Ex nihilo

Psalm 18:16-19 But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved! In Addiction & Grace, Gerald May writes about how we often substitute one addiction for another. We are compelled to fill our life’s emptiness: the void. When people are delivered from addiction, he writes, it’s because grace enables them to tolerate spaciousness, at least to some degree. Grace transforms the void in which we were dying, and we find ourselves in a wide-open field. A void and a wide-open field are both spacious, but in a very different sense. The void that meant loneliness is transformed into space that means freedom. […]

Read More

The painful bright

Romans 13:11 The hour has come for you to wake up. It is the first Sunday of Advent. We begin our vigil, waiting for the light. Sometimes I feel ambivalent about the coming of the light. When the light comes, justice will come; when justice comes, I might be found on the wrong side of the equation. In what ways do I oppress others with hardly a conscious thought? In what ways do I need to wake up to my own subtle ways of using and injuring others? Today I have a new thought about the coming of the light and another reason to feel ambivalent: Not all of us want to be in the light at all, and it’s not because we purchase clothes made in sweat shops, or whatever else I was alluding to in the paragraph above. Much closer to home, in our emotional lives and our […]

Read More

Waves of sand

Luke 13:10–17 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. I had a dream a few weeks ago that has already served me a few times as a touchstone. In the dream, a young man is in a desert, and waves of sand are sweeping over him as if they were water. He has to stay upright and pay attention so he won’t be smothered. What are my waves? …. the thought of an overwhelming problem in the world or in the life of someone I love …. an impulsive idea that seems to need my immediate attention …. a tangled situation that I don’t know how to solve ….. In her sermon yesterday, our vicar pointed out that the bent-over woman doesn’t ask […]

Read More