Taylor Swift, 9/11 And The Powers Of Community

front-grass-wetLast night, I found some tickets for the Taylor Swift concert my middle daughter was so eager to attend. A network of friends with whom I work used time, energy, relational withdrawals and more to help me find tickets to a very sold out event. A late night phone call from a dear friend secured that the tickets were available, and then my wife and I swallowed the price and purchased the small pieces of gold.

During 9/11, the outpouring of life, resource, strength, prayer and hope dominated the media for months, as community showed its full force of power in confronting the spirits of the age. If we remember anything today, on the anniversary of this tragic event, it is not our hatred. Rather, it is our need to pay attention to our pain, as it points to the areas of health and reconciliation yet to be attained.

As good friend and comrade Kim Gentes says, Over the stretch of time the inundation of God’s goodness becomes a juggernaut against the dark, stupid, needling of the forces from this earth. God’s love through us to one another is more than just overwhelming visceral incarnation- it is brilliant warfare strategy.

When community, the “one-anothers” in our lives step forward, they do violence to the fragmentation, loneliness and isolation of the age. It is our friends, old and new, to whom we run in times when it seems as though even God has turned away.

In this lifetime, I choose my friends and family, old and new, with which to rise. It is not my goal to live a singular, successful life – but to be a part of a rising tide that culminates in a death well died, and a life well lived.


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.