Category: Dialog

Sam Wells and "Being With"

The presentation and questions for October’s online Theology on Tap at Holy Trinity by the Lake. 

Questions for Discussion: 
  1. With whom does “being with” come most easily for you?

  2. How are being with, being for, working with, and working for distinct and/or connected? Have you experienced one leading to another? What was that like?

  3. Why is it sometimes easier to help a person without spending time with them?

  4. When have you experienced relationship with a person you found challenging transformed through spending time with them?

  5. What are your thoughts about Sam Wells’ observations that Jesus prioritized being with and that being with is one way we imitate the life of heaven?

Apart Together–Ascension 2020

Rev. Megan L. Castellan May 24, 2020 Easter 7, Year A Acts 1 In the years when I was in college ministry, the Ascension readings usually coincided with the end of the academic term.  It worked quite nicely; I could talk about Jesus departing alongside graduation, as a metaphor for the seasons of life.  Jesus […]

Theodicy and 1 Peter

Rev. Megan L. Castellan May 17, 2020 Easter 6, Year A 1 Peter Well, I think we need to address what on earth Peter is going on about, don’t you?   There’s a line in the Princess Bride where Wesley says “Life is pain, princess.  Anyone who says any different is selling something.”  Peter seems […]

Acts in Quarantine

Rev. Megan L. Castellan May 10, 2020 Easter 5, Year A Acts It’s the longstanding tradition of the church to read through the Book of Acts after Easter.  We hit the high points, though not necessarily in order:  the conversion of Saul, Peter’s preaching, Pentecost.  The disciples converting lots of people.  But generally speaking, we […]

Emmaus 2020

Rev. Megan L. Castellan April 26, 2020 Easter 3, Year A Luke Liminal space First of all, Emmaus is a bit of a mystery.  Nearly all the places in the gospels are known to contemporaneous non-Christian sources, but there are like 7 different Emmaus’s.  This was either an accident (sort of what would happen if […]

Doubting Thomas in 2020

Rev. Megan L. Castellan April 19, 2020 Easter 2, Year A John 21 This is one of the gospel readings we read on the same day every single year.  Surprisingly we don’t have many of those.  We read variations on the Christmas story, the resurrection stories, the Passion narratives.  But this story, along with John’s […]

Hope Incarnate: Planning Worship for Advent and Christmas

Hope Incarnate: Planning Worship for Advent and Christmas What have we learned about leading worship and music from six months of COVID-19 disruption? What is at stake theologically and pastorally? How are we being made new in this wilderness? Join Virginia Theological Seminary faculty (Marty Wheeler Burnett, James Farwell, Judy Fentress-Williams, and Lisa Kimball) for […]

Mind the Gaps: Churches and Schools in the Midst of Pandemic Realities

 Exploring the policies and practicalities of ministering into the crisis of pandemic schooling Mind the Gaps – Office Hours Please join us for one or more of our office hours on August 11, 18, and 25, 4-5pm eastern. This time is dedicated to listening to one another to learn how the church is called to […]

Vacation in 2020

I used to approach vacation as a celebration, an escape, a carrot on a stick to endure the hardest parts. Which is fine as far as it goes, but where it goes, inevitably, is to a dread or apprehension that will find you, confine you, about three days before returning. When the countdown to Relief resets to 365, give or take, and so you brace yourself all by yourself to hold again the longest breath.

Without trying, this has changed for me. Which is to say vacation no longer names for me escape. And because it does no longer, vacation, yes vacation, now occupies a place much more like discipline in my life. And, yes, this names a privilege, to have work that one loves. And also an achievement: to learn to love my work on the emptiest of days has taken work of its own and all kinds of help; to learn and to trust that discomfort names a day of new possibilities unfurling.
The only dread I fear now is that of failing my obligation to the work, with all the imagination, preparation, perseverance, and surrender that entails.
So vacation comes and says, “Hey, put it down.” 
And I think of it as practice for retirement. Or death. Was it Michael Jordan who said he could imagine himself dying, just not losing the ability and position to which he’d grown accustomed? Vacation, retirement, death, all of it defying my claims to be essential, to be operating in any other than the space of life that comes as gift.
Thank you, gracious God, and help me to receive it, and wear it well,
this space of life,
that comes 
as gift.
Someone is ready for her trip. 💗