Hope from Hood


05
Feb 2018
Matthew and Mark

I have just begun the book of Mark.  Whoah!!  The differences between the two gospels stand out immediately.  Have you noticed them as drastically this time, too? Here are a couple of my observations after re-reading the first chapter of Mark. Mark doesn’t have a birth narrative. Mark’s gospel assumes that we have already heard of Jesus.  He does not spend time building up Jesus’ credibility like the gospel of Matthew.   Mark doesn’t spend as much time on details…he gets straight to the point. Because Mark proclaims Jesus’ authority upfront, Jesus jumps......

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29
Jan 2018
You serve, you are great!

Technically, I am on day 19 on the reading plan (Matthew 22).  We are moving right along.  Just a few more days in the gospel of Matthew.  But today, I want to reflect on words from Matthew 20 that spoke loudly to me when I read it this time. In Matthew 20:20, Jesus is approached by the mother of James and John. She asks him to make a special spot on each side of him for her sons in his kingdom.  Jesus tells her that isn’t really his responsibility.  And then the......

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08
Jan 2018
Matthew: Jesus Fulfills

The journey has begun.  Admittedly a few days late, but I have made it through the first three chapters of Matthew.  This year certainly hasn’t started off as I had hoped, but that’s why I have you all on the journey with me…holding me accountable. During the first three chapters, Matthew spends a lot of time building Jesus’ credibility.  Matthew almost seems like a lawyer setting up all the reasons we should believe him. He spends the first 17 verses of his Gospel detailing Jesus’ lineage so we will be reminded of......

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13
Dec 2017
The Art of Waiting

I’ve been reading a wonderful Advent collection from the writings of one of my favorite German theologians Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And I want to share one of these devotions with you today. Many of us are experiencing some intense situations of waiting this Advent season – waiting on family to come home for the holidays, waiting through the journey of grief over the loss of a loved one, waiting on medical tests, waiting in hospitals, waiting for answers, waiting for strength and pace…and so much more. I found this piece encouraging within my......

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06
Dec 2017
White Gift Tradition

One of my favorite traditions while I was a student at Hollins University was the White Gift Service.  It was a worship service held in the University’s beautiful duPont chapel on one of the first Sundays in December.  As a member of the Hollins Chapel Choir, we prepared beautiful Advent and Christmas music for this occasion each year.  The service also included scripture, appropriate readings, candle lighting, bells from the carillon, stories, dance, and instrumental music from the large pipe organ, and solo performances from the music staff.   Many people in the......

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27
Nov 2017

One of the opening numbers of the Broadway musical Godspell is “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” . It is sung first by the character John the Baptist and then the rest of the cast joins in.  The spirited song quotes the words from John the Baptist’s sermon reminding folks that he is not the Holy One but indeed there is one more powerful than he that will come after him. One of the ways that the Church prepares for the coming of their Savior is by adorning their sanctuaries with......

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22
Nov 2017
Bless Your Heart (and I really mean that)

“Count your blessings” “A blessing in disguise” “Bless you” (after you have sneezed) “Bless your heart” These are just a few of the ways we use the word bless or blessing in our everyday conversations. I have a minister friend that served as a mentor to me in high school.  Jokingly, he shared a piece of advice with me one day that I will never forget.  He reminded me that in the south we have overused the phrase “Bless your heart” . We have sometimes gotten in a habit of saying it or sometimes we......

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15
Aug 2017
Prayer for the Peacemakers

This evening, as our family drove home from dinner, we were greeted in Angier by a beautiful pink sunset.  Something about the carefully crafted colors that were woven together and blushed by the fluffy clouds was comforting.  There was something in this sunset that spoke “Peace, be still.” I am a peacemaker.  And being a peacemaker is tough work.  I am reminded in these days following the Charlottesville conflict and after hearing about many brooding conflicts in our nation and around the world how important peacemaking is.  And…I have had conversations with......

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24
Jul 2017
The Beauty of a Sigh

A sigh is so easily misunderstood. By definition, to sigh is to “emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling.”   A lot can be wrapped up in a sigh.  I often let out sighs after moving a heavy piece of furniture, or laying my head down on pillow at the end of a tiring day, or when I try to communicate clearly to someone just to be misunderstood.  Literally, a sigh helps lighten the load…physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The Romans passage for this week says, for we......

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18
Jul 2017
Lord, You have come to the lakeshore

One of the hymns found in our Chalice Hymnal that is newer and not heard as frequently is titled in English “Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore”.  The text to this hymn was originally written in Spanish by Catholic priest, Cesareo Gabarain.  During his career, Gabarain served as a college chaplain, nursing home chaplain, and he served as a parish priest. Gabarain wrote this hymn based on the calling of the disciples in Luke 5.  As you listen to this hymn, you can imagine Peter putting down his nets and follow......

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