The 3 Ps

Psalm 4 – The 3rd Sunday of Easter – for April 19, 2015

“Answer me when I cry out, my righteous God! Set me free from my troubles.” (Psalm 4:1)

A few weeks ago my wife and I brought home a new puppy . . .
A few weeks ago my wife and I brought home a new puppy . . .

Set me free from my troubles!

It is the plea of the psalmist.

Psalm 4 is brief, eight verses, a liturgical dialog between a worship leader and congregation, and also an imagined conversation between Creator and creation.

Will the people be faithful?

Will the Lord hear?

Will the people cease sinning, and trust—again, please again—in God’s love?

God (the psalmist believed), wonders when the people will choose the everlasting and steadfast Holy love instead of going “after lies.”

Here we are in the season after Easter, but I’m avoiding the well-trod verses that follow the empty tomb. This week’s Psalm lesson appealed to me simply for respite from the Gospels. Now, in these days and scriptures after the resurrection, Jesus was roaming free, with each Gospel depicting unique moments where the reality of the risen Jesus, and the impossible love of God, was revealed . . . again and again. Continue reading →

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On Being Seen

Luke 24:13-35 – The 3rd Sunday of Easter – for Sunday, May 4, 2014

“Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him…” (Luke 24:31)

I stumbled through seminary in the midst of the 20th century, probably passing subjects like Ancient Greek and Old Testament Theology because of a professor’s pity on those of us brave enough or naïve enough (or both) to consider ministry. In seminary, I often (desperately) flipped through a book’s pages until discovering a quote to satisfy the low bar of my needs for a paper on the beatitudes or Paul’s notion of justification by faith. Alas, the 21st century of googling has elevated me into the depths of being a slacker. I’m a copy-and-paste dude, a cherry-pick-the-Bible-verse guy and a search-for-the-selective-facts fella that quickly (desperately) seeks something—anything, please—to bolster and boost my opinion.the-road-to-emmaus-daniel-bonnell

Have I lowered your opinion of me enough?

Even so, please join me on the road to Emmaus.

You know Emmaus, don’t you?

Of course you do. I assume many my blog’s treasured readers are primarily churchy, faithy and Christiany ministers. And those equally treasured readers that don’t professionally marry, bury and baptize are at least interested in the Bible. In religion. In God. In Jesus.

So I’m preaching to the proverbial choir when I ask if you know Emmaus. Luke’s author said the village was seven miles from Jerusalem, or—to hew closer to the ancient languages I (tried to) study in seminary—Emmaus was 60 or so stadia from the City of David. In Greek measurements, a stadion is 600 feet. 60 stadia would be equivalent to 6.8 miles and modern Biblical translations round that up to seven miles.

How long does it take you to walk seven miles? Continue reading →

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Glimpsing Danaus Plexippus

John 20:19-31  – The Second Sunday of Easter – for April 27, 2014

“But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them with Jesus came.” (John 20:24)

I rode my bicycle, all smiles and pedaling fast.

Then a butterfly attacked me!

I ducked . . . whew!

mexico-monarch-butterflies.jpeg-620x412However—since I’m a two-hundred pound guy, and was riding at twenty miles per hour, and wore a goofy-looking helmet—shouldn’t I instead say: I avoided smacking a butterfly?

After all, who’d have suffered more from impact: Chunky Larry or Madame Butterfly?

I’d been dashing along the bike trail, admiring the scenery, alert to other bicyclists and the occasional walker and mostly minding my own business. Then, whoosh! On the far left side of my peripheral vision a winged creature dipped into view. I ducked. All survived the near miss.

It was my second butterfly encounter within the week. A few days before, I’d been lounging in a lawn chair after finishing yard work. Just passing the time. Just enjoying a spring afternoon. And then, floating by the orange tree, I spotted a monarch butterfly. For a leisurely moment, the Danaus plexippus did what butterflies do so wondrously well. It flitted up and down, a splash of brash gold and black against the tree’s green backdrop. Unlike an anxious, frenetic hummingbird or a proverbial busy buzzing bee, the monarch took its time.

I watched, my mind wandering until the insect disappeared over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard. Continue reading →

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