A Pandemic Friendly Ash-Wednesday Service

I will first offer a few things up front: if you are looking for creative ways to impose ashes for your Ash Wednesday service here—none will be offered. If you are looking for ways to possibly recreate this ritual in person outdoors—those won’t be offered either. I am of the strong persuasion that this service with its imposition of ashes, is not safe in person—especially the ritual itself, which brings the “imposer” and the “imposeé” in close proximity to each other, thus increasing chances for the transmission of the Sars-CoV-2 virus.  Here is a statement from the Ecumenical Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacramental Practices team about Ash Wednesday in 2021. Here is another from a well known expert in worship practice, Dr. Marcia McFee, PhD who also provides a lot of other ideas and even her own scripted service that is a part of her “Fully-Scripted” Lenten worship series, “Holy Vessels.” That being said, I do want to offer something that I believe can be useful to you in y

An Ash Wednesday Call to Worship

At this starting point of our Lenten journey, God we are here. hurting from wounds inflicted and self-inflicted. God we are convicted, needing to confess the wounds we have and the harm we have done. God we are fearful, fearful of death and death-dealing violence. God we are hopeful, assured of our redemption in you. God we are ready, ready for peace.   Amen.

Relinquishing Control: Alternatives to Livestreamed Worship During a Pandemic

For those of us used to observing trends and practices of the church,  the past few days have been a spectacle of church adaptation and willingness to accept change.  The ways churches have turned seemingly on a dime to utilize technology and engage the worshipping community has been miraculous and inspiring to behold. From creative expressions of worship optimized for live-streaming, to unique ways to be in ministry with children, to new means in which to gather together using video conferencing—churches have been forcefully shoved, willingly or not, into the twenty-first century. I am a United Methodist Deacon who is currently serving as a Lead Pastor of a church in Colorado with a degree in Sacred Music. I think a LOT about worship, especially the music and singing within it. And that thinking and training is what led me to make the decision not to livestream a simulation of our worship service onto Facebook Live or Youtube.  I am going to confess a bias of mine— I don’t

A Christmas Sermon: Being Egypt

This Sermon was preached on the twelfth and last day of Christmas. Christmas is incomplete for me unless I have an opportunity to reflect upon the story of the Christ child as a refugee. It has been a very long time since I have updated my blog, but below is a sermon I preached on Matthew chapter 2 where Jesus' family fled from Herod's violence. It acknowledges the "church refugee" crisis my United Methodist Church has also created in its decades long failure to see the LGBTQ community as fully human. My wife will be the first to tell you how hard it is to get any semblance of Christmas spirit out of me. I generally don’t enjoy most Christmas music heard on the radio, I am not really eager about Christmas decorations or the Christmas spirit. I feel a pressure during Christmas time to have certain feelings that are just not within me. Now to be honest, I now feel as if year after year I soften a little bit more. That’s probably Becky and her infectious C

Good Friday Affirmation of Faith

It's been a while, folks. But there are times where the liturgical season intersects with my interior life and I need to let something out. I find that rewriting an affirmation of faith helps me find the unspoken words I have within myself to speak into creation my identity as a christian, especially when it is hard or scary. So on this good friday, an affirmation. I believe in God; sometimes through sheer force of will only. I do not see God but I perceive God’s creation all around me—I see God in the wilderness, in the vastness and intricacy of nature, in community, and in you. I believe in God who is parent of us all, no matter what experience of “parent" we have encountered in our life—God’s parenthood fills those gaps. I believe in God’s infinite creativity. I believe in Jesus; God’s Son and God enfleshed; homeless and vagabond Lord of humanity. I believe in Jesus’ impatience with injustice who still loved the oppressed AND oppressor and desired for the liberati

Call to Worship: Fall On Us (Acts 10:44-48)

Holy Spirit, fall on us. Fill our emptiness to overflowing. Holy Spirit, fall on us. Replace our fear with courage. Holy Spirit, fall on us. Open our hearts to see your spark in those we meet. Holy spirit, fall on us. Holy spirit, fall on us. Muir Beach Overlook, 2017. Photo credit: Ben A. David Hensley

Call to Worship: "Reveal the Path"

God of Life, we are searching for the way. Reveal the path. We work hard to be good people, yet still feel like something is missing. Reveal the path. We know the difference between good and bad, yet find those categories incomplete.  Reveal the path. We want to love God but find it difficult to love our neighbor. Reveal the path. We get along with everyone but have a hard time finding God. Reveal the path.