Word, sacrament, a Lutheran chorale and reading the bible: Lessons from a Swedish immigrant church in Chicago during a time of cholera

O Gud! ditt ord och sakramentLåt aldrig bliva från oss vändt …— Svenska Psalmbok (1819), No. 412, v. 6 [O God, let your word and sacrament / never be turned away from us …] No doubt it’s just a coincidence, but since I resolved my issues about receiving the sacraments during the coronavirus pandemic, basically … Continue reading Word, sacrament, a Lutheran chorale and reading the bible: Lessons from a Swedish immigrant church in Chicago during a time of cholera

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

Elijah and the word of the Lord: No windstorm, no fire, no earthquake. Just get back to work (Pentecost X)

1 Kings 19:11-13 (NRSV) [The word of the Lord] said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the … Continue reading Elijah and the word of the Lord: No windstorm, no fire, no earthquake. Just get back to work (Pentecost X)

Spiritual direction journal — July

Copy of an email sent tonight (Saturday) to my spiritual director. Lightly edited in the interest of making sense and removing obvious illiteracies. Hi Sister — Just a quick note — quicker than usual this month — to confirm that unless I hear otherwise from you, I’ll be calling you Monday at 2:30 p.m. for our … Continue reading Spiritual direction journal — July

A parable of sowing the word of the kingdom of heaven on YouTube and Facebook (for Pentecost VI)

Yesterday’s lectionary reading, for the sixth Sunday after Pentecost (ordinary time to non-Lutherans), was the the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. Which means, if you think about it, watching the service on social media was almost like a parable about a parable. If the parable of the sower is about proclaiming the Word, … Continue reading A parable of sowing the word of the kingdom of heaven on YouTube and Facebook (for Pentecost VI)

Phillip Cary on Luther — sola scriptura with a twist of performance anxiety

Now here’s a guy who’s on my wavelength … Phillip Cary, who teaches philosophy at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., has a book out with the somewhat daunting title The Meaning of Protestant Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel That Gives Us Christ. I hadn’t heard of him before, but I saw a review … Continue reading Phillip Cary on Luther — sola scriptura with a twist of performance anxiety

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

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 pandemic was hitting town, and I can’t shake the feeling that maybe … Continue reading A sustainable ‘new normal’? Maybe, with a little help from the Holy Spirit — stray thoughts for Pentecost and Trinity Sunday

‘The UK Blessing’ — in a time of fear and political rancor, a virtual choir calls, gathers, enlightens and makes us holy

This weekend marked the two-month anniversary of the day I went into voluntary self-quarantine when I got out of the hospital. As luck would have (good luck, for a change), a virtual choir video came out to remind me of the main lesson I’ve learned in the last two months: Each new day is a … Continue reading ‘The UK Blessing’ — in a time of fear and political rancor, a virtual choir calls, gathers, enlightens and makes us holy

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.