Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15; Matthew 14:13-21

Recently, I have become preoccupied by a particular kind of music: the Disney song.

Months ago, my daughter Abby learned a few songs from the Disney film Moana as part of a “Music Together” program. She loved the songs, even though she hadn’t seen the movie. So, about a week ago, we watched Moana together and I found myself quietly tearing up.

I was so moved that I spent some time reading about the making of the movie. Eventually, I read an interview with the man who wrote the lyrics to most of the songs. His name is Lin-Manuel Miranda, and he is most famously known for writing the Broadway musical Hamilton, which adapts the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founders of the United States, through a mixture of hip-hop and traditional Broadway music.

In the interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, he talks a little bit about one of the most well-known songs from Moana, “How Far I’ll Go.” The interviewer brings up the fact that serious fans of Disney films have a specific name for the kind of song that “How Far I’ll Go” represents. They call them “I want” songs.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

In the Midst - Psalm 23


A couple of years ago, I was helping to teach a class about prayer. We were teaching lectio divina, which means “sacred reading.” In lectio divina, a short selection of scripture is read several times. Each time the scripture is read, those who are praying dive deeper into prayer. They choose a word or a phrase and chew on it, slowly turning it over in their hearts and minds. Sometimes, lectio divina leads into what is known as Imaginative Prayer. In imaginative prayer, the participants imagine themselves having a conversation with Jesus. They imagine not only what they would say to Jesus, which is what we often do in prayer, but also how Jesus would reply.

That day, as I was praying, I imagined that I was on a boat. I realized that I was imagining Matthew chapter 8, when Jesus and the disciples are out on the water and Jesus is asleep in the bottom of the boat. Suddenly, a terrible storm arises. The disciples are doing everything in their power to keep the boat from sinking. And Jesus keeps sleeping. There is a terrible storm, and Jesus is sleeping! The waves are crashing, the thunder is rolling, and Jesus is sleeping! The disciples wake Jesus up and ask him to help. Jesus gets up and says to his disciples, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then, he calms the storm.