Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River

Hi friends,

I know it’s been quiet in our little corner of the internet. I’ve been using most of my creative energy to compose meaningful worship opportunities for my church community and to work toward transitioning back into “the new abnormal” for our in-person activities. Kent and others have been swamped with their own transitions into digital teaching.

But, I am eager for the weeks and months to come. I just finished a lovely book by Baylor University Press that I’ll review shortly, with several other book reviews forthcoming. I know Kent intends to share a review of a volume about COVID-19. He shared a few quotes he was ruminating on. It’ll be of great interest to many.

In the meantime, here’s a video I made with some dear friends and congregants. As a celebration of the fruits of the Spirit, this song concluded our Pentecost worship. And, though I didn’t realize it when I chose the song, I want the song’s roots as an African American spiritual to make it a sign of solidarity with the black community’s ongoing work for justice. May God bless them, and may I learn to stand in solidarity with them more intentionally.

By the way, the arrangement is based on Josh Garrel’s rendition on his newest album, “Peace to All Who Enter Here.” It is an incredible album. Go listen to it here.

Peace, joy, and love to you!

Every blessing,
Zen

Theological Knick Knacks

Theological Knick Knacks

Good evening, friends. I hope you’re hanging in there. All is well with us. As our tulips grow weary, the dogwoods, redbuds, some lilies, etc. are bursting forth in glorious color and aroma. What a gift.

Anyhow, I am also delighted by the magnificent bloom of opportunities to engage in worship and theological learning with folks who you would otherwise, most of the time anyhow, need to pay tuition or airfare to hang with. I thought I’d highlight some of those opportunities along with other resources I’ve been enjoying in these troubling times.

Enjoy. And, please, share more in the comments below.

Every blessing,
Zen

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Time, Death, and Relationship

Time, Death, and Relationship

Just a few days ago, Jessie (my wife) and I were talking about what happens when someone dies. (Nothing like a light conversation just before bed, right?) There is a tension in Scripture on this point. “The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD,” the Psalmist declares, “for they have gone into the silence of the grave.” This seems pretty clear. At least until the Spirit gives John a glimpse of heaven, where the dead from the Great Tribulation who are crying out praises to God, waving palm branches. What should we do with this tension?

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Reading Barth Together

Reading Barth Together

Interested in reading Karl Barth with Will Willimon and Stan Hauerwas? Join their Zoom discussions every Tuesday throughout May! Click through to see more.

Peculiar Prophet

karl barth with pipe
Karl Barth with ever-present pipe

Perhaps intimidated by the imposing Church Dogmatics and unsure where to start, many would like to be more familiar with Karl Barth’s theology. My dear friend Stanley Hauerwas and I have have decided to do a series together on Barth’s Dogmatics in Outline to introduce folks to Barth’s thought in an accessible form and forum. Despite Dogmatics in Outline only being 153 pages (less than 2% the length of CD!), Stanley described as the most influential theological book of the twentieth century.

The sessions will be hosted each Tuesday in May from 10-11am on Zoom (details below). Stanley and I will talk about what Barth is doing in the chapters and what those chapters have to do with our theology today before taking whatever questions participants might have. All are welcome regardless of whether they’ve been reading Barth for years or this is their…

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Living Room Liturgy: Celebrating God with All Creation

Living Room Liturgy: Celebrating God with All Creation

For those of us in the midwest, one of the greatest gifts we’ve received during the quarantine are sunny and at-least-it’s-not-freezing days. We may not gather with loved ones but we can enjoy the sunshine, the blooming tulips and daffodils, and that comforting aroma that comes after the spring rain. 

Braver souls than me, however, tell me there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. One dear friend is trying to spend several hours outside every day this year. (She started in JANUARY.) Regardless, whether you’re a fair-weather outdoors person or an every-day-outside person, this liturgy is for you.

Gather the few things you’ll need and find a place to pray and celebrate. Your backyard is great. A park is perfect. Deep in the woods or on a suspension bridge over a river would be  just right. Get outside, somewhere with birds singing praise and the trees clapping their branches. Make the outdoors your living room for this time of prayer. After all, a garden was our original living room, wasn’t it?

May the Lord bless you as you pray!

(Click here for a downloadable, printable PDF of the liturgy.)

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A Prayer Exalting Christ’s Resurrection

Alleluia! He is risen!

I hope all of you found ways to celebrate (and to continue celebrating) Christ’s victory over death. This morning, as I imagined what worship might look like this Sunday, I revisited some of the creeds and definitions from my own tradition that articulate who Christ is and what Christ accomplished. The one that caught my attention was Question 52 from the Westminster Larger Catechism, which says:

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Easter Worship for Everyone

Easter Worship for Everyone

Hi all:

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed. I’m hopeful your church communities are creating opportunities for communal worship and that you are participating. If you’d like an additional opportunity, I am including links to my church’s morning at-home guided worship and to a hymn sing my church is hosting via live stream.

May resurrection light shine deeply into your hearts today.

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