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Showing posts from 2017

Still.

Dear Everybody,

I wrote a similar post a while back called "Peace." In response to our current political climate and the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, I felt compelled to share a similar message. We're calling this one: Still.

You may have guessed by now: Psalm 46 is my favorite.

Peace,
PSDH

The Psalmist writes, “The nations are in an uproar and kingdoms totter…. Waters rage and foam; mountains shake.”
These ancient words seem to ring loud and true in our contemporary ears.
We live in a world where nations not only rise against other nations, but also seem to be in an uproar within themselves. Kingdoms once deemed unshakable, now totter. Political systems thought to be the greatest and most just have become bastions of corruption and greed. Those in authority have been known to abuse those they are responsible for. The poor and powerless suffer at the hands of hatred, self-indulgence, and sin.
Images of raging waters flood the television screen. Devastation, trag…

Little League Prayers

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We were sitting at the beach on vacation with about a dozen family members when half a dozen phones beeped and/or vibrated in unison. A prayer request from a family member far away was sent out on the family group-chat:
“Please pray that so-and-so’s baseball team wins.”
The several conversations that were happening simultaneously on the beach united into one large chat about little league baseball. Aunts expressed their hopes for their nephew’s team; uncles asked questions about who was pitching and what the score was. At some point all of their eyes turned to me. My wife’s uncle asked the question many others were thinking:
“Scott, you’re a pastor. Are you going to pray for his team?”
Now, the polite answer would have been yes (even if it wasn’t true). But at this point in time, after days spent with extended family on vacation I had run out of politeness. So I simply said, “Hell no.” And then I went on a high and mighty tirade about spirituality in America.
Indignation consumed t…

Reckless Farming - Amazing Grace

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I’m just going to come right out and say it. God is a bad sower. God is a reckless farmer. God is a careless planter. In Sunday’s gospel reading Jesus tells the parable of a sower scattering seed. He says that as the farmer scattered seed some fell on the path, some fell on rocky ground, some fell in the thorns and some fell on good soil. Now, I’m an amateur gardener at best, but this much I do know: this is not the best strategy for sowing seed. 
In a world that is flooded with scarcity theories (i.e. that there is never enough) this is a hard parable to hear. Who would plant this way? We’re tempted to think. Haste makes waste. We lament. God, be more careful. We counsel. Don’t plant there. Don’t scatter there. Don’t squander seed. Don’t exhaust your resources in places that won’t produce. 
But what if we got over the assumption that the seed would run out? What if we knew that there was an overabundance of seed, a surplus so large it would never be exhausted? Would it change the way w…

Terms

Seething and Sunburned

When I arrived at work on Tuesday, I found the grass at church unacceptably long. In the front of church it was bad. In the back of church it was terrible. Our lawn was over a foot high. The grass had gone to seed. And because we pay people to cut it, I was annoyed. No, actually, I was angry. And so, I grabbed my phone and called our landscape crew. When they didn't answer, I sent a text: 
I need you to cut the grass. Get to St. John ASAP. When you arrive, find me. I’ll be the guy on the tractor doing your job. 
After launching my text missile, I patted myself on the back, hopped on the John Deere and started mowing. As I mowed, I seethed. I’ll show them, I thought to myself. And like a self-made martyr I carried out my task hoping my sacrifice would bring guilt-inspired change. I hope they feel terrible that I’m out here doing this! 
I expected relief to come in about an hour. They’ll get my text and rush over, I said. They didn’t. In fact, help didn’t arrive until the end of the da…

A paradoxical sort of life...

As I left the Hodge Ave parking ramp adjacent to Children’s Hospital, I was struck by the joy in front of me. I pulled onto Elmwood Ave. on a beautiful May day and was simply taken aback at the busy and jubilant world around me (80 degree days in May will do that to Buffalonians). The patios were overflowing with cheerful patrons. The sidewalks were bustling with hipsters. The roads were busy and rushed. The world was awake and alive. I was completely stunned.
See, I had spent the day in Children’s hospital with my daughter Delaney who had a routine operation. Because of her prior health issues, the doctors decided to keep her overnight. Around 8PM my wife, Kate, returned to the hospital to shift duties with me: she’d stay the night with Delaney and I’d go home to manage the other two through the night and the morning.
When I left, I had spent 13 hours in the hospital…
13 hours talking to people in scrubs. 13 hours in artificial light. 13 hours pretending to be “okay.” 13 hours wor…