The Aunt Asked a Question

Acts 8:26-40 – The 5th Sunday of Easter – for May 3, 2015

“Starting with that passage, Philip proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him . . .” (Acts 8:35)

Aelbert Cuyp: The Baptism of the Eunuch Holland (c. 1653)
Aelbert Cuyp: The Baptism of the Eunuch
Holland (c. 1653)

I am a United Methodist pastor.

I’ve done babies, lots of babies.

But I haven’t done any eunuchs.

Or should I more truthfully admit I’ve never knowingly baptized a eunuch? In a ministry spanning chunks of five decades, where I’ve served in a hodgepodge of rural and urban churches, along with campus ministry and hospice settings, maybe a eunuch has stood beside me while I intoned the ceremonial words of Holy Baptism and blessed his head with dribbles of water.

In the name of Creator, and Christ, and the Spirit, I baptize you . . . Continue reading →

The Verbs of Lent: 1

Mark 1:9-15The First Sunday of Lent – February 22, 2015

“. . . Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him.” (Mark 1:10)

Baptism-with-ChristJesus saw heaven splitting open . . .

Before the split, there was a flowing river and John the Baptizer.

After the spilt, perhaps split seconds later, heaven was revealed and the dove descended.

In this English translation of Mark’s Gospel, in the grammar of a sentence, splitting is a present participle verbal. It is an action word transformed into an adjective. But verb enough it is.

Heaven splitting open . . . Continue reading →

In You I Find Happiness

Mark 4:1-11 – Baptism of the Lord, First Sunday after Epiphany – for January 11, 2015

“John was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts . . .” (Mark 1:4)

With a wild heart, a child scampers from puddle to puddle . . .
With a wild heart, a child scampers from puddle to puddle . . .

In the wilderness, clouds bunch on the horizon like gray fists. Within moments a bright day becomes gloomy. Darkness for day, wind rustling trees, temperature plunging, and then . . .

The first rain falls and creation begins again.

Along the wild coast, fog smothers a desolate beach, a moist wall of white. Swirling and still, it blurs the land and sea, the seen and imagined. Flecks of moisture cling to skin, and then . . .

A shard of sun turns drops of water into diamonds.

With a wild heart, a child scampers from puddle to puddle, a parent’s warning to stay dry long forgotten. A splash here; a splash there. There’s a leap from one miniature lake to another. Failure is so much fun as the pants legs are soaked to the knee, and then . . .

There’s a yelp of joy and a dance of delight.

Into the wild yard, you venture, lured by ancient fears and fascination. Though it’s safer to stay where there’s central heat and insulated walls, why not explore the back yard during the worst of the storm? Rain pours, leaves shiver, the garden floods, the lawn transforms into momentary swamp, and you think . . .

Why did I ever think I was in control? Continue reading →