Showing posts from 2019


Officiating Mary Hunt’s memorial yesterday was an honor. It’s always an honor to remember a life. When the person who has passed and is being remembered is so dearly loved, the work of the pastor is especially meaningful. Indeed, this part of the pastor’s work is a sacred privilege. It is humbling to serve as a kind of conduit for a community of loved ones, friends, and family, and their remembrance and honoring of a life that has passed. Do you the etymology – the root of the word – of pastor? Pastor is a Latin-based word meaning shepherd. The pastor in literal terms amounts to a shepherd of a church community. At the memorial, whether folks knew it or not, there were a couple examples of the work of shepherding. One common element of the memorial service is the pastor reading the 23 rd Psalm. Virtually every memorial I’ve officiated – and I’ve officiated a lot as a hospice chaplain and a parish minister – has included the reading of the 23 rd Psalm. And how does that Psalm

What Script Do You Want?

Who are you in the Christmas story? Who do you want to be? There’s that scene in the classic Christmas special, “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown,” where Charlie Brown, tasked with directing the school Christmas play, has Lucy hand out the scripts. Snoopy is cast as all the animals in the play, sheep, cow… penguin. That’s before teasing Lucy and finally giving her a doggie kiss. Lucy loses it, screaming for a disinfectant or iodine. There are a couple shepherds, including Linus who refuses to get rid of that stupid blanket, per Lucy’s demand, using it as a shepherd’s headscarf to protect himself from Lucy’s five reason knuckle wrath. “You wouldn’t hit an innocent shepherd, would you?” Anyway, if Lucy were to hand you out a part in the Christmas story, what part would you be? What part would you want? Maybe you’re Mary, the leading woman of the story. She is a complex character with so many emotions running in her throughout the story. From why me, O God? To how can I do this, O

Mary: Advent's Representative

A common phrase mentioned when discussing Advent is the phrase “expectant waiting.” It is an interesting phrase. It brings to mind two things that are good fodder for what I’d like to say in this Reflection.   The first thing that comes to mind, and maybe its influenced by the Christmas story itself, but I think about what it means to be a pregnant woman. Expectant waiting is indeed what pregnancy is all about, at least that’s what my wife and mother of our son tells me. In fact, in writing to our son about her experience of expectant waiting, she said this:    How were those nine months of pregnancy carrying you inside every moment of every day and night? They were the best of my life as I felt a gentle connection to God, to Source, to the universe. If you can imagine the beauty and serenity of a sunrise or sunset, that’s how I felt. Your dad and I felt such joy and anticipation in those months. Every day we talked to you and about you.   These could easily have been