Brinton’s Bridges

Be a Galilean

Be a Galilean

For the scripture lesson, Harley Camden read from fourth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. “Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea,” he intoned, pointing up to the...

One Spirit-filled body

One Spirit-filled body

One Sunday morning, a rock was thrown through the window of the Riverview Bakery. A few hours later, Harley Camden was standing before his congregation, which was surprisingly large for August. Harley read the scripture verse from First Corinthians and admitted that...

Spirit in Community

Spirit in Community

Harley Camden ran into his friend Tawnya Jones at Auntie’s Pie Shop. “So, what are you up to today,” asked Tawnya, “besides drinking coffee?” “Writing my Sunday sermon,” he said, taking a sip of his drink. “I’m wrestling with Paul’s letter to the Romans.” “The one who...

Encountering Jesus

Encountering Jesus

The bishop stepped out of her office in Alexandria and greeted Harley Camden. She was nothing if not perfectly punctual and looked as handsome as ever in a light-blue blouse with clerical collar, black skirt, and black heels. Harley stood, shook her hand, noted that...

Christian hospitality

Christian hospitality

As soon as they sat down for dinner, Youssef Ayad offered a prayer. “Be with us, Lord Jesus, as you were with your first followers in the breaking of the bread. Bless this food to our use and ourselves to your service. Amen.” His wife Sofia passed Harley Camden a...

Tradition and Jesus

Tradition and Jesus

Pastor Harley Camden was happy to have his boat full of people, especially on such a lovely summer day. He had realized that a large part of his anger over the past year was grounded in loneliness. Yes, he was rightly upset about the way that his wife and daughter had...

Justice and Love

Justice and Love

Harley Camden dreamed he was in his twenties, on his summer semester in Israel, digging in the Galilee. A warm breeze caused a grove of pine trees to sway gently, and a pair of birds flew in gentle circles above him in a cloudless sky. He had spent the day working in...

Finding Calm in Creation

Finding Calm in Creation

Harley Camden fired up his boat and pulled away from the dock, enjoying the slight breeze rippling the surface of the Occoquan River. The boat cut effortlessly through the water, and Harley loved the feeling of moving forward with no friction, no resistance, no...

God is love

God is love

A short, slender man entered the visitation room of the county jail with his hands behind his back. He was followed by two guards, one of whom stopped him and unlocked his handcuffs. The man glanced at Harley Camden before entering, then turned his eyes forward and...

A Mighty Wind

A Mighty Wind

Soon after moving into his home in Occoquan, Harley Camden was treated to a ride in a powerboat by his friend and parishioner Dirk Carter. Harley was surprised by how good it felt to be on the river. The sunlight shimmered on the water, and the deep green leaves of...

A Christian and a Fighter

A Christian and a Fighter

One of the first people that Harley Camden met in Occoquan was Dirk Carter, a member of Riverside Methodist Church and a military veteran who served in Viet Nam. After Harley's first sermon, Dirk invited him to lunch at the American Legion Hall. “I’m a lifelong...

Black Jesus

Black Jesus

Riverside Methodist Church in Occoquan had a black Jesus. Pastor Harley Camden noticed it the first time he walked into the small sanctuary and looked up at the stained-glass window at the front of the church. At first, he thought that the glass was simply dirty, but...