Category: <span>thoughts by Rev. Kyle Norman</span>


“Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him”. John 13:4-5

One of the most poignant scenes of scripture is when Jesus kneels to wash the feet of his disciples. While it may be tempting to rush past this event, to hear the words of institution or go with Christ to Gethsemane, we would do well to sit and observe the Lord’s humble action.  John records that in this small action Jesus offered “the full extent of his love.”

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power.  His time had finally come. Jesus had arrived at the time where his victory and kingship would be revealed. Yet, instead of a thunderous expression of strength and divine might, Jesus silently gets up from the table. In an act of audacious humility, Jesus takes off his outer clothing, wraps a towel around himself, and begins to wash the disciples’ feet.  Just as the divine glory is set aside in the incarnation, here, the glory of Christ’s own humanity, as Rabbi, Messiah, and King, is set aside in service to the disciples. The love of Jesus reaches down to the lowest place of life to redeem and to heal.

What the disciples must have thought as this occurred.  Did they try to gussy themselves up in that moment?  Did Andrew try to pre-emptively wipe off the dust? Did Bartholomew slyly dump water on his feet so they would not be as dirty when Jesus approached?  We know that Peter initially rejected the offering.

Do we attempt to cover the dirt before him who comes to wash us?  Do we ever attempt to mask the hurts, the mistakes, the sins? Like tidying up before the house cleaners come, we sometimes try to cover over the messiness of our lives, lest Jesus see our truest needs.  Yet if we do so, we miss out on the fullness of Christ’s love.  For that lowest of places, that place of deepest need, is the very place where Jesus offers us the fullness of his love.  All that is required of us is to receive.

By Rev. Kyle Norman
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• Eternal Love
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“Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22

During my first year of ordained ministry, I met a man named Curly. Every week I travelled to his house to lead a service for the small group of men who met for prayer and bible study. At the time of meeting Curly, he was already 6 months past the doctor’s “best guess.” He could no longer walk and the hose that supplied his oxygen ran throughout his house. Despite his illness, his faith was strong and his laughter joyful.

During one visit, I arrived at the house to see all the gentlemen seated around Curly. I took a chair, moving it beside Curly, and began to lead the service. At some point during our prayers, it was clear that Curly’s disposition had changed. He seemed to labor for breath, and his complexion seemed to grow increasingly pale. The gentleman and I exchanged glances of concern.

Deciding that an ambulance needed to be called, I stood up from my chair. When I did so, Curly took a huge breath inward, and the color quickly returned to his face. Apparently, I had placed my chair on his oxygen hose! (Not my finest hour of ministry)

What cuts you off from the Holy Spirit? Is there something in your life that dampens your experience of the Spirit’s power? Jesus desires to breath the Spirit into the lives of all his followers, yet things in our lives can restrict our ability to receive the flow of the Spirit. How might you further open yourself to the Spirit this week?

As we go through the remaining days of lent, how might you open yourself to the spirit of Jesus?  How might you allow the Spirit to move within you, and through you?  To begin, why not pray this simple prayer:

Jesus, I thank you for breathing new life into me. Help me open my heart, and my life, to your Spirit, so that I may perfectly love and serve you. Amen.

By Rev. Kyle Norman
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Thoughts by Men thoughts by Rev. Kyle Norman


1 Corinthians 13:4
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;”

We all have people we do not like. This is part of human life. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. While each person bears the image of God, God crafted that image in complete uniqueness. We all have different temperaments, interests, and personalities. Thus, in any given group, crowd, or community, there are bound to be people who do not mesh well together.

Too often, people choose to dismiss or reject those who are fundamentally different than them; the “other” as we might say. This dismissal can be based on anything, really: race, politics, theology, social status, hair color; these things become justifications to disregard the person. In its worst form this is called “cancel-culture”: we cancel the voice or experience of a person simply because they do not line up our own perspectives.  We routinely see this played out in politics, the news, and on social media.

We Christians, however, are called to live differently than the culture around us.  We follow the way of Jesus.  Jesus never cancelled those who were around him; never did he reject another for being outside the acceptable norm. To those who were sinful, Christ was forgiving. To those who rebuked him he was patient; to those who rejected him, he was kind.  Christ was never rude, boastful, nor prideful. In all things, he expressed the qualities of faithfulness, hope, and above all else, love.

This is the model Christians are called to follow, and it is this Paul speaks to in his famous passage on love. Like Christ’s well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, it is toward the very people we would choose to avoid that we must be lovingly patient, kind, forbearing, and hopeful.

This is more radical than it seems. The way we treat others is rooted in how Jesus treats us. Thus, the call to love is not a call to sentimentality. It is the willingness to live like Jesus.  If more people truly embraced this call, the whole world could be transformed.  Amen.

By Rev. Kyle Norman
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What’s Love Got to do with It? by Norm Miller
Our Love Has Stood The Test Of Time

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 “For God alone my soul waits in silence.” Psalm 62:1(ESV)

By mere definition, to engage in a retreat is to take a specific time away from the regularity of life.  We step leave the stresses and busyness of regular life to more deeply attend to God’s presence and voice.  To do this, many retreats employ some element of silence.  We put down our schedules.  We close our emails.  We turn off the noise.

Silence in one part of retreats that I have often struggled with.  Every year, the clergy of the diocese are required to go on a retreat, a large portion of which is spent in silence.  I would often plan for these silent times, arriving at the retreat with a suitcase of ways to fill up the time; I would bring projects to complete, music to listen to, or movies to watch.  My phone was ever in my pocket, always providing the relief of e-mails, texts, and social media.  The observance of silence became very easy.  I could sit in my room, watching Die Hard, confident that all unwanted noise was being mediated through my headphones.  Who wouldn’t love a silent retreat like this?

Yet as I sat with this, I began to notice how I had grown accustomed to the sounds that encompassed my life; the blaring of the stereo, the flashes of the TV screen, the chirps and whistles of the apps on my phone.   It was as if I depended on those noises to take up the acoustic space within me.  My times of silence were not spent in undivided attention upon the Lord. Even though I was “on retreat”, my engagement with projects, social media, and various forms of entertainment simply re-created the very dynamics I was to be stepping away from.  In my desire to “fill the silence” -or worse yet, make the silent times “productive” – I was actuality removing myself from the very retreat I was to be on; I observed external quietness yet knew nothing of an internal discipline of silence.

That’s the difference between being quiet and being silent.  Being quiet simply refers to a reduction in external noise.  It is more of a description of an external atmosphere rather than an internal disposition.  The fact is, one is able enjoy quietness, mediated through headphones or the cessation from talking, and still be filled with the noises of modern life.  Even within a quiet atmosphere, the direction of our soul may remain fixed upon the frantic activity of life around us.  After all, it’s hard to give God our undivided attention when watching Bruce Willis jump off a building.

The discipline of silence, however, silence describes an inner quality of the soul.  We open ourselves to the presence of God, laying down the noise produced by our own striving and inward compulsions.  Silence involves closing ourselves to that which whirls around us, and (possibly more importantly) within us.  By quieting our environment, we labor to still our inner chatter.  In doing this we open ourselves to God’s presence and attempt, as best we can, to remain attentive to His voice.  Like Elijah before the still small voice, in silence we willingly allow the presence of God to confront us.

This is the power of silence.  Beyond all else, the discipline of silence is grounded upon the availability of God’s presence.  Silence creates the necessary space for us to interact with God’s presence, unhindered by the clutter of familiar distractions. It may be uncomfortable at first, yet as we push through the feelings of discomfort, we find ourselves entering that silence that is defined, not by the absence of noise, but by the mighty presence of God.

By Rev. Kyle Norman
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How to Pray and Listen to God

A Moving Mountain | Thoughts about God by Marilyn Ehle

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Thoughts by Men thoughts by Rev. Kyle Norman