Tag Archives: children

A Mediocre Pastor’s Catechism

At the beginning of Lent, I invited the participants in our new member/baptism preparation groups to ask any question they had about church or faith, and I would try to answer them as best I could over the course of our meetings. I didn’t get to all of them in the six weeks we spend together, but a commitment is a commitment and I emailed the answers to everyone. It made for the kind of long, burdensome email I almost never write anymore. But they were big, important questions that, I realized, I often spend very little time answering.

Only a Suffering God

If God shows himself to us here, God can start to show himself to us anywhere. Through the cross, we see God in both the peaceful sunrise and the terrible storm. We can see God in both the beauty and the tragedy of childbirth. We can see God not only in the wonder we create, but in the suffering world. We can see God not only in our chattering world, but in the vast silence of the universe–filled with the same silence that answers Jesus on the cross.

Baptized and Anointed

And this sounds kind of strange to us today, perhaps. But for Luther, salvation was a human impossibility. Every road we could choose would take us away from God. You can ignore God and go from bad to worse, or you can try to please God and only learn pride, or become more painfully aware of your own failings. And it’s all hopeless, except that God makes the impossible, possible. God gives his Holy Spirit to me so that I may believe things that are beyond my own power to believe. So that I can come to a Jesus I cannot recognize on my own. And every little bit of faith I have is the gift of this Spirit. It’s not something I could have ever gone out and found for myself, however small it feels.

Transfiguration: Saving Face

How terribly great and mighty God’s glory is, greater and mightier than we can imagine!  How frail and small humanity is! How absurdly brief our life! God cannot help but love God’s creation. And we cannot help but love God, in some form or fashion. But we may never meet face to face in this life.

Unless…