Two Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeSabbath Keeping FastingA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationPersonality Type in CongregationsPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Praying about Jesus’s miracles: The man lowered through the roof

Lynne Baab • Wednesday May 22 2024

Praying about Jesus’s miracles: The man lowered through the roof

Christians have probably imagined themselves in biblical scenes ever since the Gospels were written and read aloud. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) gave instructions for what he called Gospel Contemplation. He suggested placing ourselves in Gospel stories and imagining the smells, sounds, and sights as a way to encounter Jesus.

One of my favorite miracle stories, the paralyzed man being lowered through the roof by his friends (Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26), has allowed me to put myself in a Gospel story in three different roles.

1. A bystander. I like to imagine that I got to the house early enough to get...

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Praying to see everyday miracles

Lynne Baab • Wednesday May 15 2024

Praying to see everyday miracles

My beloved artist husband, Dave, and I both have had a pretty bad case of covid. The blog post I planned for this week, the lowering of the paralytic through the roof, will have to wait until next week. I've combined sections of two past posts about seeing daily miracles.

I used a Jewish Sabbath prayer in my book, Sabbath Keeping: “Days pass and the years vanish, and we walk sightless among miracles.” The prayer speaks to me about a common experience of humans. We simply don’t see the miracles around us.

As the prayer continues, the significance of seeing is stressed:

“Lord, fill our...

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Praying about Jesus’s miracles: Crumbs are an abundant feast

Lynne Baab • Tuesday May 7 2024

Praying about Jesus’s miracles: Crumbs are an abundant feast

One of my favorite prayers from my childhood evokes crumbs. I feel sure Thomas Cramner (1489-1556), writer of The Book of Common Prayer, was thinking about Jesus’s healing of the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter when he wrote the prayer. I’ll start by describing the prayer because I knew it long before I learned about the story in Mark 7:24-30 and Matthew 15:21-28.

In my childhood, we were in church every Sunday, even though we prayed only at dinner and bedtime, and my parents never mentioned God in conversations. Our churches were Episcopalian in the many places we lived in the U.S., and Anglican...

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Praying about Jesus’s miracles: Let’s find someone to blame!

Lynne Baab • Wednesday May 1 2024

Praying about Jesus’s miracles: Let’s find someone to blame!

Human brains love dichotomies. If this thing is true, then this other thing is wrong or a lie. Human beings also love to assign blame. Something inside us longs to believe that the universe is ordered and logical. Therefore, when things go wrong, someone or something must be at fault.

In John 9, the human love for dichotomies and blame is on full display. Jesus and his disciples have just left the Temple because some of the Jewish leaders started throwing stones at Jesus.

“As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this...

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