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My Easter Message (2021)

This year, Easter falls on the same day as the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. As we face so many challenges and heartache in our country with the Chauvin trial, the unrelenting injustice of poverty, the pandemic, and each of our personal struggles, I am reminded of Dr. King’s sermon, “A Knock at Midnight.” It is based on the Gospel of Luke 11:5-6 when he preached about the role of the church in dealing with contemporary problems. In that talk, Dr. King spoke about the need for the church to be a conscience for the nation. He said, “One of the…

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Asking Big Questions

When it comes to spiritual growth, any crisis is an opportunity to grow. In fact, the spiritually mature person is someone who has found practices and resources to deal with the suffering that unexpectedly disrupts or even shatters our lives. As a college chaplain, I offer spiritual guidance to people who visit my office. I know from personal experience that life is often difficult and very confusing. Together, we seek to support one another. I also know that asking the right questions is more helpful than pretending to have all the answers, especially in the darkest moments of life. While absorbing alarming statistics about confirmed cases and deaths related to…

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Finding Your Place

There is something exciting about moving into a new place. It’s fun to enter a new apartment, house, or town, making choices about where to live, arranging furniture, choosing a paint color, picking out curtains or blinds, and decorating the walls. It can also be a challenging and unsettling time as we attempt to make connections with our new neighbors and find our place in the new community. When I was a student at McCormick Theological Seminary in the mid-1980s, our young family of three moved into seminary housing, a second-floor apartment in a three-story brick walk-up. These apartments were in Hyde Park near the University of Chicago and owned…

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Community is a Gift

When I was a boy, I lived on the Jersey Shore in a little seaside town called Ocean Grove near Asbury Park. Once a year, on a Saturday in mid-June, the Eagle Hook and Ladder Company hosted the Strawberry Festival. This was a high holy day for our little town. From noon until 7:00 pm at night, hundreds of people, all day long, lined up around the block for a paper plate overflowing with a round yellow sponge cake, a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, and an enormous pile of fresh New Jersey strawberries. Holding paper plates in their hands like priests presiding at an altar, local residents found…

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A Leap of Hope

When I was 24-years old, my wife, Robin, and I worked at a very large homeless shelter in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. We were surprised by the amount of suffering and poverty right in front of us. We met an elderly couple, immigrants from Europe, who moved into the shelter during that first weekend. They were artists and their apartment had caught on fire. These two reminded me of the old couple in the song, The Dutchman, performed by Steve Goodman. They survived the fire, but were suddenly homeless in January in Chicago. A young woman, barely 17 years old, the mother of four children moved into the shelter.…

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Becoming Fully Human

Christian spirituality is a way of being in the world, not an escape from it. A life of faith is lived, daily, in the world. It’s not about avoiding real problems or relying on a belief in a rapture that will whisk us away from planet earth. The parables of Jesus, contrary to avoiding real world problems, invite us to live more compassionately and become more fully human. Christian tradition teaches that Jesus Christ was fully God, but also fully human. If Jesus can be fully human shouldn’t we be fully human? As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to glory God and enjoy him…

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A Tribute to Jeff

A Service of Worship in Witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and in Thanksgiving for the Life of the Reverend Dr. Jeffrey Keil Krehbiel Saturday, May 6, 2017 The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and Church of the Pilgrims Washington D.C. Today, I want to speak of friendship.  Jeff was a treasured friend.  He was a friend to me, and many of you here today, and many others who cannot be here today.  He was a very good friend and I will miss him deeply and for the rest of my life.  He made a difference in my life, and I hope in some way, I did the same…

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Where Will Floridians See Jesus Next Time?

Originally posted on Doug McMahon.: The St. Pete Times reports that a man at a car dealership in Dade City sees Jesus in the grain of a wooden door in the used car sales office.  You can read the story here.  The same article also reported that Floridians in recent years have seen Jesus and/or his Mother Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich, a sea shell, a pancake, a 7×7 foot slab of granite, a potato chip, and, back in December of 1996, Floridians saw what looked like the Virgin Mary on a glass building then being leased by a car rental company. Seeing this roll call of appearances all together in one long list causes me to wonder what Jesus…

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Do We Need to Change?

During the season of Advent, Christians read the stories about John the Baptist announcing the advent of the Messiah. Century after century, Christians have reflected on verses about change, like Matthew 3:2, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” About 2,000 years ago, John the Baptist called for change. Sometimes the word is translated “repent.” What does it mean for us to repent today? I’m guessing that you already know that you need some changes in your life. You and God are probably on the same page. No person knows you better than you.  And, no one knows you better than God. You don’t need a…

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Thinking Holistically

Sometimes in churches today, concern for the environment is seen simply as political activity; therefore, we are told that it detracts us from the central mission of the Christian faith.  I disagree.  When Christians confess the belief that God is “maker of heaven and earth,” I hear that creed as a call to care for creation.  In the Genesis story, God declares the earth to be “good.” A pursuit of the holy and the eternal and responsible citizenship in the world do not need to be two different activities.  “God has created the world of space and time be the sphere of God’s dealings with humankind.”  The Confession of 1967…

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