Death


Permission to Lament   Recently updated!

Shortly after Mack died our good friend and colleague Gary Knoppers gave me Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son. Gary included a brief note, offering his condolences and sharing that NW had been one of his “main profs” at Calvin and that Eric, the son who had died in a tragic accident, had been his friend and housemate. Gary died shortly before Christmas, taken far too early by cancer, but leaving an incredible legacy of […]


Why did the Son of God Suffer?   Recently updated!

“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons. First Series. As cited in CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, (New York: Macmillan, 1947), p. vi. Cited by CS Lewis in the frontispiece of The Problem of Pain. I am not sure what I make of the statement. Humanity had already been suffering for millennia by the time Jesus came, so is GM saying that by coming Jesus took […]


Talking About Death

Specifically, how do we talk about it when someone has died? This article was posted on Facebook by my friend Fr. Jody Howard. “People don’t pass away” by Peter W. Marty on Christian Century. The site has apparently been recycling this story periodically since it was published in 2017. It is well meaning. I passed on the chocolate dessert tray in the restaurant last night, tempting as it was. I dread passing through the TSA screening lines at […]


Remembering the Unknown 2

“It makes me a bit worried about what the next year will bring,” I said. “What does?” asked Elizabeth. “The fact that things are going so well.” It was Christmas Eve 2012 and we were finishing wrapping presents and a glass of port. I was reflecting on the fact that there had been three major areas of concern in the last few months that had been weighing on my mind and now, just before Christmas, […]


To every thing there is a season.

“Where we find grace to help in time of need.”

Proper 23 (28) (October 14, 2018) First reading and Psalm Job 23:1-9, 16-17 Psalm 22:1-15 Second reading Hebrews 4:12-16 Gospel Mark 10:17-31 “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” I love comedy. Not sit-coms like Friends or Brooklyn 99, I enjoy those very much, but what I really love are stand-up comics, the British panel quiz shows, and topical humor like NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. The latter is celebrating their […]


Walking in Grace

I continue to wrestle not only with the issue of suffering and grace, but also the book I am attempting to write on the matter. What tone should I take? Should it be more academic, more of a personal reflection, or more essay based? The following is part of the latter effort. Walking in Grace On January 18, 2013 I posted this short reflection on my blog.  A poor analogy but the best one I […]


Tears – Buechner

“YOU NEVER KNOW what may cause tears. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high-school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of […]


Why are you weeping? (An Easter Sermon)

The following was my Easter sermon delivered at St. B’s in 2017.  Jeremiah 31:1-6 Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 Colossians 3:1-4 John 20:1-18 1Cor. 15:3 For I shared with you the most important truth that I had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. Over the last twenty years I have attended a […]