Pastor’s Blog

Easter Vigil+Easter Lily+Azaleas at St. Stephen Lutheran Church +Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane

Pastor Andy's Musings


Patriotism, the Bible, and Citizenship

July 1, 2019
The bunting is out all over town.  Flags are waving.  I love July 4 in Williamsburg.  Nearly every year I go down to Duke of Gloucester Street to hear an interpreter read the Declaration of Independence.  What a thrilling experience!   When do you feel most patriotic?  For me, it’s when I’m entering my assigned polling place on election day, when I’m mingling with my fellow citizens as we identify ourselves and receive our ballots and vote.  I find that the more names on the ballot of women and people…

Be Thankful. You’ll Find Yourself Joyful!

May 11, 2018
Sitting outside on the screened porch on a beautiful and mild Spring morning (finally!).  Listening.  Looking. After a while I open a page and read Marie Howe's poem, "The World."  (Is this some kind of divine inspiration or something?  I mean, this particular poem, on this particular morning?)   "I couldn't tell one song from another, which bird said what or to whom or for what reason. The oak tree seemed to be writing something using very few words. ... ... I thought I was safe, standing there, but my…

Returning to the Rhythm

April 30, 2018
Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed, alleluia! Jesus the Christ has defeated death!  During the season of Easter we celebrate resurrection life!  In fact, the reason we gather every Sunday, and for every funeral or memorial service, is to celebrate resurrection. How are you doing on your journey?  Are you doing the work God has given you to do, full of Easter life?  Or do you allow daily life to deaden you? To remain rooted in Easter life, we must return to the rhythm of healthy daily life.  God…

Once We Sang and Danced

February 14, 2018
Ash Wednesday and 17 dead (at this point) at a high school in Parkland Florida. "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" -- perhaps while in a high school classroom, because American citizens can buy military assault weapons. Tonight, during our Ash Wednesday worship, we sang Susan Briel's words, which are based on Psalm 137.  It seems to me that her words might be on the lips of grieving families and friends in Parkland: One we sang and danced with gladness, once delight filled every breath,…

Light in the Darkness

December 21, 2017
The darkness is deepest during these weeks, for us in the northern hemisphere.  Dusk comes in the late afternoon.  The sun rises 14 hours later. For some ancient European peoples, the winter solstice was an important time of religious rituals, encouraging the sun to return.  One theory why December 25 was chosen as the date to celebrate the birth of Christ is because the Christ followers co-opted a pagan festival already established on that date!  (According to the calendar then in use, that was the date of the winter solstice.) …

Work, Life, Death: It is All Gift

October 30, 2017
A 15 hour work day yesterday, beginning at 5:00 AM to do final preparations for the day’s worship.  Two festival services – with Karen Ive’s music leadership, combined choirs and wind ensemble, worship done as well as any congregation celebrating Reformation Sunday.  (The weakness might have been my sermon, which was a bit too much of a theological treatise.  One of the choir members, who had to sit through it twice, said, “I got a lot more out of it the second time I heard it.”  I replied that the…

What Do We Do?

August 30, 2017
What Do We Do?   That’s the question that I’m hearing at this point.  What do we do, as followers of Jesus, as we process the hatred and violence that erupted in Charlottesville on August 12?  I have a number of suggestions. First, we must recognize the reality and danger of the racial hatred that is coming from groups that are defending white supremacy in our culture.  We cannot be naïve about this.  According to the FBI, these racial hate groups proliferated in reaction to the last president.  According to…

Giving Thanks for What is Ordinary – Part 2

August 29, 2017
I am still mourning a man I never met. Brian Doyle wrote extraordinary essays about the life of faith.  Some of them are laugh-out-loud funny.  All of them are piercing in their truthfulness.  In many of them, he is poking fun at himself; using himself as an example of the imperfect and inadequate people God calls and showers grace upon and forgives and equips and uses, somehow.  All of his essays come out of his personal experience and his own observations, which mean they describe the experiences of anyone who…