November 5, 2019

Happy Birthday, Sam Rockwell

I saw this picture and wanted to post it. But I didn't know who was in the photo. I did a search and discovered it was Sam Rockwell, which was no help, since I'd never heard of him. But when I looked at his credits, I realized I knew him as Owen—the adult hero in The Way, Way Back. So here's to Sam Rockwell—star of one of my favorite photos and one of my favorite films—on his 51st birthday!

The Way, Way Back featured this Robert Palmer classic

October 27, 2019

Neither Beginning Nor End

Martin Luther
On the Eve of All Saints Day in the year 1517, an Augustinian monk who’d grown concerned with certain practices within his church, nailed his complaints to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. We mark this event as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Without it, we wouldn’t be here. Probably not, anyway. Or at least maybe not.

Who knows, really? Martin Luther is only the most famous Reformer. The one who performed a decisive act that we can picture, and put a date to. But in reality, he wasn’t the first, and he wasn’t

October 20, 2019

From Sour Grapes to Green Eggs and Ham

In those days they shall no longer say: “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”
—Jeremiah 31:29
I am thankful that I live in a free country. I am free to live anywhere I want. I am free to say anything I want. I am free to do anything I want.

For example, I could, with no government interference, buy a house in Gates Mills. I am free, if I want to, to preach this sermon in Albanian. And I am free at any moment to stop what I’m doing and solve a problem using calculus.

But I have to admit that my freedom to do all those things is somewhat tempered by the facts at hand. I can’t afford a house in Gates Mills, I cannot speak a word of Albanian, and I don’t actually know

October 2, 2019

A New Morning

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23
God our Creator, 
your kindness has brought us the gift of a new morning.
Help us not to cling to yesterday, nor covet tomorrow, 
but to accept the uniqueness of today. 

By your love, celebrated in your Word, 
seen in y our Son, 
brought near by your Spirit, 
take from us all we need carry no longer, 
that we may be free again 
to choose to serve you and be served by each other. 

We believe that God forgives and sets us free, 
and at the day’s beginning 
we commit ourselves to follow where Christ calls 
and to love one another. Amen.
Common Order, Church of Scotland (alt.)  

October 1, 2019

Psalm 90:3-6

You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.
You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
Psalm 90:3-6 

There is one thing we are lacking: to believe that the Almighty God is our Father and our Lord. To believe that for God, our greatest cares are like the worries of small children in their parents’ eyes; that God can turn things around and dispose of them in no time at all; for God it’s easy, not hard at all. We must believe that a thousand years in God’s sight are like a day, that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts [Isa. 55:8–9], that God is with us in spite of everything. Let us receive the call of the church once again: You of little faith, why are you so fearful? In the midst of the storm, Christ is in the ship. Away with you, Fear! Let us see you, Lord Jesus, strong helper, Savior!
※ Dietrich Bonhoeffer 
When the storms of life are raging, stand by me; 
when the storms of life are raging, stand by me.
When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea,
thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me. Amen.
 Charles Albert Tindley (1905)