The light of Easter shines on a simpler landscape this year. Like you, I am more defined than ever by the domestic church, my home. It helps to have an A-list partner who suffers little from lack of beauticians: Annette’s silver hair is just longer, pulled back, and she can clip nails and toes as good as anyone. Her strength comes from home. Though she is genius at troubleshooting for the ministry, she draws life from domestic stuff and gives it away to many lives. Prior to q
I woke from a fitful sleep, jet-lagged and already critical of the things that awaited me at morning Mass. I countered with a prayer for humility and tolerance of things I dislike like dour congregants and uninspiring music. After all, it is Easter! Jesus is walking through walls and telling folks to get their hands off Him then insisting that they lay hands on Him—all kinds of messy, unpredictable stuff. I cringed slightly as I eyed the cantor for the morn; golden in her int
Mercy is God’s ache for His children: a stream of unfailing love flowing from His heart towards ours. Through mercy, He woos us and invites us to exchange lesser loves for a double portion of His compassion. The Greek word for mercy—‘eleos’—means ‘oil poured out’: Jesus’ life crushed like olives in order to become the antidote to our brokenness. That ‘ache’ of love is better conveyed by the Latin word for mercy–‘misericorde.’ ‘Miseri’ conveys the deep pity God feels toward us
‘See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth. The season of singing has come.’ (S of S 2: 10, 11) Maybe only long distance runners understand: an unpredictable convergence of things that makes for a great race. Balmy weather, body aches becoming bursts of strength, the inspiration of a flowering tree, managing to keep pace with the guy just ahead of you…all good, all outside of one’s control. Kind of like new life. Who likes to be out of
‘Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ (Jn 12: 24) I hope I am not being dramatic here. After all, Scripture implores us to count all things loss for the sake of knowing Him more. (Phil. 3: 7, 8) These losses may be deeply personal: long-held expectations and aspirations that we have forsaken for the Gospel. It can also be the disorientation we experience when those around us change. Familiar rallying p
This Holy Week a pastor recounted to me the return of Kim, a congregant who had left her husband and kids years before for another woman. Her lover became physically violent and she returned to the Lord. Her family has moved on. Her help is Jesus, and a small band of Christians. Kim has no idea what His new life will mean for her now. She is reduced to Resurrection. In this Easter season we can hold an overly facile view of the Living God. He can too easily become a familiar
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and don’t need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17) St. Peter reveals our prideful detachment. When Jesus knelt down to wash the apostle’s dirty feet, his response is ours: “Get up! Get away from my stench! Remember the fragrant things I do!’ Jesus responds to Peter and to us: ‘Unless you let Me wash you there [feet—the lowest, dirtiest parts of us], you can have no p
‘Am I stone and not a sheep, that I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross, To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss, and yet not weep?’ – Christina Rossetti ‘A guilty suffering soul is more open to grace than an apathetic or smug soul.’ Edna Hong Maybe it hurts to slow down. To a church traumatized by sex abuse scandals, corruption in the ‘corporate offices’, and everyday injustices (parish and otherwise), busyness preserves us. Works defend us from our wounds. Better to
‘For Zion’s sake, I shall not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not remain quiet, until her righteousness shines forth like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.’ (IS. 62: 1) Such intimacy prepares us for the Cross. As Lent becomes Holy Week 2013, might we wait longer with Him on Good Friday, and so rejoice more fully with Him on Easter Sunday? Lent is a time of reduction. We pare down the extras in our life; we turn down the noise of a thousand voices in order
Thank God for Easter. Thank God for the season of Easter that spans far beyond its six weeks in the Church calendar; Jesus’ resurrection reminds us daily that He has trumped our old nature and activates us afresh to resume our pilgrimage. Following the Risen Christ is always a path toward maturity, with clear markers for our sexual and relational humanity. United with Him, we ascend slowly towards a horizon of boundless light. Each morning I rejoice in these words I share wit
This is the seventh and concluding post of my Holy Week Meditations for 2012. Please click here for the archive list of posts. Annette and I, as well as the staff here at Desert Stream Ministries, wish you a deeply blessed Easter. He is Risen! — Why was Mary Magdalene the first disciple Jesus entrusted with His resurrection? According to John’s Gospel, Peter and John raced to the empty tomb but could not comprehend Christ resurrected. Both John the Beloved and Peter the Rock
I wanted you to know that on Easter (April 2011) this past year I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church. That significant decision began three years ago and involved two rounds of RCIA (the adult catechism course), wise counsel, and much prayer. I want to emphasize that my decision is a personal one. Desert Stream Ministries has not become Catholic; it remains ecumenical and will continue to serve a variety of churches, mostly evangelical, which seek to minister to broke
‘He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.’ (Mk 16:6) Resurrection is reunion: Jesus, torn from His Father, now returns to Him. Evil demanded payment: crucifixion, the vast distance between God and God.
Love crossed over that gap, conquering sin and death. Resurrection is the ultimate Father/Son reunion. Every Easter, God extends to us a fresh invitation to reenter that reunion.
Jesus descended into hell to get us out of there.
He rose again into perf
Lent prepares us for Easter by leading us to the cross: 40 days, 40 steps to Calvary. It is the downward ascent to God’s mercy. Lent break ground in us for fresh mercies. It exposes what in us is merciless–stingy, resistant to grace. Lent is the desert in which we in our hunger and thirst are tempted to forsake the Source for pretty poisons. Lent is the desert in which we can discover the stream that rumbles beneath the valley of death, ready to surface and transform the burn