excursion to revisit churches planted throughout Asia Minor on his first missionary journey (Acts 15:36). Along the way, the Spirit of God gave Paul
Spending Advent With Bob Dylan
Advent is my favorite season of the liturgical year. It is a season of expectation, preparation, and self-reflection. The Church meditates on the mystery of the Incarnation at Christ’s first coming while considering his second coming. So we turn our attention inward where, to the best of our ability, we disclose those parts of us requiring to be handed over to the Refiner’s Fire for purgation (Mal 3:2). In Advent the reality of divine judgment
Holding All Things in Common
“All who believed were together and had all things in common (Acts 2:44 NRSV).” This article is a part of a continuing series on the early Christian church as depicted in Acts 2:41-47. Past articles in the series can be found in the author’s archive. In the previous article in this series, we examined how signs and wonders in the early church were the result of the Spirit’s presence and the in-breaking of the kingdom
Patience: Natural Heart’s-Ivy
Perhaps this is merely my experience, but I grew up hearing that some prayers were dangerous. The prayers for things such as greater boldness in witnessing, further opportunities to give, or greater love for the person who’s a thorn in your side. These prayers have a way of being answered, or rather, of creating opportunities to outwork the desires apparently behind our prayers. Naturally, these opportunities feel uncomfortable and, at times, even hurt a little.
Be Comforted In Your Smallness
Our day-to-day lives constantly involve measuring size. Heading to bed we consciously (or unconsciously) determined the length of our sleep. At breakfast, we count calories (if on an appropriate diet) or at least guesstimate how much oatmeal to put in the bowl, or butter on the toast. Then there’s the time it’ll take to get to work, how long the gas will last in the vehicle, the number of items on the to-do list .
“ ‘The star-glass?’ muttered Frodo, as one answering out of sleep, hardly comprehending. ‘Why yes! Why had I forgotten it? A light when all other lights go out! And now indeed light alone can help us.’ ”1 The interplay between light and dark is an ongoing part of our lives. In the literal sense, we live in a world where the regular appearance of both provides a measure of regulation to our activities. Figuratively though,
Growing Young (Or, Becoming Like Children)
“ ‘I’ll be darned!’ said Douglas. ‘I never thought of that. That’s brilliant! It’s true. Old people never were children!’ ‘And it’s kind of sad,’ said Tom sitting still. ‘There’s nothing we can do to help them.’ ”1 If you’ve read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine before, then you probably recognize this poignant surmise on aging. Ten year-old Tom’s insight is based on his interactions with the seventy-two year old Mrs. Bentley, a widow who moved
Wilt Thou Forgive That Sin?
Glorious and Holy God, Provocations against thy divine majesty have filled my whole life. My offenses have been countless and aggravated. Conscience has rebuked me, friends have admonished me, the examples of others have reproached me, thy rod has chastised me, thy kindnesses allure me.1 The Resurrection was celebrated on Sunday, but now, it’s Wednesday. The festivities are over and a fresh week begun. And while this week provides new opportunities for faithful service, it
Love In His Voice
Christ has come to give us life, and that in abundance. He does not hold back. We ask to know Him, we ask for mercy, we ask Him to show us the path. And He answers us with the truth. There are no riddles to decipher or secret panels to open.
Safety in Love?
The idea for the title came from a striking line in Lewis’ book, The Four Loves, which reads, “The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”1 The only safe place from the danger of love is Hell. Lewis’ thoughts might bring to mind my previous post, where we looked at the connection between a focus on self and Hell. The key
“myself am Hell”
Me miserable! Which way shall I fly Infinite wrath, and infinite despair? Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell… (b.4 l.73-75)1 Satan’s lament in Paradise Lost is striking. These lines, and the thoughts behind them, came to mind while perusing A Severe Mercy. A Severe Mercy tells the story of Sheldon Vanauken’s relationship with his wife, Jean. Early on, while explaining some of the ground rules of their relationship, Vanauken records an interesting
See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil
I do not watch much television, only occasionally go the theater, and, for the most part, do not watch YouTube videos. Among the various genres of television, films, and video streaming I especially avoid comedy, such as Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and the various sitcoms that occupy television network lineups. Why do I do this? I am somewhat picky, feeling uncomfortable with sensuality and adult humor. What causes me discomfort is how comedy presentations