“Is the Lord with us or not?”
That is the question the people of Israel ask, after they repeatedly express all of their anxiety about food and water. The people are in the wilderness. They have crossed the sea, and entered into a place of hunger and thirst.
“The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.” (Exodus 14:19)
As I read this text right now, I wish the LORD had left it at that. I wish that putting a pillar of cloud between the Egyptians and Israelites was enough, so that the violence and loss of life were not necessary. As I read this text, it hear it telling a story that keeps happening in the world—one where conflict and death are an inevitable part of how we interact with each other. Continue reading
Let’s eavesdrop on a conversation that happened forty years ago:
Jim Friedrich and a friend went hiking in Yosemite for about a hundred and fifty miles—from Lake Tahoe to Tuolomne Meadows. At the end of the hike, they hitched a ride back to civilization. When the driver picked them up, he asked them eagerly “Have you heard the news?” “No. What news?” After twenty days in the backcountry, anything was news to them. “Nixon is going to resign today!” President Nixon was going to resign that very day, August 4, 1974. If you remember Watergate: the break-in and cover-up that implicated the highest realms of power in this country, then you probably remember where you were when Nixon became the only U.S. President to resign from office. It was big news. Continue reading
A Wedding Feast
I was in Maine recently, to do a wedding. It was at the Pemaquid Point lighthouse, near Wiscasset and Damariscotta—my first trip there, which is as far up Down East as I’ve ever been. The reception was held in a fancy lobster shack. As we were called to the table, we brought our wineglasses, and were soon passing around breadbaskets and butter plates.
Who is in your family?
The answer in my case is complicated. On the Hungarian side of my family, both my grandfather and father had two batches of children with different wives. Consequently, my youngest aunt is a year younger than my younger brother– Continue reading
“Why don’t you ask that lady priest at your church to talk with them?”
That was the advice Mary got from her mother-in-law. The problem was that her four children were grief-stricken because their grandfather had just died. Continue reading
When I was living in my first apartment, I had a roommate, Karen.
We shared the onset of adult responsibilities, including the grocery bill. Whenever I did the grocery shopping, I could hear Karen’s voice when I reached for something on the shelf: “Don’t buy that! It’s too expensive!” Karen’s wasn’t the only voice I heard. I also heard my mother’s voice. She said: “Don’t buy that, it’s too fattening!” With those two voices guiding me, I would avoid the imported cheese section—taboo for both reasons—and generally come home with salad and chicken breasts for dinner. Continue reading
Followers of Jesus are a Resurrection people!
Great! What does that mean? The scripture accounts of the Resurrection give some idea what that might mean, and how to live into Resurrection in our own lives. Some scholars say that each Gospel account is just a long prologue to the Resurrection. The Resurrection account in the Gospel of John is Chapter 20. Nineteen chapters of prologue and then we hear that Jesus appeared to his disciples. Resurrection! Continue reading