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Easter IX

Tomorrow Pentecost begins. The birthday of the church! At my church we’ll wear red and celebrate the coming of the Spirit with wind and fire and bells. But right now it is the last day of Eastertide. On Good Friday, April 2, our family and some friends spent a good portion of the day putting in a quarter acre garden. The Great Flood of Nashville hit a month later May 1-3. We suffered very little damage to personal property. With the exception of the garden. It was under eight-to-ten feet of water for most of two days. And it was pretty well destroyed.

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Easter XIII

Healing Part III: Honest Music
I’ve found myself in the past couple of years in search of music that speaks to life. Really speaks to life.
So much popular music is mainly the girl meets boy (or boy meets girl) variety of sentimental or sensual romance. I’m not totally against this. It just has limits. I’m looking for the kind of lyrics and musical composition that goes deeper than feelings and hormones.

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Easter XI

Healing
Part II: Trees

One of this Sunday’s passages is Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21.

As one commentator summarized it: “The conclusion of Revelation has seemed to many interpreters to be a bit choppy, a barely-held-together conglomeration of leftover pieces, stumbling toward the close of the book.” I’ll say.

Earlier this week I heard a sermon which dealt with the morass of endings by focusing on one image from the text: the tree of life. Just that phrase took me like a hyperlink to one of the most healing images of my own life time . . . . the tree of life.

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Easter X

I’ve wanted to start a series on healing for several weeks now. But every time I get plans underway it seems something new crops up that needs healing . . . like discovering how many files are really unrecoverable from my defunct hard drive, or seeing our drowned garden, or finding myself living in a city experiencing its worst devastation since the Civil War.

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Easter IX

This week’s floods in Nashville, Tennessee have been overwhelming to many and devastating to others. So much has been lost . . . lives, homes, livelihoods. In comparison to the magnitude of losses that others have felt, my family has mostly been inconvenienced. Still I am struck by the sheer force of it all. Water has such incredible power for both good and tragedy. Reading this week’s lectionary texts, water is at every turn. You’ll hear echoes of those scriptures in this short poem . . .

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Easter VII

A Decade of practice: This year feels like a series of milestones in a way. Why do we think that 10 years makes a difference? Why not nine years? or 12 and 1/2? Nonetheless. It was during the last few months of 1999 when my full-time work in and for a congregation came to an end. And a new vocation, or really a revised longer-term vocation, began to take shape. I started graduate school in the fall of 2000 and began learning the practices of becoming a scholar. This is scholarship that I understand to be for the sake of the church.

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Easter VI

It has been 16 years since Costly Obedience was published by Judson Press. It was the first published collection of sermons by Southern Baptist women. Now comes a long overdue next incarnation of sermons by Baptist women across a much wider swath of Baptist life. It is important for lots of reasons. It includes sermons by more than 30 women on a wide variety of topics and texts. It lifts voices and delivers messages that need to be heard beyond the local congregations and events where they were first offered.

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