Archive for July, 2010

Parking and other deep thoughts

July 27, 2010

Of all the reflections in Chapter 5 of Receiving the Day, this one on page 66 really stood out to me:

Jürgen Moltmann, an eminent German theologian, ended his book on the theology of creation with a radical suggestion:  “The ecological day of rest should be a day without pollution of the environment–a day when we leave our cars at home, so that nature too can celebrate its Sabbath.”  Fifty years ago, before the building of the freeways and the suburbs, many American Christians might have found in this suggestion an endorsement of their way of life.  Then, churches had small parking lots and served neighborhoods or parishes, and people walked.  But things have changed.  (more…)


Jonah Pushed

July 26, 2010

Jonah 3

July 25, 2010

A sermon preached at First Congregational Church, by the Rev. Douglas M. Donley, pastor of University Baptist Church.

I think it’s safe to say that Jane McBride and I have had some fun looking at the story of Jonah. Like most of you, I grew up with just one aspect of the story. It was the whale a tale. In junior high, I sang a solo in our church production of “Oh Jonah”. It went something like this:


Making time

July 21, 2010

Sabbath-keeping, for our family, is more about what we do than what we don’t do.  For us, Sabbath is about choosing to make time for the things that renew us.   Most Fridays, we sleep as long as we want to (in Eliza’s case) or as long as possible (in the case of her parents).  We enjoy a leisurely breakfast together.  We relax and read the paper on the porch.  We sit on the floor and play.  Long walks and talks are a crucial part of the day — whether we amble through our neighborhood and down along the river, or venture further for an adventure at our favorite county and state parks.   We often have friends over for a meal, or meet at a restaurant for dinner.  The main idea of the Sabbath, for us, is to settle into a pace that isn’t rushed.


Sermon 7/18/10 – Jonah Spewed!

July 19, 2010

The whole story of Jonah, by Naomi Spiers.

7/18/10, Jonah chapter 2

Rev. Jane McBride, First Congregational Church of MN, UCC

(preached at University Baptist Church)

As the Presbyterians wrestled with questions of human sexuality at their recent assembly here in Minneapolis. I was thinking about my experiences at similar Lutheran gatherings. My partner Jen is a Lutheran pastor, and with her, I’ve spent many years immersed in the struggle for equality in the church. At those assemblies two sides emerged quickly and visibly: Those who believe the church should welcome GLBT people and pastors and those who did not. Each side identified itself clearly, wearing pins and stoles and shawls. They handed out pamphlets and stood in vigil. They huddled rooms called “headquarters” to strategize and pray and sing and cry.


What do you need?

July 15, 2010

Chapter 3 of Receiving the Day seems, most essentially, about making choices.  Dorothy Bass encourages the reader to exercise choice about how we use our bodies throughout the day.  I liked the connection she drew between respecting our bodies and “honoring the integrity of each twenty-four-hour period” (32).  If we make choices throughout the day that correspond to our bodies’ needs for nourishment, rest, and exercise, then we live with hearts and minds open to possibility.


Sermon 7/4/10: The Hazard of Healing (late posting… sorry!)

July 15, 2010

The Hazard of Healing © Abigail Henderson.  Preached on July 4, 2010, at First Congregational Church of Minnesota.

Naaman washing in the Jordan

Naaman washing in the Jordan.

2 Kings 5:1-14

Almost two years ago now, I moved to Minneapolis and began working as a hospital chaplain in the cardiac ICU.  I was not at my best.  In the weeks before my arrival, two major events occurred:  first, I miraculously survived a fifteen-foot fall from a balcony, emerging with only a concussion and a broken ankle; second, my older sister Rachel died after a long struggle with brain cancer.  I felt broken, both physically and, at times, spiritually.  It was bizarre to limp through the hospital on my crutches, attempting to provide care to acutely ill people and their families.  As my supervisor said, “We never meant for you to take the ‘wounded healer’ thing so seriously!”


Sermon 7/11/10: Jonah Pursued!

July 12, 2010

7/11/10; Jonah chapter 1
Rev. Jane McBride, First Congregational Church of MN, UCC
(preached at University Baptist Church)

Jonah and the Whale, by He Qi

Get up! Go! Go at once! God’s call to Jonah is not gentle or subtle. It’s sudden, demanding, even violent. Who can blame Jonah for running in the other direction? Hoping to escape both God and God’s assignment, Jonah makes a beeline for Tarshish, which seems to be a significant location only because it lies in the exact opposite direction from Ninveh.


What time is it?

July 1, 2010

A few weeks ago, Jane blogged about reading the first chapter of Receiving the Day while en route to my ordination.  She described the irony of reading about sacred time while caught up in air travel hell.  As I read chapter 2, “This Is the Day that God Made,” I’m caught in a similar tension.  Bass writes about how we divide up our days into hours and minutes, frantically rushing to fill those slots in “appropriate” and “productive” ways.  She then encourages creating a different kind of rhythm for ourselves–a pattern of thought, prayer, and worship that remind us about our relationship with God and the gift of each day.  I was grateful that Bass admits she herself struggles to follow this practice (pp. 23-4)–because God knows I do too!  Indeed, as I write this blog post, my mind is racing with countless obligations, commitments, and to-do lists.