Famous Last Words

"Recently I traveled to Germany as part of a delegation from the New York Conference of the UCC.  We were there to learn, first hand, what the churches are doing to deal with the refugee crisis.  Since 2015, Germany has received approximately one million refugees, out of a total population of 80 million.  The country was completely unprepared for this massive influx and so the German government called upon the German churches to help fill in the gap.  And they did and they are, in amazing and bold and innovative ways..."

Community 2.0

It seemed exotic to me growing up in the great plains of the Midwest to claim that the color and excitement and passion of sunny Italy runs in my veins. My mother’s maiden name is Jenia.  And this fact always seemed to surprise people, given my almost translucent lack of color.  How did we account for all this paleness?  --By saying that my maternal grandmother was a redhead with freckles and of English stock.  Grandmother’s genes must have been stronger, we reasoned...

Party Poopers

Welcome to the Second Sunday of Easter!  For the next six Sundays we will be in the liturgical season of Easter, also called The Great Fifty Days.  Traditionally, the Sunday after Easter is called Low Sunday because lots of folks are so worn out from Holy Week, they take this Sunday off!  In fact, many preachers take the week after Easter as vacation time, and yes, I have been known to do that as well.  All the C&E Christians (that’s what we pastors call the Christmas and Easter crowd) have fulfilled their twice a year obligation to put in an appearance at church and have returned to whatever they prefer to do on Sunday mornings (evenings) the rest of the year.  But rather than get down in the dumps over such things, let’s just agree that where two or three are gathered in church on a Sunday in the Easter season, there will be a party!

Flashes of the Resurrection

I have been trying to grab hold of Jesus for as long as I can remember.  As a young teenager, I had this incredible oversized 3-D postcard of the Shroud of Turin.  The thing was awesome.  If you held it to the light one way, you saw an artist’s rendering of the face of Jesus, inspired by a photographic negative of the Shroud.  It was a death mask, eyes closed.  But if you moved the postcard the other way, the eyes of Jesus would open.  I spent hours flipping back and forth and watching those eyes open and close. And I used to wonder: “What if I am looking at the very face of Jesus the moment he was resurrected?”