This morning, while watching the news I saw an elected official from Hurricane Florence-ravaged North Carolina plead for neighbors to keep an eye out for each other, and to help whomever they were able to
In his travelogue, Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck offers a fascinating account of his attendance at a Vermont church one Sunday. He found a “John Knox” church where the preacher, “a man of iron with tool-steel eyes and a delivery like pneumatic drill, opened with a prayer and reassured us that we were a pretty sorry lot.”
Law and Gospel preaching has the same structural and improvisational aspects to it. It’s not an activity that comes easily to an untrained hand. But it’s possible to become an adept by learning “the cycle.” There are a melody and rhythm that begin to seep into a preacher’s being by shaping tongue, teeth, and lips to the announcement of mercy for sinners on account of Christ crucified.
“What do you desire?” King Moonracer squints down at the motley crew before him. A strange looking elf, a bearded prospector, and a red-nosed reindeer are gathered before his throne to humbly petition him for their dearest wish.
After many years of serving as a certified court interpreter, the matter before me in a criminal sentencing was nothing new. A jury had found the defendant guilty of domestic violence with aggravated assault, and he was now before the judge for sentencing.
If God gave out gold medals for good works, the prize would often go to people who never darken the doors of a church. Thomas, the atheist, because he has deep compassion for the homeless population, establishes a local shelter and soup kitchen where the poor can have a roof over the heads and a hot meal.
The last line of Psalm 137 is about as awful a Bible passage as you could find. Yeah, there’s the story of the king who gets a sword through his belly and has his guts spill out. And there’s another one about the woman who puts a tent stake through the temple of an enemy general.