Monthly Archives: October 2015


It was a clear, beautiful day and I was at the helm of a 34 sailboat crossing the Chesapeake Bay.  Billowing clouds dotted the blue sky as we returned from a picnic spot.  The main sail was full, jib was out with a gentle heel and we clipped across the water, just moving through the shipping channel.  Everyone onboard was chatting or laughing or just basking in the daylight.

Suddenly, an enormous buoy blew past us on the starboard side, inches from boat’s side trim.  It was so close that one guy instinctively lifted his elbow out of the way because it would have caught if he hadn’t.  The owner of the boat was just coming up the steps from below and stood in the cabin doorway, blood-drained, open-mouthed, trying to breathe.  I ducked down as low as I could to look under the sail to see if there was anything else in our way.

Before that moment I thought I had a full view of the bay.  The sail blocked a portion of my view but, otherwise, I could see the wide horizon, the rest of the bay and closest tankers and other boats.  As I got down and looked I could see that the rest of the waterway was as clear as I expected.  The only thing that we could have hit was that buoy, just one of those that marked the shipping lane.  No one else was looking ahead.  They were just engaged with the company and the day.  If we had hit that shipping lane buoy at the speed we were moving, we would have destroyed the boat and sunk immediately.Buoy2

This is an image in my mind that depicts the guidance of culture for people who follow Jesus.  It can feel like we are taking in all that there is to see and that we’re moving with the best understanding, but we are missing the presence of the tools we were given for safe guidance.  We are focused on movement, momentum.  Because we live in a society that values efficacy higher than honesty, desire more than truth, we move with assurance becomes something is what we want.  More than even feeling like it is right, we are guided by what we want.

It is so hard for us to take a breath especially as politically correct rhetoric demands our allegiance and compliance.  Taking a breath reminds us physically of being filled with the Spirit spiritually.  As we seek oxygen for our body we seek truth for our souls.

Tonight the Elders of this church will decide whether to allow same-gender weddings in our sanctuary.  With that decision our culture will determine that we are either loving or hate-filled.  It won’t matter who we actually are, how we value people or whether we believe we are following Jesus.  That isn’t what matters to our culture.  What matters is that we move along with them.

May God bless us all,


sunriseHe sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Psalm 107:20

The word we translate “saving” can also mean “healing” and actually means that quite literally.  This changes my perspective on what Jesus was doing.  The word we translate as “gospel” can also mean “well-message,” and actually means that quite literally.  This changes my perspective on the story of Jesus.  If “gospel” actually comes from “God’s spell,” then the “well-message” of Jesus becomes God’s word of healing pronounced over us to bring us into health, wholeness.  Telling the story of Jesus is a powerful, healing activity that brings wellness to those who hear it.  This expands my understanding of “witness.”  I am not called to argue people into belief. I am called to say God’s spell into others’ lives and allow it to work its magic.  It becomes even more powerful and effective when it includes my story, the effect it had on me, when I heard it and also when it includes my prayer.

What if words actually had effect?  What if they created something as they were said?  Then, when I gave my word, I’d be making a lasting bond with someone.  I’d create an actual tie between me, this other person and the future.  Something would happen because I said it out loud.  It has physicality as if I created a thing, spoke it into my hands and it became real and then I handed it over to another person.  Giving my word becomes tangible, then.

Genesis, the Gospel of John… word becomes tangible.  It becomes touchable, knowable, dwells among us.

So, what do I now say to others?  What is the spell I pronounce over the world?  What if my words actually have tangible effect?  What if the words that come out of our mouths change brain chemistry in others?  What if they cause blood to flow or to slow?  What if they cause someone’s breath to quicken or their muscles to relax?  What if create an image in another’s imagination that makes their minds choose numbers, angles, heights, lines that will become pictures that will be construction?  What if our words created smiles or even laughter?

We sometimes lose sight of how close we are to creation, the powerful act of creating.  People who follow Jesus have this powerful spell that recreates the world and it works when we take the time to hear what has been damaged in another’s soul.  It has impact when we find the place where the damage has taken root and then apply the spell, God’s spell, that sinks into the earth of that soul and destroys that root.  We don’t have to worry about getting the words right.  We will be given the words.  We have to work on learning the place where the root has grown.  Then the creative word that has been given to us will come from us in the right way and our own healing will be extended to another.

That’s kind of mystical, eh?

Blessings and speak well,