The Music Over There

I cannot put the glory into a poem. The Kyiv Chamber Choir sings “In Thy Kingdom”, their voices resonating, swelling in what I picture as a beautiful cathedral. How they cannot make this beauty now. How they are scattered and the church is a shell where the music cannot carom off its walls but its memory flies into the atmosphere as a prayer. Dissipates. How … Continue reading The Music Over There

Winter Day in Nebraska

Winter Day in Nebraska I glance out, see the geese stitch the sky over Interstate 80 their ragged, urgent arrows aiming somewhere east southeast no big deal but they keep coming prophecies sliding like hieroglyphs against a cave wall of grey clouds as “I Got the Boy” blares on the pickup radio reflecting on the passage of time without resentment: “She got the future, I … Continue reading Winter Day in Nebraska

Gift for the Tabernacle

This is the second in a five part series, “Unexpected Treasures in the Desert.” It is a sermon series for the congregations I am serving, known collectively as Prairie Faith Partners. This series is provided to help you navigate the COVID-19 epidemic “wilderness” we are experiencing together. For each sermon I am writing my own reflections on the texts, which I like to do in … Continue reading Gift for the Tabernacle

Commentary on an Epidemic

I heard a casual remark the other day that started me thinking about our cultural atmosphere, both right now and before the quarantine measures began.  Three months ago we were still in the throes of the vicious political rhetoric that has despoiled public discourse as well as family mealtimes and friendships.  Now that we are more than two months into the epidemic, nasty rhetoric is … Continue reading Commentary on an Epidemic

The Existence of Other Things

I am Deborah. Named after a woman who lived thousands of years ago. Sage, prophet, tribal mother. Her tale anomalous, her voice a string Yahweh strummed undeniably in desperate times. The impending story unfurled before her as familiar as the line on her palm, insistent as the blood of afterbirth. She was not your typical judge. Deborah means “little bee” and “seeking one.” Some bees … Continue reading The Existence of Other Things

4: “…and the Holy Spirit”

If Jesus turned the religious world upside down while he lived among us, things did not settle down after he left.  It is recorded in The Acts of the Apostles: Pentecost was just the beginning of a revolution.  The Holy Spirit blew into the room with the sound of wind, the appearance of fire, and the chaos of several languages chattering at once. Jesus’ friends … Continue reading 4: “…and the Holy Spirit”

#3: “Then There’s Jesus”

Jesus was popular with masses of people not only because he healed some of them, but also because they sensed that he spoke with authority.  From our (Christians’) perspective, we know why he had that authority: he is one of the Godhead, the Son himself.  Because he is divine, and we believe the radical claim that he became human and lived among us, what he … Continue reading #3: “Then There’s Jesus”

Succeeding at Civility

Here in northwest Iowa we have been conducting an experiment for the past few months.  A colleague and I started a dialogue group to create a space for gracious conversation about issues that affect everyone, so we mostly talk about politics. Almost everybody I know felt beat up after the presidential election of 2016.  It didn’t matter whether your candidate of choice won or not.  … Continue reading Succeeding at Civility