Rector’s Reflection 6.10

Beloved St. John’s community, In today’s daily office reading from 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul talks about having had both incredible visions and experiences of God, and also great struggles, what he calls a “thorn in the flesh”—some kind of chronic issue that tormented him, from which he begged God for relief. He describes[…]

Rector’s Reflection 6.3

Beloved St. John’s community, After church Sunday I drove north to Ely to spend a wonderful 36 hours of rest and rejuvenation in the breathtaking beauty that is the northern woods. While I was there, I did a brief tour of Sigurd Olson’s cabin on the shore of Burntside Lake where he came to rest[…]

Rector’s Reflection 5.27

Beloved St. John’s community, Since the beginning of his time as our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry has called the Episcopal Church to simply follow Jesus’ Way of Love. We can do that through seven simple practices: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go and rest. Each one of these practices, alone, is not sustainable. But all[…]

Rector’s Reflection 5.20

Beloved St. John’s community, Some of you may be familiar with Sufism, which some would call the mystical branch of Islam. Some of my favorite poets are Sufis: Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir. They were medieval Muslims whose hearts were exploded open, who saw love everywhere they went. One of them wrote this poem, entitled “What Should[…]

Rector’s Reflection 5.13

Beloved St. John’s community, Years ago when I was in college, I was lucky enough to spend four months in the Middle East studying the Arab-Israeli conflict. During part of that time, a group of us spent a few weeks on an Israeli kibbutz within sight of the Dead Sea, in the vast heat of[…]

Rector’s Reflection 5.6

Beloved St. John’s community, If you were to distill a primary message you got from church about who you are, what would it be? Now, I’m not just talking about what you were literally told – though that for sure is important.  I’m talking about the millions of unspoken implications from what we do and[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.29

Beloved St. John’s community, Words on a page can’t always delve more deeply than the mental surface of things. But poems and imagination and the living words of the Holy Spirit can, sometimes. I hope you will read what I have written, below, in the spirit of the latter, and not the former. God bless[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.22

Beloved St. John’s community, Today is Earth Day, the day we celebrate with awe and humility the breathtaking beauty of the natural world.  It’s two days after Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty, on all counts, of the murder of George Floyd—the first time a white police officer has ever been convicted of killing a[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.15

Beloved St. John’s community, Throughout the city and the nation, leaders and companies and groups of every kind have been speaking out this week to decry and lament and protest the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, precious child of God, at the hands of the police. When I saw the news on Monday morning I[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.8

Beloved St. John’s community, Happy Easter! It was so beautiful to see so many of you in person last Sunday – carefully, socially distanced, and celebrating with all our might that Easter always follows Lent. Spring always follows winter, and one day, this pandemic will be over. Each day, the sprouts of Beloved Community are[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.1

Beloved St. John’s community, Today is Maundy Thursday—the first of the great three days before Easter. This is the time of descent with Jesus into his last supper with his disciples, his betrayal, time in Gethsemane, arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Since we all know the end of the story, it might be tempting to skip[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.25

Beloved St. John’s community, Lent is drawing to a close. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, which inaugurates what we call Holy Week—the week when we journey through the whiplash of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when so many lauded and welcomed him, to the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday four days later, and then[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.18

Beloved St. John’s community, According to people who know how to measure these things, this year the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere will occur at 2:37am on Saturday March 20 – two days from now! As of that time, there will be more light than dark each day. Because of that sunlight, the earth[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.11

Beloved St. John’s community, The world is watching Minneapolis as Derek Chauvin’s trial begins this week. This trial seems to have become a referendum on the state of systemic racism in our country. Will anything like justice prevail? There is much that is at stake. There is the critical question of whether our country can[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.4

Beloved St. John’s community, What place do anger and rage have, if any, in Jesus’ Way of Love? I’m asking because this coming Sunday’s gospel reading is about Jesus making a whip and driving the animals out of the Temple, and overturning the moneychangers’ tables, in what surely does look like a display of anger—even[…]

Rector’s Reflection 2.25

Beloved St. John’s community, It’s almost impossible to believe, but we have been in this pandemic for nearly one full year now. All initial imagination of what this would be, how long it would last, and what the impact would be have long since been shattered. It’s as if we are running an ultramarathon, in[…]

Rector’s Reflection 2.18

Beloved St. John’s community, We have now entered into Lent, that yearly season of the church year in which we take a courageous look at our lives, to see what might need adjusting. It’s a spiritual spring cleaning, if you will, or a church-wide fourth step (for those of you who are familiar with twelve[…]

Rector’s Reflection 2.11

Beloved St. John’s community, As you know, “rest” is a spiritual practice—not just any practice, but one of the seven pillars of Christian faith and tradition. Even God had to rest after six days of creating the world! Since I’m away for ten days to tend to family medical needs, I’m taking this week as[…]

Rector’s Reflection 2.4

Beloved St. John’s community, This past weekend we had our annual clergy conference. Its theme was “praying in the dark.” Believe it or not, even clergy often feel as if they don’t  have time to pray. Prayer can become a part of one’s “job” instead of a deep part of one’s inner life. But As[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.28

Beloved St. John’s community, Have you ever noticed that people tend to live up to your expectations – whatever they are? Have you ever noticed that your own words, behavior and even demeanor can subtly change based on whom you are with how you perceive them to see you? The gospels tell us that Jesus[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.21

Beloved St. John’s community, There is much that is confusing in this world, much that is nuanced, much that one cannot say for certain: this is how things are and there is no other way. Yet there are a few things that are sure. One of them is this: things can change. Another is this:[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.14

Beloved St. John’s community, About the only thing most Americans agree about is that the January 6 violent events at the Capitol were outrageous and horrifying. What should be done about them remains a subject of debate among members of our Congress and political parties and electorate. Who the Church is called to be in[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.7

Beloved St. John’s community, Yesterday was the Epiphany, one of the seven great feasts of the church year alongside Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, in which we celebrate the light of Christ that both shines in the darkness and also illuminates how we perceive everything that exists. Yesterday was also a terrible day in the life[…]

Rector’s Reflection 12.31

Beloved St. John’s community, The year 2020 is finally drawing to a close. During this week, I am taking some much-needed vacation time (it’s a staycation with my lovely family, Jeff and Carly)—in fact, I’m engaging the spiritual practice “rest”! I encourage all of you to find rhythms of rest, also, that honor what God[…]

Rector’s Reflection 12.17

Beloved St. John’s community, Our staff meets every week, even during the pandemic over zoom, to connect with each other, pray, listen to God and each other, and support each other. During this meeting we always do a practice called “Gospel Based Discipleship” – which is an imaginative way to listen to scripture and share[…]

Rector’s Reflection 12.10

Beloved St. John’s community, With Advent, the Church’s new year, we launched two new small groups: (1) Spiritual Bootcamp in the Wilderness; and (2) Sacred Ground, a film-based dialogue series inviting transformational conversations about race and faith. During both of these groups, we are doing the deep work of metanoia – traditionally translated “repentance,” which[…]

Rector’s Reflection 12.3

Now to the one who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21 Beloved St. John’s community, Many of you are[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.26

Beloved St. John’s community, On this Thanksgiving Day, which is unlike any other most of us have experienced in our lifetimes, what is the root of true gratitude? In the end, gratitude is experiencing people, blessings, life itself—as a gift. Not as something owed to you, to which you are entitled, or the way things[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.19

Beloved St. John’s community, When we were teenagers, my brother and I sometimes accused my mom of giving us “guilt trips.” And she would always say: “If the guilt fits, wear it.” The guilt probably did fit! But still, she never convinced us from the heart to change our behavior in this way. In the[…]

Thanksgiving Baskets 2020

This year the St. Johns/Urban Homeworks Thanksgiving Basket event is like everything else in 2020 – digital. Like many other traditions this year, the selection of just the right family and then generously overfilling a festively decorated laundry basket with household supplies will take a pause. For everyone’s safety, UHW has launched the Urban Homeworks[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.12

Beloved St. John’s community, Most of you know that I live in an interfaith household. My husband Jeff was born, baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church, but never felt connected to Christian culture, theology or practice, so he left the church and eventually adopted traditional yoga as his spiritual path. He now experiences much[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.5

Beloved St. John’s community, As I write this on Thursday morning, the election is close, but not certain, and could still go either way. Perhaps by the time you read this this afternoon, things will have shifted again. While we are waiting, what is it that God’s Spirit is whispering to us even now? What[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.29

Beloved St. John’s community, In these very challenging times, on the eve of the national election, I have said I believe with all my heart that we are called to “throw ourselves into the arms of God.” We cannot become people of healing for the world unless we ourselves are healed. There is tremendous hope[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.22

Beloved St. John’s community, As our nation approaches the national election in less than two weeks, we are living through times that may be looked back upon as truly significant in history. In the middle of these momentous times, as you read this, you may be standing in line at the grocery store checking email[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.15

Beloved St. John’s community, Sunday, October 18 is the Feast of St. Luke, the healer. St. Luke is said to have written the Gospel of Luke, in which Jesus states his mission is “to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.8

Beloved St. John’s community, This past Sunday was such an incredibly beautiful, moving, and meaningful time together at Beard’s Plaisance! One hundred and twenty-five people came to celebrate Holy Eucharist and four baptisms. We took many, many extra precautions to minimize risk, the most important of which were that everyone wore masks at all times,[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.1

Beloved St. John’s community, My parents grew up very poor. Both of my grandfathers were preachers. At one point my mother’s family was living in a small town in New Mexico, quite literally in an adobe home with no running water or electricity. When my mother went to college she did not have enough money[…]

Rector’s Reflection 9.24

Beloved St. John’s community, It’s hard to know what metaphor to use about where we are at these days. Are we at a crossroads, or just plain bushwacking in the wilderness without a map? Are we in a temporary hiatus until things can “get back to normal,” or are we experiencing the first months in[…]

Rector’s Reflection 9.17

Beloved St. John’s community, Amid the noise in our internal and external worlds, it is sometimes helpful to step back and really ask ourselves, why are we here? Stripped of everything else, what is the one thing the church does that no one else does? There are so many good things that can be done[…]

Rector’s Reflection 9.10

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with[…]

Rector’s Reflection 9.3

Beloved St. John’s community, Recently I had an interaction with a relative that was a profound learning experience for me. This relative and I profoundly disagree about many things – politics, racism, Black Lives Matter. He and I and a number of others got into a conversation about these things that quickly got heated. Afterward,[…]

Rector’s Reflection 8.27

Beloved St. John’s community, As you read this, I will be at the tail end of a sabbath time with my family in the north woods. I am writing this before I leave, so this is anticipatory: imagining where St. John’s will be in ten days or so. Ten days isn’t normally a lot of[…]

Rector’s Reflection 8.20

Dwelling in the Word, Dwelling in the World Beloved St. John’s community, As the wheel of the year turns from summer to fall, we are used to a certain rhythm: school starts up for families with children & youth; the adult forum and choirs begin again at church; we would traditionally go back to the[…]

Rector’s Reflection 8.13

100 Days of Prayer Beloved St. John’s community, What does it mean to be a Christian? That name has been used in such powerfully different ways by such a vast array of people across time and space, including within our own country in 2020, that it can be hard to answer that question. Being a[…]

Rector’s Reflection 8.6

Beloved St. John’s community, I am sitting in my living room, with my laptop on my lap, looking through the windows at the ash tree in my backyard that has ropes, ladders, swings, and hammocks hanging from its branches (well, the hammocks are normally there but we took them down before the latest rain). It’s[…]

Rector’s Reflection 7.30

Beloved St. John’s community, Last night we held the last Wednesday night discussion of our “Six Week Introduction to a Lifelong Journey: Dismantling Racism through Jesus’ Way of Love.”  (Incidentally, whether or not you participated in this journey, I’d be extremely grateful if you would take the time to provide your feedback about it using this[…]