Wednesday, December 9, 2015

All the Stories are about Us.

"The power of stories is that they are telling us that life adds up somehow, that life itself is like a story. 

And this grips and fascinates us because of the feeling it gives us that if there is any meaning in life -in Hamlet's, in Mary's, in Christ's- then there is meaning also in our lives.

And if this is true, it is of enormous significance in itself, and it makes us listen to the storyteller with great intensity because in this way all [the] stories are about us and because it is always possible that [the storyteller] may give us some clue as to what the meaning of our lives is." -Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat

Monday, November 16, 2015

We are not the people who believe

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

'See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.” 

And the one who was seated on the throne said, 
'See, I am making all things new.'”-Revelation 21:1-5 (NRSV)

"We are NOT the people who believe
that one day God will come back to earth
and take all the GOOD folks
and take them somewhere ELSE.

We believe what the BIBLE says:
that one day God WILL come back
and FINISH what God has started."
-Rev. Jon Middendorf, 11/8/15


Sunday, October 11, 2015

To Follow a Peace-Loving Savior

Some too-good-not-to-share fragment's from Pastor Jon's last sermon (delivered in the awful wake of three American school shootings in ten days):

"The idea of 'what terrible thing might come next' can jeopardize our mission and ministry We can be held hostage by fear...

Christianity has always struggled with empire. But we are called to struggle faithfully, and sometimes even to suffer well...

We believe that Jesus is the living embodiment of God. But that belief does not give us weapons to defeat other people; it gives us towels and basins with which to serve them...

To follow a peace-loving Savior with the weapons of violence is to misunderstand the one we call Savior...

Perfect love drives out fear. And we are not alone." -Rev. Jon Middendorf


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Once Again We Know

"The thirst for God is universal because we have been created with a longing for the Creator.

This desire to know and be known by the One who made us and loves us is often ignored, denied, and finally buried under a multitude of pursuits and interests.

But then some event in life invites us or forces us to pause, and the desire for God comes rushing back to our awareness.

And once again we know that real life is impossible without the companionship of the One who first gave us the gift of life and who sustains us even now.

We know for certain that we need living water; we need what only God can give if we are to really live."

-Reuben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wild Hopes

"Do you have any wild hopes,
or tame ones for that matter?

The possibility of acorns becoming towering oaks,
or caterpillars blossoming into butterflies.
or that dawn will chase away midnight fears?

"Wild hopes!

"That all humanity will learn the dance of joy,
and all humanity might taste the win of peace,
an that our loving God will become transparent through love.

"'Recast the earth, O Lord,
and move our hearts with wild hopes.'"

-Robert F. Mornea, Resurrection to Pentecost

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Love That is God

"Our questions and our questing are crucial, because they can help us live into the answer of the future. 

I am certain of one thing: the love that is God is at the heart of the answer, just as it is at the heart of each moment - past, present, and future...

We act in faith, knowing that we see only dimly. But living in faith, we act anyway, choosing and doing the best we can...

For God's grace embraces our questions as well as our answers and our blindness as well as our vision, just as the sun shines steadily through the night, waiting to illuminate the sky at dawn." 
-Jean M. Blomquist, Wrestling till Dawn

Monday, January 26, 2015

Joys and Hopes, Griefs and Anxieties.


“The joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of people of our time, particularly those who are poor or in any way afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of Christ’s followers. 

"Theirs is a community of people, people who, in union with Christ and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, move forward toward the Kingdom of the Father and carry the message of salvation intended for all. 

"For this reason this community knows that it is deeply united with humankind and its history.” -Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on theChurch in the Modern World

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Peace That Sings and Burns.

"Since the human soul is capable of receiving God alone, nothing less than God call fill it; 

which explains why lovers of earthly things are never satisfied. 

The peace known by lovers of Christ comes from their heart being fixed, in longing and in thought, in the love of God;

it is a peace that sings and loves and burns and contemplates." -Richard Rolle, The Fire of Love

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Great Mystery

"Religion has not tended to create seekers or searchers, has not tended to create honest, humble people who trust that God is always beyond them. 

We aren’t focused on the great mystery. 

Religion has, rather, tended to create people who think they have God in their pockets, people with quick, easy, glib answers. 

That’s why so much of the West is understandably abandoning religion. 

People know the great mystery cannot be that simple and facile. 

If the great mystery is indeed the Great Mystery, it will lead us into paradox, into darkness, into journeys that never cease...That is what prayer is about." -Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hearing the (whole) promise.


Full disclosure: I love Jeremiah 29:11, even though I'm fully aware of how often the passage gets taken out of its prophetic and historic context.

Here, then, is what I understand to be the encouraging, inspiring, entire promise of God to a beloved, exiled people (many of whom would not live to see their homeland again):

"This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 

"For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'

"'I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'”

In other words: God never stopped having a plan. 

God never stopped being trustworthy.

God never stopped loving God's people, and never stopped being present with them in their suffering. 

Indeed, God continued to work faithfully and lovingly in the lives of the people of Judah -and even their captors!- right up until the day of their final deliverance.