About Adam

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Adam has created 237 blog entries.

No Branch Lost

The legend of Lazarus teaches a unique lesson about resurrection in the Gospel of John.

2023-03-26T10:30:04-05:00March 26, 2023|0 Comments


Here’s the sermon that went with my new hymn about rest.

2023-03-19T12:42:34-05:00March 19, 2023|0 Comments


Hello, Merry Mystics!

I’ve been participating in an online Lenten retreat at the Abbey of the Arts. This week, there was a beautiful song called “You Can Rest Now” by Trish Bruxvoort Colligan, with a lovely interpretive dance by Betsey Beckman (from her “Monk in the World” series). It got me thinking about rest.

Now, maybe I shouldn’t be writing to you about this subject, because when it comes to rest, I suck. I usually take Mondays away from my job at the church, but I have a long to-do list at home. On Monday last week, however, the first thing on the list was going to Peoria to see a specialist about the arthritis in my hands. He gave me some injections, which made my hands feel even worse, temporarily: tender and achy. So when I got home, I thought, “Well, I should train—but I can’t, because of my hands. I should lift weights—but I can’t, because of my hands. I should practice the piano—but I can’t, because of my hands. I should fix the hot-water intake on the washing machine—but I can’t, because of my hands. I should do some writing—but I can’t, because of my hands.” Finally, I just got myself a glass of port, and sat in a chair, and read a fun book. The cat came and sat in my lap, and I petted her, gently. And that was the rest of my day.

Now I’m ashamed to tell you that story—ashamed to admit that I needed to be temporarily disabled in order to justify really resting for half a day. But: do as I say, not as I do! Don’t be like me—and if you’ll do that, I try not to be so much like me either. To help me turn over a new leaf, I wrote this hymn about rest, sending myself the message I need to hear.


I claim this calm and quiet space
    and snuggle, sure in your embrace,
    beneath your warming sun.
In gratitude I let me rest,
    as you did on the day you blessed,
    when all your work was done.

It’s not because I’ve earned a break
    by all the rest I never take,
    or all that I achieve.
It’s just a gift God gives to me,
    which I must never claim to be
    too busy to receive.

God loves us when we run our race,
    and make the world a better place,
    and triumph in the test.
But love can never be reduced
    to things achieved or goods produced:
    God loves the soul at rest.

Like bee beneath the cowslip’s bell,
    like otter on the ocean’s swell,
    like robin in the nest,
like baby taking peaceful nap,
    like cat asleep in sunny lap,
    I too may take my rest.

As always, sheet music for this hymn is available in our Free Stuff area.

Restful blessings!

2023-03-17T13:13:01-05:00March 17, 2023|2 Comments

Worry Boundaries

Worry can be our friend—but all healthy friendships need healthy boundaries.

2023-03-12T10:27:43-05:00March 12, 2023|0 Comments


Fasting from multitasking can give us a chance to remember how useful and joyful focused attention can be.

2023-03-05T10:00:24-06:00March 5, 2023|0 Comments


Fasting lives in the shadowy borderland between enlightenment and insanity. Here’s a look at both sides.

2023-02-26T12:20:07-06:00February 26, 2023|0 Comments


In the Gospel stories of the Transfiguration, Jesus shines like the sun. Maybe you can too!

2023-02-19T09:41:10-06:00February 19, 2023|0 Comments

Transfiguration Shows the Flame

Before I became a pastor, Transfiguration Sunday always used to bother me. I didn’t like the way the transfiguration story (Mark 9:2-8, Matthew 17:1-8, and Luke 9:28-36) was treated in church. The churches I attended were always progressive churches, more or less, so the preacher never explicitly insisted that this story is historically accurate. But they engaged with it as if it might well be a factual account.

That’s sensibly politic, in a church environment where at least some of your congregation will be offended if you refer to this or any other passage of scripture as a “legend.” But sensibly politic, in this case, is just weasely and dishonest. The events in the transfiguration story are highly supernatural. They strain credulity, and there is no confirmation from credible witnesses. The sequence of events doesn’t seem to fit particularly well with the rest of the gospel stories—for example, the disciples go on to behave just as cluelessly about Jesus after witnessing this event as they did before. And if the police interrogated these texts, they would be particularly suspicious that Peter, James, and John didn’t tell anyone about these events at the time. The police would guess that this story was invented later—after Jesus was executed, apparently—and you know what the police think of witnesses who change their story.

I would say that this story is obviously more legend than history. We shouldn’t try to read it as an accurate journalistic account of an event in Jesus’ life. Instead, we should read it as a story that our faith ancestors told and retold, polishing it up until it shone, because it captured something important they believed about Jesus. Taken that way, it works for me too. It captures something I believe about Jesus—and about all of us, his fellow children of God.

Transfiguration Shows the Flame

Each life we live will leave a trace
of human grief on human face.
In Jesus’ face we trace those lines,
and yet his graceful spirit shines.

The sound is cold, confused, uncouth,
when human voice speaks human truth.
In Jesus’ human, warming word
the voice of God is also heard.

Our human hands may curse or bless,
attack, defend, assault, caress.
But Jesus’ work-hard hands embrace
with holy love our human race.

Transfiguration shows the flame
of God within the human frame.
As Jesus did, now help us too,
O Light Divine, to shine with you.

I’ve set this to the tune of Conditor Alme, which is an ancient church melody (Sarum plainsong, mode IV). Here’s my friend Ron McCutchan singing it.

As always, sheet music is available in our Free Stuff area.

2023-02-16T12:15:49-06:00February 16, 2023|3 Comments

Beyond Cases

Jesus’ use of the “case parody” reminds us that we have to do more than just follow the rules.

2023-02-12T11:53:38-06:00February 12, 2023|0 Comments

This Is the Way

Maybe we should learn from the Mandalorians, and remind ourselves frequently: this is the way.

2023-02-05T12:12:28-06:00February 5, 2023|0 Comments
Go to Top