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A Christmas Eve Prayer Mindful of Refugees

As the global refugee crisis continues to rise and as a person of faith whose Lord was a himself a refugee, this prayer seemed appropriate for Christmas Eve this year.


Almighty God, we gather again tonight to be reminded of your story, to celebrate your great coming into the world and to rekindle the hope that new life offers us. As we hear your story, we will be reminded that your birth took place when “Quirinius governed Syria” and if we keep reading your story we learn that you and your family had to flee, as refugees, to Egypt. This year we too have been reminded, that, like you and your family, millions of people are fleeing their homelands as refugees this year.  We are reminded of so many who know the throes of hunger, the bitterness of not having a place to lay one’s head, and feelings of despair and hopelessness.

We share this with you Jesus, for you know these things all too well.

Soon we will sing “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

We know that this is so. It is why we’ve come to this holy sanctuary tonight.

And so, we join the poet in lighting a candle this night and affirming that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not extinguish the light.” Thank you for your deep love for us and your creation, help us to reflect your light into the darkest places of the world this year as we join in praying that prayer you taught us…Our Father…


When are you ready?

Today is Columbus Day, which is a wreck of a holiday if you ask me, or, I imagine any person who lived in North America and their descendante, before Columbus came to the Americas. This dubious holiday has earned my children the day off of school. In North Texas, truth be told, it would be more accurate for us to say that, for our school-aged children, we don't actually celebrate Columbus Day but rather what we really celebrate is "State Fair Day." And "State Fair Day" is exactly what my kids celebrated, along with my wife and her parents. Unfotunatley, I had a meeting and some other work to attend to today and so I missed "State Fair Day" (and all the fried food that will, mostly likely take a year or so off your life but is arguably worth the ingestion) and as I was washing the dishes this evening I threw on the tv a Ben Folds Five concert that I had recorded on a whim. 

I figured this would be an efficient way to kill two birds with one stone but what happened in the first few measures of the concert was amazing! The music positvely arrested me! I was pretty much completely engrossed for the first few tunes, wondering, "where has this been!"

Now, it's not like I have never heard Ben Folds before, I'm certainly aware of his music, it's just that this was different. The experience was visceral. As I said on twitter regarding the experience, I work a lot and it's great! I love what I do but sometimes in my busyness I miss things, especially because I work on the weekends. For example, I kinda missed out on brunch for most of my aduit life and then after having if several years ago on vacation it was phenomenal! Sometimes I wonder why folks come to church at all, when brunch is an option!!! Thank goodness for the work of the Spirit!

I either must be busy or generally clueless about any life outside of my own. I don't think that's the case but sometimes I wonder!

As I was trying to figure out the instant connection I went on to google and ended up on Ben Folds Wikipedia page and realized that I had seen him in concert (opening for the Barenaked Ladies) two summers ago!!!! What?!?!  How is it possible that I'm just getting this music now?

I listen to several under-50 male pianist/singers (and back a few up!) all the time and how is it I missed this connection? Was it that I told myself that I just didn't have room for one more stereotypical white guy behind a piano who uses falsetto nicely? (Now that's a narrow category!)

Or was it that I just wasn't ready?

I suspect this is the case? 

I don't think it's a musical sophistication thing, not to say that his music isn't sophisticated, it certainly is, I think the 'being ready' piece is one of the great mysteries of life. Why is it that we completely don't resonate with something one year and then another we do?

I'm not sure but I can tell you this much: I'm thankful to have a new artist in my musical listening life!


Feeding and Feasting: The Bread of Life

Earlier this month I had the great opportunity to preach at Grace Avenue UMC! I tend to be a bit more informal in sermons but this just felt like the right way to go! Here's a link to the video of the sermon:



A Prayer for Charleston 

A prayer for Charleston


Dear God, Creator of all good things, our hearts broke again this week as we learned of the horrible violence emanating from a sacred space, the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina.


Our hearts are broken again and we are so aware, God, that your heart is broken by this as well. God you call us to be peacemakers, like your son, the one called the Prince of Peace.


God, we have failed in that calling. We have failed to be an obedient church. Many of us have lost the passion for justice that your prophets, including Jesus, have called us to proclaim. Others of us have felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to say something but have not found the courage to do so. We have all fallen short of your glory, God.


And yet, you call us back to you, you call us to prayer and to work. And so let us take the next few moments, in the silence of our hearts, to pray for the people of Charleston, and for the places we know in the world are riddled by violence every day.


Please pause for several long moments of silence.


God, help us to weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, and partner with you to see your dreams of a fully connected and whole creation come to pass. Help us to see your dream of a world where love rules supreme and where we recognize one another for who we truly are: beautiful beings, called beloved by you.


In the name of your precious son, Jesus, and guided by the Holy Spirit, let all of God’s children say, Amen.


Beat Week

If you haven't had a chance to check out "Beat Week" on npr's Morning Edition you are missing out! This week they are exploring different grooves and rhythm's from around the world with musical examples and interviews with the musician's themselvs. On Monday they explored the great funk sound of James Brown with his two most well-known drummers, yesterday they spoke with Neil Peart from Rush and today we got to hear how sounds from Santeria made it into Cuban music. Great stuff! What would we do without NPR?

Check it out here:

Beat Week, Episode 3