His Name is Desire of Nations

Advent sings of Emmanuel: God With Us, the very Son of God in our very midst, Jesus. As early-winter skies croon with reds, pinks, blues, and purples, Advent further carols the Dayspring, the morning dawn of daily mercies potent and fertile with the fresh possibilities of heaven. This morning, lyrics of Advent chant another nameContinue reading “His Name is Desire of Nations”

His Name Is Son of God

Jesus. Immanuel. Immanuel. Jesus. You cannot speak of one without invoking the other. Jesus equals Immanuel. Immanuel equals God with us. Thus, Jesus equals God with Us. Your middle school algebra teacher was correct: A=B, and B=C, therefore A=C. Indeed, the math adds up: Amid profound brokenness and paralyzing fear, you can count on God’sContinue reading “His Name Is Son of God”

His Name is Immanuel

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign – daily living is full of signs. Two black digits painted on white, metal rectangle display a highway’s legal speed limit. A pair of arches signals the availability of fast food ahead. And hopefully you’re not too hungry, because bold lettering on an orange diamond shape warns of road workContinue reading “His Name is Immanuel”

All the Lonely People

Way back in 1966, The Beatles released a hit song titled “Eleanor Rigby.” The classic tune paints a sad picture of lonely people who live on the remote edges of the wider world. As the lyrics go, Eleanor Rigby is the caretaker of a ramshackle country church – the one who sweeps up the riceContinue reading “All the Lonely People”

A Soldier, an Athlete, and a Farmer

The apostle Paul, for more than a month of Sundays, has been serving as our explainer-in-chief of any and all matters related to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. Here’s where we’ve been: First to the Romans and now to us, Paul weaves a stunning daisy chain of faith and belief: We can rejoice inContinue reading “A Soldier, an Athlete, and a Farmer”

Look Around, Not Up

For the past few weeks, the story of God with us from the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John has been fueling our discipleship. Time after time, over and over again, we’ve heard Jesus extend the invitation to drop everything and follow him. Drop your old ways of self-centered thinking, and followContinue reading “Look Around, Not Up”

Passing through Jesus

Unlike the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in which Jesus teaches through parables, John’s Gospel doesn’t include any parables. Instead, Jesus reveals himself through his much-beloved “I AM” sayings: “I AM the bread of life.” “I AM the light of the world.” “I AM the resurrection and the life.” “I AM the way, theContinue reading “Passing through Jesus”

Seeing with Kingdom Eyes

The Lord’s persuasive invitations to discipleship are the common threads woven into our Scripture lessons over the past couple Sundays. Those gracious, open invitations to be counted among Jesus’s followers immediately compel a tax collector named Matthew to quit his lucrative job raking in big bucks for his Roman bosses and to join the communityContinue reading “Seeing with Kingdom Eyes”

Cross Training

We typically sing the rousing lyrics on a Sunday in Lent: “In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o’er the wrecks of time.” The idea of the cross towering over various “wrecks” across the ages became all-the-more poignant in the harrowing days of anger and grief after 9/11. That twisted, iron-girder cross rising fromContinue reading “Cross Training”

Pastoral Meditation: Glory Revealed

Pastor Grant M. VanderVelden shared this message at the funeral for Darlene Janice “Dar” Klein on Thursday, June 2, 2022. Among Dar’s personal effects was a hand-written letter that she penned several years ago. Dar’s family shared it with me while we were making funeral arrangements, and since it provides such an intimate and heartfeltContinue reading “Pastoral Meditation: Glory Revealed”