‘They wanted a king, what they got was bread’ — some preliminary thoughts on the feeding of 5,000 and the Eucharist

Benedictine Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha in Galilee. John 6 [NRSV]. [...] 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they[c] sat down, about five thousand in all. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who … Continue reading ‘They wanted a king, what they got was bread’ — some preliminary thoughts on the feeding of 5,000 and the Eucharist

What Luther said about the presence of God in his cabbage soup and why it matters

"Religionsgespräch [Colloquy] zu Marburg," Christian Karl August Noack, 1867 (Wikipedia) Seen on the unofficial ELCA discussion group's Facebook page, an allusion to Luther's comment "that God is [present] in his cabbage soup." I'd never seen it before, and I loved the quote! Hence this blog post, so I'll know where to look for it. Maybe … Continue reading What Luther said about the presence of God in his cabbage soup and why it matters

The historical Jesus and the Christ of faith on a dark and stormy night (Pentecost IV)

Bread and wine for Holy Communion on Galilee tour boat Mark 4 (NRSV): 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm … Continue reading The historical Jesus and the Christ of faith on a dark and stormy night (Pentecost IV)

‘Swedes in Roger William’s Garden’

Proposal for the paper I'm scheduled to present next month at the 22nd annual Conference on Illinois History sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Conference program and registration information are available HERE. Sessions will be conducted by Zoom, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My session will be from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 … Continue reading ‘Swedes in Roger William’s Garden’

Spiritual journal for August — further thoughts on Word and sacrament in a time of pandemic

Email sent today to my spiritual director, lightly edited. Since it quotes extensively from this blog (and WordPress isn't letting me do block quotations the way I want to), I am putting my email message in lightface italics and leaving quoted material in Roman type. Hi Sister -- [* * *] Not very much to … Continue reading Spiritual journal for August — further thoughts on Word and sacrament in a time of pandemic

‘Dinner church’ pastor: When you can’t go to church, look around you

Emily M.D. Scott, "If the Church Door Is Closed, Find the Sacred on the Road," New York Times, 19 July 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/19/opinion/if-the-church-door-is-closed-find-the-sacred-on-the-road.html Excerpts: Priests and pastors across the church have been grasping for metaphors to help us make sense of this time away from the table, and one another. Some have framed it as a … Continue reading ‘Dinner church’ pastor: When you can’t go to church, look around you

Spiritual direction — journal for June

Copy of email (lightly edited) sent yesterday to my spiritual director, summarizing what I've been trying to do in the past month and suggesting an agenda for our next session. Jun 19, 2020, 7:44 PM Hi, Sister -- Just a note to confirm our spiritual direction meeting at 2:30 p.m. and give you a general … Continue reading Spiritual direction — journal for June

A sustainable ‘new normal’? Maybe, with a little help from the Holy Spirit — stray thoughts for Pentecost and Trinity Sunday

Video clip prepared for Pentecost Sunday service. Offer valid at any time. It's been a brutal spring for everybody, but -- for reasons I can't quite explain -- lately I've felt like maybe we're beginning to turn a corner. It's been three months now since Debi and I went into quarantine just as the COVID-19 … Continue reading A sustainable ‘new normal’? Maybe, with a little help from the Holy Spirit — stray thoughts for Pentecost and Trinity Sunday

Of outward signs, inward grace and Pastor Nadia’s prayer for a time of pandemic when the sacraments can’t be celebrated

Screenshot from Pastor Nadia's FB post. Click HERE for permalink. Click HERE for text. Sometimes you find exactly what you need at exactly the right moment, and you don't know why. Serendipity? Coincidence? The Holy Spirit at work? In 12-step recovery meetings, sometimes you'll hear the old-timers say a coincidence is what you call it … Continue reading Of outward signs, inward grace and Pastor Nadia’s prayer for a time of pandemic when the sacraments can’t be celebrated

Can’t take communion in the time of coronavirus? Pray. Can’t go to church? Pray. Be persistent in prayer.

How do you do church when you can't go to church? Before the COVID-19 outbreak came to town, I didn't realize how much of my spiritual life centered on going to church. Now, after two weeks of "social distancing," it's causing me to reassess. As usual, my first reaction to social distancing was a wisecrack. … Continue reading Can’t take communion in the time of coronavirus? Pray. Can’t go to church? Pray. Be persistent in prayer.