Of Skiffs & Galleons

Not all prayer requests carry the same weight.  There are everyday prayers, call them skiffs , and then there are rarely seen ones, like Spanish galleons that cross the oceans. The skiffs carry coal into the harbor almost daily.  The galleons remain out of sight, yet when they do come, appear low in the water,…

A Walk In The Garden

“Lord, if I could dig out of your dense and diverse beauty, just a small sample, a fragment like an artifact, I promise to use every ounce of it to lift eyes to heaven, so that some who see only black sky, could see a blue moon passing Orion, on its way to morning.”  The…

Michelle-A legacy

In the grainy photo I recognize her standing off to the side in a shaded corner of a hotel lobby. All around her students and staff prepare for an outreach event.  The occasion is the Urban Student Leader’s conference in New Orleans-post Hurricane Katrina.  It’s a perfect picture of Michelle, content to be silent and…

This Latent Force

“This latent force.” I read this phrase in a book talking about the meaning of prayer, written in 1915. It got me thinking…. What do we do while waiting in the ‘long until.’  In other words, what is the most natural thing we can do to spend our lives until we see Him face to…

The Deeper Root–How God uses Silence

In the winter of 2005 we were living in New York, in a house with good bones, but poor insulation. It was bitter cold in the attic that night. I knelt before a candle, under a blanket, and prayed against an urgency which pressed like gusts of wind against my contemplative desires. I agonized for…

The Little Girl With Generous Eyes

The little girl with generous eyes and small teeth set in a wide smile, drifted from one side of the parade to the other. She offered a small pamphlet to everyone watching the parade, an invitation to a pageant at the African Methodist congregation. Courageous young spirit, I thought to myself. The marching bands, floats…

The Last Turn

When I sat down I noticed that her eyelids were tightly drawn, lips moving, but with no sound. Her fingers caressed a string of beads, and her head was titled upward. I watched, rather rudely, but then relaxed. It dawned on me that I was invisible. This elegant silver haired lady found herself on a…

Dry Swallow Christians

“As the deer pants for the water brooks… ”Psalm 42, Son’s of Korah Panting. The dry swallow of an animal in search of water, tongue lolling in the mouth, perhaps running as it catches a scent of moisture, bounding through thicket, urged on by a desperate longing. An untamed instinct, pushing itself to find what…

Light to Dark Edges

I accepted Christ in the winter of 1979. That summer I worked for an Italian mason who swore a blue streak, and demanded relentless labor from his crew. The work didn’t bother me, but the environment of foul language and temptation had my new faith on the ropes. So, I called Mary Anne. A couple…

God Is Not An Answering Machine

One of Satan’s darkest schemes involves elevating prayer as the center beam of life, love and mission, but wrapping it in a veneer of duty. When prayer becomes less than love, it becomes just another discipline, or function, that gets in the way of our devotion, instead of enhancing it. Stop for a moment and…

A Beggar, and the beauty of Advent

I was standing in line for coffee, when to my left appeared a homeless man. His stench overwhelmed a normally aromatic space. People fidgeted, and he went straight to the counter, leaned in and spoke with the manager. I overheard him ask for a cup of coffee. The manager shook her head, and the beggar…

“He Sets A Table…”

In the immortal 23rd Psalm, David pens words that comfort believers, warm skeptics, and stop everyone who see’s beauty in poetic muscle. Did these strophes spill from his heart one night while he guarded his sheep? Did he hear the sound of an enemy to his flock, and stare down menacing red eyes in pitch…