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The Pastor who convinced Lincoln

Several years ago, an article in the PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK described how the Rev. James Smith, a Presbyterian pastor in Springfield, Ill., played a key role in converting Abraham Lincoln out of his original skepticism toward a greater confidence in Biblical faith.

Lent Devotional #2 – Father Abraham

Reflections on Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, Second Sunday in Lent

The Epistle reading for Lent 2 is Paul’s most extended discussion of Abraham. Paul points to Abraham to illustrate his doctrine of justification by grace through faith. The faith of Abraham is witnessed in his trust in the promise of God. (4:20).

The Chorus (Les Choristes)


It's not a new plot idea. Kids languish in an orphanage. New teacher comes and gets them energized. There's no real plot surprise here, it's all in how it's done. And 'The Chorus' is done in such a way that makes it seem real and heart-warming at the same time.There's precious little sugarcoating. It's mostly struggle, and conflict, with just a few moments of tenderness to make it even bearable.

The music teacher Clement Mathieu (Gerard Tugnot) is admittedly depressed as he shuffles into the dilapidated-looking French boys' orphanage in 1949. He's failed at being a professional musician. It seems that nobody really wants to pay to listen to his music. He's put his compositions away, in a leather satchel, and hidden them in the closet of his bare room at the orphanage. Metal bunk bed, wooden dresser, straight chair. The only woman around is the maid, who is seen little and heard from even less. 

Remember that you are dust

I walked down Grace Street in Richmond twenty years ago, and about two blocks away from St. Paul's Episcopal Church I began to see people with dirty foreheads: all sorts of people, some smartly dressed for work on their lunch hour, some rather shopworn and tired.  It wasn't until hours later that I realized that the source of the "dirt" was Ash Wednesday worship, so distant was this day in the liturgical calendar from my Presbyterian experience.  Now Presbyterian churches galore, including our own, have Ash Wednesday worship. We ministers smudge the foreheads of worshipers and say: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  

Lliving on the Borders of Eternity

Living on the Borders of Eternity, by Robert Bluford, Jr.; Historic Polegreen Press: Mechanicsville, Va.; 500 pages, paperback. ISBN: 0-9754215-0-6,

Cost: $24.95, shipping and handling included.


Here is a little quiz. Pick out the people who are not Presbyterian in this list: Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, John Foster Dulles, John C. Calhoun, John Witherspoon, John Glenn, Jimmy Stewart, Fred Rogers.

Lenten Prayer #1

Lent 1:  Genesis 2:15-3:7

Prayer after reading of the garden’s Keeper


for gardens and walls;

for Eden and our homes to the east;

for your talk with us and ours with you;

Water, water and more waater

The water that overwhelmed Indonesia, Sri Lanka, parts of India and Thailand, and killed thousands of people caught the attention of the world. The immensity of the tragedy was difficult to comprehend. The power and strength and force of the water were overwhelming.

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