Pain

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Pain is an um… well a pain. Nobody really likes it; that is why analgesics and other forms of pain killers (pick your poison)  are such big money makers. But we can endure quite a bit of pain for the right reasons, for healing, for change, for wholeness… They can be endured because there is hope for something better. As I contemplate Lent, the cross, and all Jesus went through for us, the levels of pain I can not imagine, but Jesus willingly did all of it because we are worth it.

 

Sorrow

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So I did a little work here today. The sorrow was not mine, but I witnessed it in the family and friends of the man buried now beneath the mud and snow. But what I love about this image is a feeling of sorrow in the mess of snow, mud and grass and yet in the midst of it all, a light shines.

Ash 2016

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So this is me. It is Ash Wednesday, I have an ashen cross on my forehead and I am smiling!  For many Lent is, well a bit of a drag. Sin, repentance, mortality and all wrapped up in hymns in a minor key is just too… negative.  I can see how people might feel that way, and that is too bad because Lent is so much more. Lent is about hope, it is about forgiveness, and it is ultimately about life.  This is why I smile during Lent.

 

Really?

IMG_0940So there is this sign that I pass by frequently. Often it has a portion of a Bible verse or some other pious platitude.  Most often I don’t find them all that uplifting nor thought provoking… this one though, this one hit my funny bone!  When I posted this on Instagram, I quipped “A fresh new take on Genesis!”

Now understand that I take both my faith, and others faith seriously. But Paul touches on something in 1st Corinthians that is good to remember.  Starting at verse 18 he writes: Continue reading

Crosses 5 – On Loan

IMG_0902This is the cross that I have worn the most during my life as a pastor. It is my pastor cross as someone very young once called it. I have worn it in worship, but mostly I wear it like this, with my clerical shirt, I guess you could say it is of my working cross.     The last in this series on crosses.

This cross is not mine; It is my dads. I think I asked permission to borrow it, but that was nearly 20 years ago now and neither one of us remembers or at least I don’t.

I have gotten quite a few comments on it over the years as it is sort of unique. The nails that are used echo the nails driven into Christ on his cross.  I guess one could say “this cross is not mine” it’s my Saviors.

Over the last five days, we have looked at different crosses, and they all have that in common. These crosses however they look, wherever we find them remind us of the power of God’s gracious love.  We are reminded that in the cross, and empty Continue reading

Crosses 4 – Snap Shot

IMG_0887I know two things about this photo for sure. One is I took it on my second favorite island in the world, Puerto Rico, and the other is, well, its a cross.

As I scanned through my library, I stumbled over this image.  I don’t remember taking the photo, it may have even been accidental, because I don’t even remember ever seeing this church, but the data on the photo proves that it was taken in or around San Juan.

Then I got to thinking, the cross does that in our lives doesn’t it? After all a cross is just two intersecting lines, they are all over the place.  But this is how God works, the ordinary is made extraordinary in God’s grace.  Crosses that pop up unbidden to remeind us of God’s mercy, crosses that appear in our feild of view when we most need to be reminded of what God has done and conitnues to do for us.

Crosses 3 – Chi Rho

IMG_0884This is the cross that stands directly above the entrance to the education wing at my church. I loved the green of the oak leaf’s, the blue of the sky and the white of the clouds. I also love the grey limestone cross and the Chi Rho.

No this is not a symbol for some Greek frat, nor is it a cross though it has been confused by some as both those things! They are in fact letters, Greek letters, the first two letters in the Greek word for Christ, “ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ”, Lest there be
any doubt about what that cross above it is all about, those two initials clear that up right away! They have a fascinating history and story if you’d like to learn more you can take a look at the Wikipedia page here.

What are the things that help lead you forth faithfully into life? Is the cross, a Chi Rho, or something else? I’d love to hear about your touchstones of faith and symbols of your growth in Christ.