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Christmas II

Pastors don’t pray much it seems. They are busy. But they are not filling their time with prayer, meditation or personal devotion. At least a study that came out this week says this is the case. Seems to me that more than families are likely hurting if pastoral leaders are spending so little time attending to their own spiritual lives. But lest I sound too judgmental, I remember well the struggle to care for my own spiritual well-being while also attending to the spiritual well-being of those I served in the years when I was full-time on a church staff. Even when I was doing what I knew to do to care for my own soul, it was not always the most effective or spiritually nourishing thing I could be doing.

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Christmas I

Christmas has finally come and gone and the night is deepening around me. Silent but for the tapping of keys on my computer and the distant whine of a train whistle. A few cracks and pops say that my in-laws’ house is still settling in for a long winter’s nap. Family Christmas celebrations are complete. Scraps of wrapping paper litter the floor and the bare-bottom tree seems a little spent.

Christmastide, being one of the shortest seasons of the liturgical year, celebrates the revealing of God in the world, the inbreaking of a Living Word into the mundane and daily routines of our lives. But how does the season live on through the year? Or should it?

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Advent VIII

Unhinged and upended . . .

In my first Advent post I wrote about opening the little doors on an Advent calendar [link]. Today I’ve been thinking about a different set of doors.

It was 1993. (Don’t tell me, please, if you were in kindergarten that year.) I was just graduating from seminary. And I attended a worship service in Birmingham at the annual Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) meeting. Nancy Hastings Sehested was the preacher that day. The occasion was a ten-year anniversary of BWIM.

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Advent VI

Reshaping the body with prayer

As I lay face up on the table a few weeks ago, my massage therapist interrupted my reverie.

She said, “Do you know that your right leg is listing outward.”

“Nope, I had no idea really.” She was standing at my feet and gently adjusted my wayward right leg. “Now that you mention it . . . I notice what you are saying.” My left knee cap pointed straight toward the ceiling, but my right one was tilted outward.

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Advent V

On Thursday of this week I found myself stunned by beauty twice in an hour. Let me tell you about the first of those two moments. The evening before I’d been in something of a foul mood, feeling anger and disappointment, which can take their toll on a body. But the drive and conversation between St. Paul and Collegeville, Minnesota had tempered and mellowed me. I was open in mind and heart, relaxed in body, but I was unprepared for what lay ahead.

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