Category Archives: Healing

A Cancer Survivor’s Calling

  “I know what my calling is,” Brenda said. She is a cancer survivor, alive today, she told me, because three women had carried her on their prayers from fear and death to healing and life. She went on . . . I’ll give you an example. I went for a scan, and I’m so…

Wrestling a Blessing (With a Limp to Prove it)

“What kind of God is this who wrestles with us, Dad?” The voice on the phone was my daughter Sharon. A candidate for ordination, she had preached on the story of Jacob wrestling with God. Now, walking home from church in downtown Atlanta, she was calling me, in a state of holy agitation. “A God…

Don’t Fall in Love with Pain

“Every email she writes, every conversation always begins with some trouble or difficulty, some illness that’s plaguing her, some suffering in her children, some pain wracking a relative or loved one.” The woman talking to me was describing a friend. “I think if I called her attention to it—if I showed her the emails, she…

The Left-Handed Blessing of Christmas Eve

  On Christmas Eve, as I placed a piece of bread in a man’s hands, he gripped my arm and said, “29 years of sobriety. Thank you.” Normally, the communion ritual is mute, except for the words of administration. “The body of Christ, the bread of heaven.” Sometimes the recipient says only, “Amen.” So be…

Hope is not Optimism

Hope

This is Advent, the season of hope. Yet our hopes were dashed on Friday. Many people haven’t felt like this since 9/11. The tragedy that struck that elementary school in Newtown makes us wonder. Is there any hope? Any hope for the kingdom? For a world where the lion and the lamb lie down together? Hope, the great…