Category Archives: Mercy

The Cock Crows

At the heart of the “Greatest Story Ever Told” is a betrayal. No one would call their child Judas. The name is slimed with centuries of condemnation: the lily-livered turncoat who betrayed an innocent man for thirty pieces of silver. We might understand how the crowd could turn on Jesus, but how could someone from…

The Beauty of Imperfection

The primary cause of mental illness, Karl Menninger said, is the inability of people to forgive themselves for being imperfect. Those words came from Frank Griswold, the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, preaching at Saint Luke’s this morning. He was speaking of St. Paul, who sought famously to perfect himself through a rigorous…

Never Too Late to Love

“It is never too late to love.” That’s what a good friend told me this week. I was telling her of a kind of break-through: I had learned to love someone a little better, to forgive someone (and pardon myself as well). It felt good, but almost immediately I thought, “I wish I had come…

Two Words and a Wedding

  Tonight I will officiate at my second wedding in a week. I like weddings, but I always struggle with what to say. At baptisms, the parents in the front pews listen even though they’re often tussling with older siblings of the one in white. At funerals, people listen intently. Their stare—both skeptical and desperate—says:…

You Don’t Have to Be Good

The things people tell a minister after church. . . . Yesterday a woman I did not know spoke to me after church—she was there for a baptism. I heard about the church of her childhood, where “salvation” was attained by refraining from smoking and drinking and dancing and cursing. It was a rigid theology…