Notes for Friday morning.

1. Recently, I heard again a thought question: “If your church disappeared, would your community miss it?” I’ve used that question myself in meetings. But I think I want to change it. “If your church disappeared, how would the community miss it? Would they miss you for the ways you want to be missed?”

Would they miss the love or the noise? Would they long for a location where someone lovingly forgave or would they feel safe from judgment walking past that corner? Would the hungry feel hungry or relieved? Would the lonely feel more lonely or less like an inconvenient project?

Sire2. I’ve talked before about Eugene Peterson and the ways what I write have been formed by him. This week his family announced that he’s moving to hospice care. It means that he likely has less than six months to live and that his care will be directed toward comfort rather than fixing.

3. A couple years ago for Advent, I started having (imaginary?) conversations with an old man at the mall. I published them last year as Saint John of the Mall: Reflections for the Advent Season. Recently, I cleaned up a bunch of typos and it’s ready for a new season. If you haven’t read it, I’d be grateful if you gave it a look. If you have, I’d be grateful if you told someone else (and maybe left a review on Amazon). And Nancy and I went to walk at the mall the other day. The man who made me ask the question is still there.

4.One day, God said this to the people of Israel through Isaiah:

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.”

Good words. See you Monday.