Showing posts from March, 2016

A Day of Waiting

It's hard to find a theme song for today. Holy Saturday. The day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. There's not much to see. Just a tomb and a guard of soldiers. There is no agonizing cross or triumphant resurrection. Just all of us. Here. Waiting.  Nobody writes songs about that kind of thing, because it doesn't seem terribly important. But, in the days of hurry and distraction, it's important to remember that the Son of God didn't go for the quick gratification of an instantaneous return to life. He waited, in apparent defeat, for an entire day while His followers wept and doubted and the religious leaders breathed a deep sigh of relief over an averted crisis. Our world has little good to say about those who wait. When we don't seem to be going anywhere or doing anything important, we receive input ranging from, 'why are you wasting your life?' to polite suggestions of what we could be doing.
But we serve a timeless God. He is unconstrained b…

Hosanna: Finding Myself in the Crowds

'Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Shouting fills the air, and clothing and palm branches are flung exuberantly to the ground as a Man proceeds slowly through the mob astride a donkey. The disciples flank Him on either side, protecting Him from the enthusiasm of the crowd. Exultation, victory, and adoration mingle with the swirling dust.
'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!' Fists lifted against the sky. A wall of rejection flung into the bleeding face of a Man who droops between His two guards. 'We'd rather have a criminal than this Man!' Anger, hatred, fear sullying the atmosphere.
I wonder sometimes if the crowd of the triumphal entry and the group who condemned Jesus to His death were comprised of any of the same people. I wonder what convinced them to turn against their Chosen One so quickly. The Bible states that the religious leaders 'persuaded' the crowd at Pilate's judgement to call for Jesus' crucifixion. How were they per…

The King of Glory

Lift up your heads, you gates; Be lifted up, you ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; Lift them up, you ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty- He is the King of glory.

Palm Sunday

The Easter season sneaked up on me this year, and it wasn't 'til I saw a bunch of people walking down the road with palm fronds in their hands that I realized what day it was...Palm Sunday.

Important things often happened unexpectedly in Jesus' day, too, and the Gospels are full of people who never seemed to grasp the full significance of what they were witnessing until after the fact. From a human perspective, Jesus really was born in the wrong place, at the wrong time. He confounded friends and enemies alike by refusing to step into their stereotypes of what a Messiah was supposed to be. His greatest work was accomplished through seeming failure; in humiliation, torture, and the obscurity of a garden tomb.

He is never what we expect, but He is always what we need, and even when we don't recognize Him, He is always our Emanuel...God with us.

I Thank My God When I Think of You

Some chap named Ted Grant said: 'When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.'And since the people I've had the privilege of photographing over the past couple of days have beautiful souls, I thought I'd just share a handful of favorite black and white shots.

Dialogues: Concern

So Beira isn't the world's safest place to be out in after dark, and if I'm doing something at the church late at night, without Jon and Carla, my entire circle of acquaintances take it upon themselves to ensure that I make it home in one piece. It's like having a bunch of Portuguese-speaking older siblings. 
Anyway, I was at church by myself tonight, shooting photos for the youth service. Afterward, all the siblingry began...
Toninho: Do you have a ride home? Me: Yeah, I'm going to ask the Wilcoxes. Toninho *calls one of the Wilcoxes over*: Elias, can you take her home? Elias agrees, and Toninho and I have a conversation about violin lessons, which is always entertaining because Toninho invariably speaks English to me until he hits a linguistic roadblock, when he just sort-of fades back into Portuguese. When we conclude our conversation... Toninho: Okay, Elias. She's ready to go now. Elias, deep in a conversation, acknowledges briefly and keeps on chatting, so I …


The *coprador bent at the waist, hovering precariously above the heads of his passengers, and I noticed that the worn spot on the back of his hat corresponded exactly with the worn spot in the fabric covering of the chapparoof. 
I wondered how many hours he had spent in that place. How many miles of rough road had swayed him back and forth, up and down, creating friction between those two layers of fabric? I could read stories in the tattered cloth, and they were a small part of the repeating story I see every day. 
It's the story of lined faces and bent backs. Worn-out shoes and pot-holed highways. Patches and wrinkles and fades.

The process of living here creates a lot of friction. Surface appeal is quickly worn down; true character speedily revealed.
I think the tailor realized this when he told me about his sewing machine; an antique Singer perched precariously on a stool in his tiny store.
"It was given to my grandmother as a wedding present." He said. "And it'…

Dirty Feet

I'm not sure that it's possible to understand the full import of Biblical footwashing until you've walked around Beira in flip-flops. There is dust everywhere. There is garbage everywhere. And those aren't even the really nasty things. Add to that the fact that sweat makes all of the dirt stick to your skin, and you're no longer surprised to find that it's fairly normal for a person to take several baths a day.
As I stood in the shower, watching the brown water swirl around my toes, I marveled at the fact that, if Jesus were here, He would be washing my dirty, stinky feet. He'd be down on the floor with His basin and towel, and I, like Peter, would say, "No, Lord! That's no job for You to do! I'm too dirty."
"If I do not wash you, then you have no part with Me." -John 13:8
God doesn't look down from Heaven and see us wallowing in our sin and say, "Well, they blew it. Time for plan B." Nor does He compromise His holi…

Recipe: Canoe Trip Cookies

I think that I am, basically, a Hobbit. Invite me on an adventure, and my first thoughts are concerning food, drink, and pocket handkerchiefs. Needless to say, when some of my siblings and I were planning a February canoe trip on the Meramec, I immediately volunteered to bring my specialty food: cookies. And so this recipe was born. Basically, you could eat these cookies instead of having a meal. They're undoubtedly hearty, reasonably healthy, and not too sweet. They're a pretty good snack for cold weather activity or, you know, second breakfast.

Canoe Trip Cookies
What you'll need: Butter Sugar 1 Egg Flour Baking Soda Baking Powder Vanilla Rolled Oats Peanut Butter Sunflower Seeds Raisins Chocolate Chips
Cream together:
1/2 c softened butter
3/4 c sugar
1 egg

Add & mix:
1 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t vanilla
1 c rolled oats
3/4 c peanut butter

Mix in:
1 c salted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 c raisins
2/3 of a 12 oz package of chocolate chips

Use a teaspoon…