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Posts tagged "New Years"


Gravy: A Prayer for You at Year’s End

I preached a funeral for a friend a few weeks back — ironically, a day before Thanksgiving. I was under strict instructions not to speak the name of the disease that had ended her earthly life (hint: it starts with “c”; a six-letter word that acts more like a four-letter word). I couldn’t ignore that word’s presence altogether, since it had surely been a contributing writer on the screenplay of her life. But I never uttered the word and did my best to give Jesus top billing.

Raymond Carver managed to accomplish something similar in one of his final poems, “Gravy.” He looked back over the last sober decade – the love he experienced from Tess Gallagher, the vital work of writing and teaching and living. It is a mere 125 words. And not to nag you like your 10th grade English teacher or anything, but I do believe it would reward the time you spend reading it:

“Gravy” by Raymond Carver

No other word will do. For that’s what it was.
Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don’t forget it.

May I pray this prayer for us?

Lord Jesus, another year is gone, and only you know what awaits us. For those things we fear are “building up” and “breaking down,” we pray for healing and endurance in the days to come. And as we reflect on 2019, Lord, focus our minds on the gravy — the moments we weren’t promised, the work that kept us “alive,” the remarkable disasters we mysteriously avoided, and most importantly, the grace that raised us up when we were “going nowhere but down.”

Gravy. Pure gravy. Please pass the gravy. Amen.

New Year, Old Me

Maybe its just me, but after the final Candlelight Christmas service is finished, the last relative has gone home, and all of the gifts have been unwrapped, there I find myself staring the New Year right in her shiny, best-intentioned face. I’m the Ebenezer Scrooge of New Years. I loathe the pressure to make a resolution. Phrases like “goals […]

A Quick Calvin and Hobbes

This one somehow escaped our attention last year when we ran our epic look at all the Calvin and Hobbes’ New Years strips:

calvinsnow32-1

From The New Yorker

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Calvin and Hobbes Ring in the New Year

This Will (Hopefully) Be Our Year: Top Four New Year’s Songs

Lest all the anti-New-Years-resolutions sentiment come across as pure party-poopery, I give you four songs in keeping with the holiday, two of which are downright joyful: 1. The best of all-time, without question – sorry, Bono – is The Zombies’ “This Will Be Our Year”, covered here by The Avett Brothers: 2. I didn’t think […]

Another Week Ends: Temptation, How To Read The Bible, Trekkies 2, The Invention Of Lying

1. The results of a recent study posted earlier this week on medicalnewstoday.com, “Research Shows Temptation More Powerful Than Individuals Realize” (ht Jeff Dean). Reads almost like some kind of Onion/Mockingbird hybrid, the key quote being: “People are not good at anticipating the power of their urges, and those who are the most confident about […]

How To Wreck Your Career

Earlier this month, the Japanese Finance Minister, Shoichi Nakagawa, appeared at a press conference during the G-7 summit in Rome. He was wasted. Hammered. Three sheets to the wind. Plastered. Drunk as a skunk. I mean, wasn’t even able to come close to acting even remotely sober. Worse than Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman. Watch the […]

The Theology of Suffering, Part I: Whoa, boy…

I was sitting at home the other day, minding my own business, when I received an e-mail about a recent New Yorker article called “Holiday in Hellmouth: God May Be Dead, But The Question Of Why He Permits Suffering Lives On”. Catchy title. After clicking on the link, I was disheartened to discover a long, […]

Year In Music

I have never been able to resist the pull of year-end lists. I look forward to them, well, all year. Eight Favorite Albums That Came Out in 20071. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible. Apocalyptic rock gets me every time.2. Jarvis Cocker – Jarvis. For the Romans 7 moment of the year, see “I Will Kill […]