Sunday, December 28, 2008

Grace, Grace and more Grace

The Lectionary readings for the First Sunday in 2009 are full of grace, especially Ephesians 1:3-14 and John 1:10-18. What do you make of grace upon grace in St. John or grace lavished upon us, in the Words of St. Paul? Why so much grace poured out upon us? Perhaps another way to ask the question is to pose it like this. In this fallen world where we daily experience the folly and pain of others and add to that foolishness and suffering through our own acts and deeds, can we ever get enough grace? What do you think?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christ Presents

Here are the readings for this Second Week of Advent:

Monday: Zechariah 6:12-13
Tuesday: Micah 5:2-4
Wednesday: Malachi 3:1-6
Thursday: John 1:1-8
Friday: John 1:9-18
Saturday: Mark 1:1-3
Sunday: Luke 1:5-13

As you read through these I would like your help for my Sermon on Sunday the 14th. The title is Christ Presents, instead of Christmas Presents, which make us think of what's under the tree the morning of the 25th. I'd like you to remember with me that the original gift of Christmas was Christ himself, coming to be with us.

Using the readings above, what are we called to do to Present Christ? I will be interested in your answer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Finding Jesus in Christmas and Advent

More than any other activity, Advent can restore Jesus to the center of Christmas by reading and studying the Biblical passages related to Christ's coming. The following passages are for the first week of advent:

Monday: Isaiah 52:7-10
Tuesday: Isaiah 40: 9-11
Wednesday: Genesis 3:8-15
Thursday: Genesis 15: 1-6
Friday: Deuteronomy 18: 15-19
Saturday: Psalms 89:1-4
Sunday: Isaiah 11:1-10

Together this week these passages tell a story of a joyful, comforting, steadfast love, joy and peace coming into the world. Try reading and mediatating on each one this week and let me know what you've learned.

Grace and Peace,


P.S. Thanks to Susan Mills for this idea!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Advent Adventure

A few of you agreed with my last blog that Advent is worth the wait primarily because it's penitent, patient invitation is a welcome correction to this hectic, crazy season. My own monastic tendencies do find comfort in the contemplative waiting Advent encourages, but that needs to be balanced with what we are waiting for. Advent means "arrival," and the Biblical expectation of the Messiah, from Isaiah, to the Magnificat, to John the Baptist, to Jesus' intention to return at the end of the age, promises to shake things up. Hills become valleys, lions lie down with lambs, the poor are fed while the rich are sent away empty. Are we really ready for that?

In that sense Advent reminds me of an astronaut waiting in the ready room for take off. It can be a long time in that ready room as the rockets are checked and double checked, but when it is ready to blast off, hold on to your space helmet! We are waiting patiently, reverently, in Advent for God's new, prophesied order to finally come in true peace and joy. So far it's been a long wait and since no one knows the day or the hour who can say how much longer? When it comes however, it will be a blast!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Is Advent Worth the Wait?

Advent, which begins on Sunday, November 30th this year, is the most unpopular liturgical season. One problem is that most Christians don’t know what Advent is -- that it begins the Christian year with focus on the nativity. The liturgical color is purple, because that is the color of royalty and the color of penance and preparation. Historically Advent and Lent were connected to remind Christians of the connection between the manger and the cross, humble birth and humiliating death.

That brings up the second problem with Advent’s unpopularity. Who wants to be patiently penitent during the Christmas season in a fast-paced culture that is used to fast service and “having it your way?” Who wants to be somber and reverent when joyful Christmas decorations and cheery music have been hanging up and playing before Thanksgiving?

Here is my simple question to you: Is Advent worth the wait?

Please blog back and let me know what you think by clicking on "comments" below: