• Faith Reflections

    Exhausted Educators

    Our educators are exhausted. Since day one of this two-year pandemic, these essential workers have been pivoting, doing their best to educate and care for OUR children against incredible odds and at risk of their own health. They rarely have planning periods any more due to the need to sub, yet they have more work to do. On any given day, they may have half of their students in-seat, half needing virtual instruction, and a smattering of kids who aren’t theirs but are farmed out to classrooms because their teacher is gone and there are no subs. Yet, they continue…

  • Faith Reflections

    A Long December

    The smell of hospitals in winter And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls All at once you look across a crowded room To see the way that light attaches to a girl Counting Crows, “A Long December” Pandemic surges, winter blues, employment stress, family strain, Bob & Betty. I don’t know how many empty oysters are laying around you in this season, but I imagine there are a few. It is easy to think there are no pearls to be found. In church world, we’ve just began the season of Epiphany on January 6.…

  • Faith Reflections

    A Season for Everything

    The cool autumn weather ushers in one of my least favorite gardening tasks – preparing the garden beds for winter. The stems may still be adorned in green, but their vines are empty. The first freeze is just around the corner, waiting to steal what life is left under cover of the cold night. It is disheartening to pull up what was planted in hope, to declare dead that which has produced good in my life. But there is a season for everything, whether I accept it or not. And the invitation of this season is to meet God in…

  • Faith Reflections

    Carrying Our Burdens Together

    Recently, I helped my best friend and family move to their new home. Trip after trip, we loaded vehicles, then drove two blocks to unload their multiplying possessions into their new home. Two blocks. Innumerable trips. Countless stairs. Also innumerable were expressions of “Thank You” and “We owe you” nearly every time I passed by with loaded arms. I would respond with a smile and reminder, “This is what family does!” Then, I’d snatch a cookie and grab another load. I understood. My posture is similar when others want to help me. I feel needy and a burden. Love means not…

  • Faith Reflections

    Markers of Hope

    I love to light a candle most evenings as I turn down the covers on the day. The dance of the flame and the scent of the candle are magical to me. Sometimes I voice a few words in the quiet of my home, welcoming the invitation to release the day and rest in the moment. Please don’t think I sit in silence and meditate the night away in a state of zen. Sometimes music is blaring, dinner is cooking, or Netflix is streaming. But the candle seems to ground it all in some mysterious way. I sometimes light them…

  • Faith Reflections

    Small Things

    There have been waves of really hard things recently for people dear to me. Grief and loss. Pain and betrayal. Poignant life transitions and bittersweet anniversaries. There have been waves of really hard things for global communities like Haiti and Afghanistan living with unimaginable suffering and uncertainty. I often feel incredibly small in comparison to the big hurts in our world, immobilized by the weight of it all. In God’s kindness, the Spirit reminds me in those moments what God can do with small things. A kid’s lunchable. A widow’s two coins. Zacchaeus. When I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of…

  • Faith Reflections

    A Pastor’s Plea for Vaccination

    “Our forecasting model shows we should expect to continue seeing increased admissions over the next six to eight weeks,” Royston said. “We receive calls daily from other cities, (including the Springfield area) and other states looking to transfer patients due to capacity issues. We have been unable to accept any of these transfers due to our hospital already being at capacity.” Jessica Royston, ┬áRegional Manager of Marketing and Communications, SSM Health, Jefferson City, Mo I am deeply grateful for the vaccine made free to everyone. I, my family, dear friends, and many church members have completed their vaccination process without…

  • Faith Reflections

    Road Runner: Thoughts on Bourdain

    Last night, I saw the film, “Road Runner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain”. I was a big fan of Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown, and enjoyed his best-selling book, “Kitchen Confidential.” Anthony invited the world to the table, believing you learn a lot about each other when you share a meal. I savored the conversation, community, and discomfort Bourdain cooked up for us each episode. Bourdain was a complex guy. He was loved, and he was hated. He was compassionate, and he was rude. He lived larged and yearned to be small. He craved the good, and he sought the bad.…

  • Faith Reflections

    What Strong People Do

    How telling the satisfaction we derive from carrying all the bags in one load from car to kitchen. Crooks of arms branded by momentary blood loss. Screaming muscles hushed by the pride of a few extra steps and minutes saved. Saved from what? Who knows. That isn’t the point, dear friend. The point is strong people carry all the bags in one load. But maybe they don’t. Bags or burdens, our approach is the same. We’re weighed down with personal pain, work strain, family needs, relational brokenness, ailing bodies, and fear fatigue – trying to carry it all in one…

  • Faith Reflections

    In the Artisan’s Hands

    If you are from Missouri, you are familiar with Silver Dollar City, an amusement park in the city of Branson. It was a regular summer destination for my family. Shows, rides, taffy, funnel cake, ginormous cinnamon rolls. Clearly the food is a favorite. I especially love the demonstrating craftsmen, mesmerizing onlookers as they carve wood, beat metal, pull taffy, and blow glass into delicate works of art right before your eyes. The glass blowing truly captivates me as I watch them hold the glass over the intense heat, twisting, turning, blowing, pulling, and pinching with their large metal tongs and…