Hymn Guide: God Be Merciful To Me

Posted on February 29, 2024

“God be merciful to me” is a setting of Psalm 51, David’s great hymn of repentance, forgiveness, and faith. More than most hymns and worship songs, it sets forth the stark reality of human sin and turns to God as our only hope for salvation and spiritual renewal. Composed anonymously for the 1912 Psalter, it…

Sitting with the Unrepentant Heart

Posted on January 23, 2024

Morning prayer complete. Emails checked. A cup of hot tea steeps nearby. Outside, snow falls, and the weak winter Alaska sun tries valiantly to peek over the horizon and the puffy, icy clouds—just a hint of gray, a portent that day is almost here. It’s a holiday. Nothing to do. There are no agenda items….

You Miserable, Wretched Sinners!

Posted on March 2, 2017

You miserable, wretched sinners! You will hear this during Lent. Some will be offended, as these words seem rude and unworthy of creatures created in God’s image. To retain these words would be to wrongly imply that human beings are supposed to grovel before God and debase themselves. Others will be pleased, as these traditional…

How to Lent and Why: Questions for an Anglican Priest

Posted on February 27, 2017

Lent is about to kick us in the seats of our pants soon, when it darkens our foreheads, and then takes away our chocolates. Not to mention causing us to face our privilege by helping others and then making us read the Church Fathers in the original Latin or Greek. (I made that last part…

Confession of Sin: Things Left Undone

Posted on July 14, 2016

There is something in the Anglican service that really makes me uncomfortable. It is not something I encountered often before I experienced the classic Christian liturgy. At the Confession of Sin, we pray: Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, But…

Do “Thoughts and Prayers” Really Matter Anyway?

Posted on December 3, 2015

It is a sad time in the world. More terror…this time in California. And now the phrase ‘thoughts and prayers’ is falling victim to the violence too. Some politicians offered their condolences with the overused but heartfelt phrase: our thoughts and prayers are with them. Now that is being castigated. It is called ‘prayer shaming’. It…