Showing posts from 2020

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Psalms 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
The other morning, I went on a walk before starting my work for the day. It was a gorgeous morning, a bit cooler than it had been, yet sunny. I came back in and was making a cup of coffee in my kitchen when I heard my balcony door fly open. Surprised, I went to the living room to see the door wide open, rain falling, and a gorgeous rainbow straddling the Atlanta downtown skyline.It was as if the Lord said, “Come quickly. See what I have to offer you.”These can be hard days. We mourn the loss of our sense of normalcy, the familiar daily connections that have been interrupted. We confess that we struggle in fear of an uncertain future in these strange times, a season of unknowing and doubt.We ask your forgiveness, O Lord, when we fail to put our faith in you, when we fail to see the good that is still around us, when we fail to acknowledge You and delight in Your presence. I thank the Lord for …

Erasing Our History

There’s a lot of talk about "erasing our history.” 
Just the evening before last, on the eve of Juneteenth, a monument commemorating the "Lost Cause" of the Civil War was lawfully removed from the Historic DeKalb County Courthouse. This is one of many monuments being removed, whether lawfully or unlawfully, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and the resulting protests. 

My Great Great Grandfather Wrenn, My Great Great Grandfather Paschall, and my Great Great Great Grandfather Strickland all fought for the Confederacy. Great Great Grandpa Wrenn enlisted at the age of 21 in May, 1861. “Grandpa Bob” Paschall was wounded and was a prisoner of war. Grandpa Strickland was wounded at Fredericksburg, a wound that required a few weeks of convalescence. He was also captured, but exchanged and returned to duty. He soldiered on until the surrender at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865. He walked all the way back to Franklin County, North Carolina. 

When I was growing up,…

A Lamentation for Justice

Lord, we praise You and thank You that You are an Awesome God. You laid the Foundations of the Earth. You alone command the mornings. We know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. We thank You that You are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
We thank You, even in our lament, for the events of this week. In the midst of strife, hurt, pandemic, and pain, we thank you: For all of the helpers – those serving the sick, and those protecting your peopleFor those who despite their hurting find the strength to speak outfor all of those who have given voice to the voiceless,for those who have marched to bring awareness to generations of injustice,for those who have spoken out against misuse of powerfor those who have called out religious posturingfor those who cry out to bring attention that the system is not broken, that indeed it was built this wayfor those who have taken time this week to educate themselves o…

May God Bless Us With Discomfort

These recent weeks have been trying. The world seems upside-down, businesses are closed, and people are losing their jobs. Families and friends are unable to mourn together in times of loss. We watch daily as the death toll rises. It can all be very unsettling.
But sometimes, perhaps we need to be unsettled. Can we use this as an opportunity to look at our lives and ask “Where are set in our ways,”Particularly, where are we set in ways that aren’t healthy for us as a society, that aren’t in line with what Jesus calls us to do? What lessons can we learn from this that we want to bring forward into our new lives, after all of this is a thing of the past? The other day on my evening walk I passed a closed storefront that had painted messages in its windows. One said “Comfort the Disturbed. Disturb the Comfortable.” A few days later, on a sidewalk someone had spray painted the message “With discomfort comes growth.”
Maybe this is what Jesus is getting at when he says, “Blessed are the po…

Prayer during COVID-19 Pandemic

Lord, as we enter into this time of prayer, teach us to be thankful. Despite trying times, there is much for which to be grateful. We thank you, Lord, for our many blessings.
We thank you for this time together, for the opportunity to gather virtually to pray. We thank you for this opportunity of renewal – an involuntary reset.
We thank you for being our rock, foundation, and refuge, for being our God who is faithful in times of abundance as well as our times of need. We thank you for the reminder that a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. We thank you for caring neighbors, families and friends, and our renewed awareness of their importance in our lives.
We thank you for showing the world that while this strain of coronavirus is new, the inadequate availability of healthcare for all, the systemic inequities in marginalized communities, the food deserts in our communities, and the structural racism the virus exposes are nothing new. We thank you for the oppo…

The Lentiest Lent

Christians around the world often given up things for Lent. But going into this year’s Lenten Season, who knew we would be required to give up so much?
We are living in strange times, isolating ourselves to remain safe from a potentially deadly virus, watching as restaurants and businesses close and people lose jobs, and embracing technology to remain close in times when we are required to be physically distant.
In the Gospel of Mark (Mark 10: 32-34), Jesus tells the disciples for the third time that he will be killed. He says, “We are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Jesus is telling his disciples, “Look folks, we’ve got some rough times ahead in Jerusalem. This ain’t going to be pretty.”
Over and over again, throughout the Bible, we are told “Don’t…

Lenten Devotional -- April 4, 2020

My Lenten Devotional for 2020: