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Watch for the Light

When I was a boy I had a sleepover with my cousin Mark, who lived on a farm about twenty miles from my town. I don’t remember how old I was but I will never forget the deep anxiety that settled over me when Mark and I hopped into our bunk beds and my aunt…

The Cat Who Became the Avatar of My Heart

After fifteen years I am preparing to leave Saint Luke’s and take up a new calling in Philadelphia. It’s big. In every way. Moving is ranked among the top five major stressors, in the same league with divorce, death of a loved one, major illness and job loss. But when people ask how the move…

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometime you might find You get what you need -The Rolling Stones If God really loved us he would give us what we ask for. That’s the assumption we bring to prayer. But what if God sometimes withholds something precisely because of his love?…

What To Do After a Synagogue Shooting

Hundreds of us poured into church on Sunday with no particular worry for our safety or that of our children. As I walked to church early that morning I thought, What if I were not a priest but a rabbi, on my way not to my church but to my synagogue? I wondered how Jewish…

Transmitter or Transformer

Consider the analogy of energy circuits: Most of us are relay stations; only a minority are transformers—people who actually change the electrical charge that passes through us. -Richard Rohr Unless you’re nothing like me, we all like to transmit our pain. Grumpy people want the whole house to know just how grumpy they really are….

Sticker/Stop

“Consider the lilies,” we read from the Sunday gospel. It’s a Jesus version of stop and smell the roses, wake up and smell the coffee, don’t dance faster than the song, or as they say in Paris, “prenez le temps de vivre.” We need to stop and become deeply aware of the richness, beauty and…

The Big Fix

I excel at self-diagnosis. When I developed continuous pain in my right knee, I decided that I needed that simple little arthroscopic surgery I once had on my other knee. They trimmed my meniscus and I was good to go. Accordingly, I made an appointment with an orthopedic doc. I’d get an MRI. Then I’d…

Remember Who You Are

  I have prayed it publicly at hundreds of baptisms, but yesterday it stuck in my throat. After the water has flowed and the rite is concluded we say, “Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin.” Water for cleansing….

The Bell & the Blackbird

There’s an old Irish legend of “The Bell and the Blackbird” that I found in a poem by David Whyte. It’s the image of a monk standing out on the edges of the monastery grounds, hearing the chapel bell calling him to prayer and thinking, “That is the most beautiful sound in the world.” In…

What I Learned Hiking With a Three Year-Old

I won’t keep you in suspense. It’s how many times this kid fell, and hard. He wants to lead the way and we let him. The trails are easy–we chose them with a three and a half year-old in mind–but there are brambles, rocks and roots. We call, Don’t run!, but this kid runs like…

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