Religion

Prayer for Graceful Words

Prayer to See What Could Be

Making Beautiful Things

Yesterday’s worship at NorthHaven Church was planned and led by Autumn Lockett, Josh Lockett, and Chris Canary. I was particularly struck by the words of one of the songs: “You make beautiful things out of the dust… You make beautiful things out of us.” Those words were exemplified later when the members of the congregation gathered to each put fingerprint leaves on Josh Lockett’s sketch of a tree, fingerprints from the young and the old, from those who have been in the community for years, and from those who have been there for only months.

Pentecost Prayer

A prayer for tomorrow’s sermon at Spring Creek Baptist Church: God of life, Sometimes our prayers are as parched as the desert and our hearts as dry as the dunes of sand. We take offense at things that don’t matter, but ignore the ones that do. When others are hungry, we are full. When others are hurting, we are numb. When others are cold, we rest comfortably beneath warm blankets of apathy.

Prayer for Finals Week

It is finals week here at Oklahoma Baptist University. Here is a prayer for students: Dear students, May God calm your anxieties, refresh your minds, and honor the faithfulness you have shown this semester. Remember that God has gifted you more than you can imagine, and you are capable of more than you’ve ever dreamed. May the great wisdom of the Father, the incomparable love of the Son, and the mighty power of the Spirit

Thoughts on Trump and the Johnson Amendment

Some thoughts on President Trump’s Executive Order on “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” that was recently issued: First of all, the President’s executive order doesn’t change anything about religious leaders engaging in political action from the pulpit. This is from section 2, the relevant part of the order: The Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective, where speech of similar character has, consistent with law, not ordinarily been treated as participation or intervention in a political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office by the Department of the Treasury.

Prayer for Easter

(Photograph: Weeping Mary by Martin Gommel)1 “Who is it you are looking for?” is a question for me, not just for Mary. Mary looked at Jesus, and saw the gardener. I look at my neighbor, and see a stranger; a stranger, an see an antagonist; an antagonist, and see an enemy. Help me, Lord, to see you, wherever, and whoever, you are. Amen Weeping Mary, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

Prayer for Holy Saturday

Prayer for Good Friday

(Mosaic: Carrying the Cross of Christ by Gabriel Loire)1 It is a sign that we cannot really understand what it means for God to die, that we remember this day when truth and beauty hung upon a cross and we call it good. What our minds cannot comprehend, our words cannot express. So, we can do nothing but stand in silence before the glory and the horror of the cross.

Thoughts on Maundy Thursday

This day of the church calendar, Maundy Thursday, gets its name from John 13:34, which, in the Latin Vulgate, begins with “mandatum novum” — a new commandment. After washing the feet of the disciples earlier in chapter 13, Jesus told them, I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.