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Small Can be Great

One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is hearing from students down the road of life who, looking back, say they value what they received in the classroom. Having been blessed a few times this week that way, prompts me to think of my favorite teachers – the ones who had the most influence. I’ve had many good teachers, a few famous ones, that have benefited me very much. But, at the top of the list is someone you have never heard of – my fourth grade teacher, Miss McKenna. (I just learned yesterday that her first name was Florence. Children had no need for adult first names in those days of healthy subordination.) Miss McKenna’s fourth grade class…

The Cross

THE CROSS. by John Donne SINCE Christ embraced the cross itself, dare I His image, th’ image of His cross, deny? Would I have profit by the sacrifice, And dare the chosen altar to despise? It bore all other sins, but is it fit That it should bear the sin of scorning it? Who from the picture would avert his eye, How would he fly his pains, who there did die? From me no pulpit, nor misgrounded law, Nor scandal taken, shall this cross withdraw, It shall not, for it cannot; for the loss Of this cross were to me another cross. Better were worse, for no affliction, No cross is so extreme, as to have none. Who can blot…

Best Prayer

“Marry those loves, which in youth scattered be On fame, wit, hopes (false mistresses) to thee. Churches are best for prayer, that have least light: To see God only, I go out of sight: And to ‘scape stormy days, I choose an everlasting night.” (Donne)  

Blind Followers of Blind Guides

Commonly academics consider themselves too smart for the Gospel and despise the idea of blood atonement for sin against an offended God.  How things became so is tedious to tell, but the result is a blindness that cannot be helped among those who  think they see.  We remain responsible for who we follow.  “Let not mind be blinder by more light; nor faith by reason lose her sight.” (Donne)

Upside of Outside

Wendell Berry writes about “movers” and “stickers”. I’m a sticker. But there is another side — “Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.” (Psalm 55:19) Changes keep us pilgrim-minded, and focused on our ultimate dependencies. They remind us that, “we have here no continuing city…” (Hebrew 13:14)

Grand Juncture

The great questions of life — Who am I? Where did I come from? Is there meaning and purpose? Where is God in suffering? — all intersect and are resolved only in communion. Preaching, when it understands itself, is invitation and preparation for communion. Fruitful service, rather than the justification for communion, only arises from it. Whatever does not arise from faith, no matter how impressive to the world, is sin. Real friendship happens only in communion. Every ending points back to communion. Every communicant participates in the new future that God stands ever ready to give to those who look to him in trust. The Christian life is retailing every day what we lay up for ourselves in communion.