Posted by: jaimemwsanders | November 16, 2020

Not Money or Even Talent: The Parable of the Talents

The lectionary – that calendar of the Scripture passages appointed for Sundays – is a source of gifts. Every week I unwrap Sunday’s gospel. Sometimes with joyous anticipation. Sometimes with puzzlement. Sometimes with dread, like unwrapping a gift from a poor knitter with only a vague sense of size.

Sunday’s gospel was in the last category: the so-called “parable of the talents.” Matthew 25:14-30. This little story by Jesus is one of a series of stories in Matthew that Jesus tells about someone important being gone and then coming. It follows immediately after a story about bridesmaids having or running out of lamp oil before a bridegroom comes. (Mt. 25:1-13). It comes immediately before Jesus telling about “when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him.” (Mt. 25:31 et seq.) The theme is established in Chapter 24, in which Jesus answers the disciples’ question of when the consummation of the age and Jesus’ coming will be. (Mt. 24:3) Answers, but doesn’t answer, because what Jesus says is that they are to “keep watch, so that no one causes you to go astray.” (Mt. 24:4) “But about that day and hour no one knows – neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son – except the Father only.” (Mt. 24:36).

The subject of the parable of the talents, therefore, is how Jesus’ disciples are to behave in the maybe long time between when he goes away and when he comes in judgment.

In this parable, the master cares about money. That is what he distributes to his slaves before he goes away on a long journey. When he comes back, he rewards the two slaves who made his money grow, and punishes the one who didn’t. the two who multiplied the money, he says, “enter into the joy of your master.”

These two entered into the master’s work – investing money to make it grow – and therefore upon his return enter into his joy.

The third slave did not adopt his master’s interests as his own. He saw his interests as separate from those of his master’s: the master was interested in making money grow, but the slave was interested in avoiding punishment. Therefore, instead of being welcomed into the master’s joy, he was separated from it – cast into the darkness.

What are we to learn from this parable? I do not think that we are to conclude that Jesus is primarily concerned about money – that would be contrary to almost the entire rest of the gospel. (Cf. the story of the rich young man, Lk. 18:18-25). It would also be contrary to the teaching immediately after this in Matthew, in which Jesus tells his disciples what criteria he will use in judgment. (Mt. 25:34-36). The priorities of the master in the parable are not Jesus’ priorities. But the priorities of the master in the parable are clear, and understood by the slaves. The ones who are rewarded are those who adopt those priorities and work as their own even in the master’s absence.

One of the troubling things about this parable is what the faithless slave says about the character of the master: harsh, to be feared. Will the Jesus who told his disciples to forgive one another “not seven times but seventy-seven times,” (Mt. 18.16-26), who some authorities say forgave those who crucified him, (Lk. 23:34), who taught us to forgive others that we might be forgiven – this Jesus – be on his return the harsh and unforgiving master of the slave’s description?

Remember that the description of the master as harsh and demanding is from the slave who does NOT enter into the work and priorities of the master. While two of the slaves adopt the master’s priorities and work as their own, the third does not. He sees the master’s priorities as making money; his priority is to avoid punishment. He does not have a right relationship with the master, and therefore is not a good guide to the master’s character. Instead, we should look to the behavior of the two slaves invited into the master’s joy, who adopted the master’s concerns as their own and were fearless in pursuing them. 

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | November 2, 2020

Blessed are the meek

Then Jesus began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

Matthew 5:2-5 (NRSV)

Yesterday was All Saints Day. It is the custom in my church to remember not only the “named saints” on this day but also the beloved dead: people for whom members of the congregation have asked that we pray.

Each one of these people in some way showed love. By their words and deeds they made it possible for us to believe in a God of love. But they were not interchangeable. And none of them were perfect.

We know this of the people we have loved and lost, that each was unique, and none was perfect. Scripture suggests that even Jesus did not consider himself perfect. Both Mark and Luke recount a story commonly called the “Rich Young Man,” which begins

“a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”

Mark 10:17b-18 (NRSV)

We honor people not because they were perfect, but because they used their particular gifts in their time and place in the love of God and their neighbors. Something about their lives makes it easier for us to believe in a loving God.

Florence Nightingale used her statistical brilliance and practical nursing knowledge to transform the care of sick and wounded people. “She is also noted for her deeply mystical and pragmatic sense of spirituality.” (retrieved November 2, 2020). That is a different set of gifts than those of, for example, John Donne, poet of love and dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. One can imagine John Donne being overwhelmed by the emotions of the wounded and dying of the Crimean War; one can imagine Florence Nightingale impatient with the slow pace and lack of practical difference of cathedral life. Different gifts; different work; one God.

What is the connection with “blessed are the meek?” The meek are those who recognize that they are part of an interconnected web of blessing. It could be expressed as, “blessed are the grateful.” Along with gratitude for the opportunity to use their gifts for God, gratitude for the different gifts of others.

We each of us have what I call our “inner 2-year-old:” that part of our selves that thinks we alone can fix it; that we alone see the truth; that we should be able to shape the world to our desires. The Beatitudes reminds us that a God-centered life subdues this inner 2-year-old, puts the drive to mastery in service of love of God and of neighbor, and recognizes that we are only part of an interconnected web of diverse gifts and perspectives; that God alone is perfect.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | June 29, 2020

God Sees a Way

When two people of faith but very different ages and life experiences see the same thing in a Biblical text, I pay attention.

Yesterday in my church’s Zoom worship, Fr. Gary Heide preached on the story of Abraham and Isaac, tying it to the gospel passage. If I may presume to summarize the message in one sentence, it was, “let go of the past; trust the future to God.” You can watch the service here.

Today, I read a blog post from The Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson, a gay scholar and priest who is a generation younger than Fr. Gary, on the same passage. I recommend that you read it for yourself, here: But if I may presume to summarize the message in one sentence, again, I hear, “trust the future to God.” Not in the sense of not acting for justice, not in the sense of passive non-participation in creating that future, but in the sense of trusting that God sees a way when we do not.

The picture (thank you to Easton Mok on Unsplash) is of a flooded river. The past is like a river channel, shaping the future. We are now in a time of flood. It is dangerous. It swamps our belongings and upends our lives. But floods are what shape new channels. Let go of the past; trust the future to God. God sees a way; God will provide.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | March 20, 2020

Sheltering in faith

Allie Smith

When I worked in a hospital, I felt like my right hand was tied behind my back. I had been used to work with hospitals – as a nonprofit tax lawyer. A hospital executive or managing physician would ask a question, and I would answer it. I had expertise and experience.

Then I wasn’t a lawyer anymore, I was a student chaplain. Even when there was something practical that I knew how to do, I wasn’t allowed to do it. I was supposed to only be providing spiritual care, and leaving the practical help to the highly competent health professionals. Much of the time, I felt helpless.

I wonder if that is how doctors and nurses are feeling now, as they see the COVID-19 epidemic rising? An experienced nurse told me that the very worst thing for a nurse or doctor is to see someone gravely ill and not to be able to help. In this situation, their ability to help is limited by things completely outside of their control. By decisions made in Washington DC about how to prepare (or not) for a pandemic. By the behavior of millions of individuals, who do or do not believe in the seriousness of what is coming, and do or do not have the power to change their routines. By the fragmented nature of our healthcare system.

We expect so much of our healthcare professionals. We expect them to put their personal lives second to the needs of patients. We expect them to always be heroes, when sometimes they want to be allowed to be weak and afraid. We expect them to know the answers, when we are in a situation in which the truest answer to many questions is, “we don’t know.”

I woke up this morning having fantasies of doing something to help our doctors and nurses and nurses aides and the chaplains and cleaning staff and all the other people on hospital staffs. I thought of pitching a little tent, on the sidewalk in front of a hospital, and offering coffee and ice water and a chair and a listening ear if they want to rant or lament.

Because that is all I discovered about what to do when I felt overwhelmed with the sadness around me and helpless to do anything to fix it. To find a moment of quiet, and a cup of coffee, and a moment of honesty. A moment of honesty with myself and with God.

I probably can’t do what I was dreaming of. Hospital sidewalks are crowded places, and the doctors and nurses would probably just worry about me sitting there. It needs more of a relationship of trust to allow moments of honesty. And what they have asked of me and everyone like me, who doesn’t have any medical skill to lend, is to stay home. Flatten the curve. So that is what I am doing.

But as I stay home, I am praying for the people working in hospitals. I am praying for the patients, for whom today’s psalm speaks:

I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; I have become like one who has no strength;

Lost among the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave,

Whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.

Psalm 88, verses 4-6

I am praying for the nurses, exhausted, scared, doing what they can for as many patients as they can, living with the sorrow that it will never be enough. I am praying for the doctors, whose training and skill did not prepare them for the circumstances in which they now find themselves, but using all their training and skill to fight death anyway. I am praying for the chaplains, some of whom are not even allowed to come to work when their gifts are most needed. I am praying for the less skilled staff, risking their health for inadequate pay, worried about their families at home.

I pray that each of them finds some moments of grace, some words of thanks, a listening ear. And, if they are too busy, and too overwhelmed, and too tired to be able to pray, I pray that they know others are praying for them. At home, because that is what we can do to help.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | March 19, 2020

Jesus Was A Carpenter

Today, March 19th, The Episcopal Church commemorates St. Joseph, the worldly father of Jesus. Joseph is said in scripture to have been a tekton, or builder, commonly translated, “carpenter.” Justin Martyr, who was born in Palestine around 100 C.E., wrote that he had seen plows and ox-yokes still in use that had been made in Joseph’s shop in Nazareth. (This fact courtesy of James Kiefer, writing on Tradition says that Jesus learned carpentry from Joseph, and pursued that trade until the beginning of his public ministry when he was around 30 years old. Hence the song, “Jesus Was a Carpenter.”

We often think of Jesus’ identity as a carpenter as, in this song, emblematic of his humble birth and lack of social power and status. But I would like to invite us to think of another aspect.

One of the characteristics of Jesus’ teaching was his encouragement of people to see. “Consider the lilies of the field,” for example. This emphasis on learning from close observation of everyday life is typical of the Jewish wisdom tradition. But I wonder if it isn’t also something Jesus learned in carpentry.

From my husband’s grandmother, we inherited the Windsor chair in the photo above. Eva was born in 1898, and this chair was made by hand by methods passed down for generations. The craftsman had to have an eye for wood, for its grain and characteristics, as well as skill and patience. If you hurry in using an adze, you can wreck the piece you are making – and wood was not common in Israel!

As I write these words, restaurants and many stores are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all being encouraged to stay at home unless it is really necessary to go out. Perhaps it is a time to cultivate the art of seeing. To appreciate the grain of wood. To have patience, and learn a skill. To remember that Jesus was a carpenter.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | March 17, 2020

Faith, Not Fear

Cindy Boren of The Washington Post reported yesterday (March 16, 2020):

Although sports leagues around the country suspended competition last week because of the coronovirus pandemic, the National College Wrestling Association held its national championships over the weekend, with the organization’s executive director explaining, “We’re going to operate on faith rather than fear.”

There have been other reports of churches refusing to suspend services, alleging that this is an act of faith and trust in God. (And, by inference, that those mostly mainline Protestant and Catholic churches must lack sufficient faith.)

But which action in fact requires more faith? To continue with business as usual? Or to take new action in love of our neighbors, trusting that God will sustain our faith even in new ways of being community?

It is scary to suspend Sunday services. For over 150 years, my church has gathered together on Sunday to pray, to hear Scripture, to learn, to share meals both spiritual and material. The joke about my people, the Episcopalians, is that the reason we do things the way we do is that, “that is the way we have always done it.” We are – with a few exceptions – not early adopters of technology. We do not lightly suspend our beloved worship services and embark on the mostly uncharted territory of “virtual church.” We have fears – “how will we know who needs help?” “will people come back to church, or will they just get out of the habit?” “if I put video sermons online, will anyone like them?” (Ok, I admit, that last one is just my fear.)

But when each of us was baptized, we were asked these questions, and gave these responses:

QuestionDo you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your
AnswerI do.
QuestionDo you put your whole trust in his grace and love?
AnswerI do.
QuestionDo you promise to follow and obey him as your
AnswerI do.

And our Lord ordered us to love our neighbors as ourselves. So when scientists and public health professionals tell us that by gathering in groups we are increasing an already-significant risk that our neighbors will die of a new disease, we stop.

We stop in faith that this is the right thing to do.

We stop despite our fears.

We stop out of love and faith.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | February 20, 2021

Grief and Ritual

Yesterday we buried my father. Well, to be precise, we interred his cremains in a columbarium niche. Since the accident on January 6 that put my father in the Emergency Room and then the Trauma ICU and then the morgue, I have been living a chapter in my life entitled “my father’s death.” With the Burial Service yesterday, I feel I have moved on to another chapter. Yes, grief is still present and will return again and again in the years to come. But it is no longer consuming.

This is what ritual does for us. For as long as human beings have been human beings, we have buried our dead with communal rituals. Those rituals connect the individual human life with our community and our collective concepts of the eternal; whether by ancient Egyptian preparations of the deceased for an afterlife, or by modern Jewish ritual of mourners casting dirt on the coffin. In ritual, we individuals reeling from the death and loss of someone we love are surrounded by our “tribe,” and the life lost given meaning in the context of our shared worldview. The collective ritual act tells us, “your loss is real, but survivable.” It encapsulates our grief with meaning.

My father was 88 years old when he died. He was born into economic privilege but emotional scarcity in 1932; he attended (and graduated from) Reed College during McCarthyism; he witnessed Jim Crow laws and lunch counter sit-ins as a graduate student in North Carolina; he was a young husband and father trying to make a career in universities in the 1960’s; he was a participant in anti-war demonstrations in 1968 and the husband of an organizer for Eugene McCarthy’s presidential campaign; he was the author of a social psychology textbook and a teacher and advisor to multiple generations of undergraduate and graduate students; he was one of the founding members of a new Urban Studies department at Portland State University, and a member of the search committee that called an extraordinary head for that department who put PSU on the world map; he had a child who died at 45 of cancer; he loved bicycling and sailing and gliding; he was an amateur actor . . . He had a full and interesting life, and any attempt to summarize it in an obituary or eulogy is going to distort and leave things out.

So I am grateful that in my church, one does not have to try to depict the fullness of the deceased’s life. We do not have an “open mic,” or a video, as part of the burial service. The time for those things, for the telling of stories and the laughing and crying, are at a wake or reception or family meal after the service. The burial service is for prayers for the deceased, whom we believe has entered into the fullness of God’s love, and for those who mourn. It is set forth in the Book of Common Prayer, with some choices to be made by the family with the help of the priest.

We also have inherited from our parent church, the Church of England, the tradition of being open to burying anyone. Most people in England don’t actually attend their local church – but they are entitled, if they want, to be married and buried there. Today, our “standard” service assumes that the deceased was baptized as a Christian, but we also have an authorized service for “The Burial of One Who Does Not Profess the Christian Faith.”

With the secularization of society, one of the losses is of communal ritual. When my brother died, because he was not a member of any faith community, there was not a ready form to hold the grief of his many friends. We had to create something, and although that something was made beautiful and meaningful by the contributions of all his friends, many of whom were musicians, I wished that in our time of shock and grief we had had a community, a minister, an established ritual, to turn to. I am grateful that with my father’s death, my family was not alone. I am grateful that I did not have to find all the words, or rely on words of a minister who did not know David. I am grateful for the words of the Book of Common Prayer:

Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him.

May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | November 3, 2020

Election and the Beatitudes

As I write this, it is Election Day in the United States of America. Election Day when our society is more polarized than it has been in my lifetime. Former friends have stopped speaking because they are supporting different candidates. If we were able to gather families for Thanksgiving – which we can’t because of the pandemic – the gatherings would likely be sorted by politics.

At some point, please God, we will have an outcome of the election. Where do we go from there?

Unlike a married couple, a country cannot get a divorce. The people who supported the person whom I vote against are not going to disappear. My belief that they are wrong is not going to disappear either.

I know that Jesus tells me to love my neighbor. Even to love my enemies. But the simple command doesn’t make it so. I need some mental scaffolding to get from a place of opposition to a place of love.

This is the context in which I read the Beatitudes for All Saints Day. “Blessed are the meek.” What does “meek” mean? I think it means humility in recognizing our own and other’s complexity, imperfections, and imperfect knowledge. In suppressing the “inner two-year-old” that has illusions of omnipotence, and appreciating our “self” as a part of an interconnected web. An interconnected web which, because it is sustained by and emanates from God, is a web of love and blessing.

The farmer whose John Birch society signs in his fields I find so offensive, might also have raised the wheat that becomes the flour that I buy to make bread during the pandemic. The young man wearing the anarchist tee-shirt at a street protest, whom you might find scary, might be the person who repairs your laptop when it is broken. We depend on each other.

And we are multidimensional, shaped by our diverse and random experiences. If my life had been that of that farmer, I might share his political views. If my life had been that of the young protester, I might be on the streets also. Each of us has a partial view of the truth, and find grace where we can. God’s love and grace is blocked by human constructs of sin, and finds its way to us in circuitous paths and refracted into light of different colors.

Blessed are the meek, who understand themselves to be finite parts of an interconnected web of grace.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | May 28, 2020

Reluctant Televangelist: Christ Church Online

Liturgy – the structure and poetry of communal worship – is at the heart of my church tradition. Due to the strange way the Reformation unfolded in the United Kingdom, Anglicans have been less united by what we believe than by what we do. In the Episcopal Church we have an elaborate system of self-governance, with a House of Deputies and a House of Bishops. The thing that they do that has the most impact on the church is to approve the Book of Common Prayer.

Ask an Episcopalian what they think happens when they die, and you will get answers ranging from “I don’t know” to “we go to heaven” to “we are reincarnated.” (The last, by the way, is not official church doctrine.) And, by and large, they are fine with knowing that the person sitting next to them in the pew has a different idea than they do. But if you want to start an argument, change the response to “The Lord be with you” from “And with thy spirit,” to “And also with you.” I have personally talked to people who left the church over that change!

All this is to explain that, for us, the shift from Holy Eucharist Rite II every Sunday to online worship is a BIG change! While some congregations have been in the habit of videotaping the sermon, and posting it online afterwards, it has been a one-person initiative – usually the priest’s spouse with a smartphone. My little congregation tried it once, but we couldn’t figure out how to get it uploaded.

But, as Bishop Steven Charleston posted recently, the gift given by the Spirit to the tribe of humans is “to see the future and adapt to it.” So we are gradually learning how to use the gifts of technology to continue to worship together.

The first thing we did was to make sure everyone had the old technology that fueled the Reformation – a printed book, the Book of Common Prayer, and instructions on how to find the Scripture readings for Morning and Evening Prayer. The second thing was I started reading them aloud, at home, and recording it on my phone and posting to YouTube.

We are now hosting a weekly Zoom Evening Prayer on Wednesday evenings, which are not recorded, so people can share prayer requests and what is going on in their lives. (Email me at if you aren’t getting the invitations and want to.) And for Sunday I am creating PowerPoint Morning Prayer services, with pictures and music, which are prayed by me and a lector via Zoom and recorded and posted on YouTube. You can subscribe to the channel here

And, I have to admit, it is fun. It adds another dimension to liturgy, to be able to add pictures. And I am grateful that people are joining me in prayer, even remotely in time and space. The church is not the building, and worship is not a book, but souls reaching for connection to our ineffable God.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | May 8, 2020

Rubbish of Life

“Handing over our sins, one by one, God can make even them into something beautiful. It is the mystery of the cross.” Something like that is what a young Jesuit just said in an online Examen. It struck me, as if for the first time I understand the cross. Jesus gathering our human sins. Our greed, and fear, and jealousy, and handing them to God to do with what God will. Raw material for new creation.

We try to give God just part of ourselves. Just the love. Just the creation of something good. Just the generosity or compassion.

But what if God needs all of it? What if the raw material of God’s re-creation is also the greed, and the failure and the sin?

What if that is part of the energy and passion that God needs in creating the next world?

How do we give that shadow self to God, relinquishing our control over it, and letting the Creator use it in a new creation?

There is a book about architecture, A Pattern Language, that recommends that we build our house not in the beautiful place on a piece of land, but on the ugly or impaired place. The beautiful place is already beautiful. The rubbish dump is where we can improve it by building.

God, take the rubbish dump places of my life. Use them as the raw material for creating something new and beautiful. I give them up. I hand them over to you.

Thanks to Bernard Hermant for sharing their work on Unsplash.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | April 3, 2020

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord

At my church, there is a box of palm leaves waiting for people who aren’t coming this year. The altar has been bare even of greenery during Lent. Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, fans of palm branches bring a foretaste of the flowers to come.

But this year, the church will be empty on Palm Sunday. It will be empty on Easter. No choir singing “Alleluia!” No white and gold vestments. No massed lilies. No children hearing the story of the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem, or being amazed at an empty tomb.

But Palm Sunday and Easter are not ends in themselves. We gather together for a purpose: to be transformed by God’s grace and, in our turn, to transform the world.

Not the whole world, but our little corner of it.

And so the church is not empty; the church is dispersed.

The people are the church. People who are staying home to not endanger their neighbors. People who are sewing masks for friends who need to be at work. People who are calling their fellow parishioners who live alone, checking up on them and sharing a virtual coffee hour. People who trying to keep their family’s business afloat, who are at work providing essential services. Parents who are learning to teach children who would normally be at school, and children who are learning to help their parents at home.

When Jesus’ followers accompanied him into Jerusalem, they proclaimed, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Who is it who comes into our lives in the name of the Lord? It is not the one who loudly proclaims this of themselves. It is the one who, when we see them coming, we say, “thank you, God!”

The one who comes in the name of the Lord might be a Christian, or a Jew, or a Buddhist, or “spiritual but not religious.” They might be wearing a surgeon’s white coat, or a blue shirt with their name on a badge. This Palm Sunday, may God give us the grace to recognize and give thanks for the person in the world who comes in the name of the Lord. Who brings a blessing into our lives.

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | March 31, 2020

Grace Under Pressure

The link is to videos from Bishop Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, on “Habits of Grace.” I found the one for this week helpful. What can I do today to love God, love myself, and love my neighbor?

When we are under stress, our timeframe shortens. It is hard to make plans or set goals for next month when I don’t know whether we will still be sheltering in place. So Bishop Curry’s emphasis on today is helpful. Today, what can I do to love God? Today, what can I do to love myself? Today, what can I do to love my neighbor?

Today, I can love God by starting the day with prayer instead of with the news.

Today, I can love myself by getting some exercise.

Today, I can love my neighbor by remembering that we are all operating under stress, and giving others some slack. A mentor introduced me once to a phrase for difficult people in a congregation: “Extra Grace Required.” Right now, we are all in need of some extra grace.

What can YOU do today to love God? What can YOU do today to love yourself? What can YOU do today to love your neighbor? Pick one from each category. Pick one that is easy. Notice when you do it. Notice how it feels. At the end of the day, say, “Thank you, God, for helping me today to love you, love myself, and love my neighbor.”

May God bless us, every one!

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

Posted by: jaimemwsanders | March 28, 2020

The greatest of these is love

“If you have had enough of coronavirus news for the moment, here is a picture of a very fluffy cat showing you his belly.” That was my Facebook post that got the most “likes” and “loves” of any in the past two weeks. Far more than any of the theological reflections.

Maybe we are looking for meaning in this time of pandemic. But, if so, it is because we are looking for love. The search for God in hardship, the quest for meaning, what theologians call theodicy, is at its root a search for love. “If God loves us, why do bad things happen?” The playwright Archibald MacLeish expressed the conundrum as, “If God is God, God is not good; If God is good, God is not God.” (J.B., 1958, quoted from memory) From this dilemma comes classical doctrines of original sin and many bad modern sermons.

But, when people are hurting, is it understanding that they are truly searching for? Or is it simply love? Some comfort? A friendly and soft fellow creature asking us for attention. The song of a bird outside the window. A warm loaf of bread. For

malt does more than Milton can To justify God’s ways to man.

from A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Housman

At this time of grief and fear, the Daily Lectionary of the Episcopal Church gave us today 1 Corinthians 13.

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:1

Let us look for and accept love where we find it. Even in a fluffy cat showing us his belly.

Older Posts »