Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eternity Here and Now

On this day Norbert Johnson was laid to rest, a dear friend and colleague in ministry. Though not at his funeral in person, we were there in heart. And God gave us once again not only the hope of eternal life after death, but a fresh awareness of it here and now.

A warm setting sun
glistens on waving
branches of hemlock
as if pronouncing
its benediction
on all living things.

My soul comes alive
with the shimmering
as memories flow
in both mind and heart
from roots in hist’ry
to wings they supply.

From regions beyond
comes the awareness
that eternity
is nearer than life—
God’s love manifest
within our being,

So little a thing
it seems, this vision,
yet full of wonder:
all in a moment
we are giv’n to see
and grasp the Kingdom.

Not just someday soon
but in this moment--
more than a foretaste
of things yet to be--
eternity here,
full of shimm’ring life.

Hembygden 5/14/09

Friday, May 8, 2009

An Exclusive RootedWings Interview with Glen V. Wiberg on the Preaching Office

Glen Wiberg has issued through Covenant Pulications this year a treasure meant for believers af all kinds--clergy and layity alike, addressing an office that has been central both in his personal sense of call to the ministry and to life in the Covenant Church from its beginning.

What is required of one who would proclaim the Word of God, and thus be a spokesperson for him? And what is necessary for all those who listen to that proclamation? For nearly sixty years Glen's primary thrust in minsitry has been to wrestle with those questions, hoping to be a window through which people might encounter God and come alive in him.

In proclaiming the Word, administering the sacraments, and pursuing creatively the art both of of worship planning and leading, Glen has proved himself through strenuous disciplines of mind and heart to be a living reminder of what Housing the Sacred requires. The book itself is available through Covenant Bookstore. An exclusive thirty-minute RootedWings interview of its esteemed author and my dear friend, follows. Listen to and ponder what is offered here of both wisdom and challenge. And then, whether as preacher or listener, take seriously and personally the author's last bit of encouraging advice, a sign of his trust in you and the Spirit: "Proceed!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

'Be Still, and Know That I Am God'

All the beauty surrounding us these days in Minnesota--replete as nature is with the fresh greens of Spring and the wakening shoots from earth that soon will burst into bud, the Swedish hymn comes to mind, "Now Comes the Time for Flowers" (The Covenant Hymnal: A Worshipbook No. 646). Children all over Scandinavia sing it on the day of school closing each year, loving and anticipating their summer break. It is park of their cultural tradition.

The English text, translated some years ago by my brother Zenos, invites us to the same kind of celebration. "Come near, you summer hours, earth's grasses recreate," and "We hear the bird song ringing, a many-throated laud, shall not our tongues be singing our praise to Father God?" For the Christian, Spring is one more reminder of the divine reality out of which all blessings come, our Triune God at work!