Friday, January 28, 2011


I belong to a church that baptizes believers by total immersion. This means that the hundred gallon tub must be filled with water.

I was serving a small congregation in Texas so as pastor I was the one who took care of getting the baptistery ready. One Saturday I was busy in the full baptistery removing the little six legged critters that had fallen in over night. My nine year old daughter entered the church with one of her friends who was visiting us. The girl was from a family of Episcopalians and was use to babies being christened.

My daughter was showing her around and led her up to the baptistery and told her that this was the place where I baptized people. The young friend was dumbfounded. She climbed up on the bench and looked in at all the water and said, “Do you just throw the babies in there?”

We are often confused by religious practices of religions other than our own and this can lead to gross misunderstandings. It can even lead to violence if we do not take the time to try to understand one another and be tolerant of our differences.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Anyone who has taken a long car trip with little children is accustom to four little words, “Are we there yet?” and cringe as they are uttered repeatedly. We look for ways to distract our children who get bored so easily. Long journeys are hard on all of us.

I can almost hear Sarah walking with Abraham from the city of Ur to the land God had said would be their new home saying “Are we there yet?” over and over. Abraham could not answer that question because he did not know. Perhaps he asked God that same question at the end of each days journey.

As we journey through our lives with God, we too may become tired and uncomfortable. We experience many difficulties and time of utter frustration. Sometimes life seems too hard and we ask God, “Are we there yet?”  Jesus taught that in this world we would have troubles and that we needed to remember our eternal destination. As we walk through this long journey we call our lives Jesus walks with us. He is with us all the way home.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Old Grey Beard

Yesterday I went to the health club to work out and swim. As I walked up to the door a young woman in her mid to late twenties was a step ahead of me and she opened the door a motioned for me to enter ahead of her. As one who usually opens the door for ladies I was surprised. As I entered I said “Thank you.” To which she replied, “You are welcome, Sir.”

I am not sure what to make of that. I guess it is age before beauty. The old grey beard is telling tales on me but then again I am retired and perhaps showing it. The delightful part of this is that we do have young people with a sense of courtesy and that gives me hope for the future.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In the Depths of the Sea

The prophet Micah wrote, “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

My first time out to sea on the USS Kearsarge, an aircraft carrier, I was overwhelmed by the vastness of it. This boy from west Texas had never seen that much water. I commented, “That is a lot of water!” The Chief Petty Officer standing next to me said, “And that is just the top of it.”

The prophet Micah invokes the image of an endless sea when he assures the guilt ridden people of Israel that God takes our confessed sins and they become like the great depths of the ocean – unseen and forgotten. In this thought I take great comfort.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Evil Loose in the World

As Christians we can never forget that there is great evil loose in this world. Even though slavery is not legal in most countries of the world, it still exists. There are still slave markets in the Sudan and on the internet world wide. I watched a CNN report about human trafficking of underage girls as well as women in the sex trade. Ad to that great poverty, wars, climate change and racism and you have a world of desperation.

We can not loose hope because we have Christ to strengthen us in our battle against evil in all its forms. We can not give up the spiritual fight to save others because we know the God who loves all of us calls us to save them. We are in a movement for wholeness and love in a fragmented hurting world. Each of us who are disciples of Jesus the Christ are called to do our part to save the world one soul at a time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Christian Unity

Today begins the “Week of Christian Unity” recognizing that though Christians are finding many expressions for our faith that we are all one in Jesus the Christ.  We are many congregations who do things differently but worshiping one Lord. We are praying in many languages around the world but all the prayers are directed to the One God of the universe.

First Corinthians 1: 10-17 gives us pause to consider that all this has been true since the time of the first century church because Paul had to give this message to the First Christian Church of Corinth. Let us hear the message that every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God is a Christian and one with me in Christ. We can together celebrate our unity and diversity.