The night before Jesus died he had dinner with his closest followers. That “last supper” gave rise to what we know of as the Eucharist (also called the Lord’s Supper and Holy Communion). Christians have often gathered on Thursday of Holy Week, called Maundy Thursday, to commemorate this important event and its lasting import to us.Read More
In these strange times, I have found comfort in reading John the Apostle. Not his accounts of strange creatures and odd visions that sound more like the Walking Dead or something from the Matrix, but the Gospel of John. John's account of the life of Jesus is apocalyptic in another sense—in John's same poetic language, his account of Jesus' life disrupts how I see the world, and in the person of Jesus, remakes creation.Read More
City Church planned this waiting series before we fully grasped how drastically our lives would change over this Lenten season. At this point, I often wonder what I am waiting for each day. Am I waiting for more bad news, or will there be something hopeful? Am I waiting for something as simple as a check in text from friends I see regularly? Back in early March, when I said I would take this week's blog in our five-part series on Jesus' last days and write about how Jesus was stranded in the garden by his friends, I had no idea how relevant that term "stranding" would feel to our present reality.Read More
9/11 is the only event I can remember that comes close to resembling our current crisis. Contrary to what my elementary students think, I do not have first-hand knowledge of World War I or World War II. I'm old, but I'm not that old!
At our church I was responsible for leading the Bible study that followed 9/11. For this Bible study, we went back to the source. We read Bible verses, talked about how they applied to us, and we prayed.
If my own experience is any indication, anxiety and time can be a taxing mixture. I so often fill up any "free" time with worry, overlaying unnecessary structure upon anything that feels too loose, too flexible. As we all grapple to adjust our lives to the structures demanded by the COVID-19 moment, and perhaps even the newfound time that attends these days, I began to reflect on some of the ways the truths of Scripture address and understand our fears.Read More
In John 13, Jesus did the most curious thing the moment he "knew the Father had put all things under his power." He assumed the role of a slave, took off his outer clothing, wrapped a towel around his waist, poured water into a basin, washed and dried his disciples' feet, symbolically modeling for us what Paul later wrote - "he did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage... he made himself nothing..." Jesus made himself nothing to make us something by sacrificing everything.Read More
People often go to therapy when they are in times of transition, in what I call the waiting place. There are so many examples of this: infertility, job loss, cancer, heartache, break ups, divorce, depression, anxiety.
Why is waiting so hard? In part, because we are made aware that we are not in control of our own lives. And that's frightening. We have to trust a God that we can't directly see or hear or touch. Normally, when things are going well, we act as if we are the god of our own lives. And if we're honest, it's easy to trust God when things are good, or they go our way, but to trust God in suffering, in uncertainty, in waiting, that takes a faith greater than our own.Read More
This Sunday we launch a new series to begin the season of Lent at City Church.
Lent is designed to help us grow spiritually and prepare for Easter. There's a sense in which Lent should launch us into Easter and the new day of hope we enjoy as followers of Christ. What makes for a productive Lent? Carving out time to hold up Scripture as a mirror to our heart and mustering the courage to let the Holy Spirit speak candidly to us. This inventory-intake process encourages our souls to be honest with respect to our life mission to love God, love others, and love the city. This is exactly what we see in the ancient Hebrew prophets: they hold up the mirror of God's law to God's people.Read More
Heavier than the fact that I've never been much good at waiting is the far greater burden that I've never quite learned how to wait. In my pursuit of immediate and observable outcomes, I have often overlooked the power of those patient, unobservable actions to which many others dedicate their lives. I marvel at thoughtful patience and mindful meditation. I am convinced that, for many of us, the word "waiting" takes on the qualities of a curse; waiting is a form of punishment, trial.Read More