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Showing posts from December, 2014

Restarting the Echoes of Christmas

(A Communion meditation based on Luke 2:22-40 for the 1st Sunday after Christmas Day 2014)

It was forty days after the birth of Jesus and the praise of the angels and of the shepherds was still echoing. In our text we hear it echoing in the words of two elderly people who had faithfully throughout their long lives waited and watched expectantly for God to act in the coming of the Messiah.

A few questions:

Are we looking for God to reveal the Messiah in whatever ways God chooses to reveal him?

Are we dedicating our lives to living in the light of his past, present, and future comings?

Are we proclaiming with our lives the presence of Christ in the world and in our lives?

Are the echoes of the Christmas event still echoing in our lives?

Mary and Joseph, in obedience to the teaching of their tradition, brought Jesus when he was forty days old to the Temple to be dedicated to the Lord. There they encountered Simeon and Anna, both of whom were well up in years. Simeon took the baby…

Be Born In Us Today

(A sermon based on Luke 1:26-38 for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 2014)

Mary seems to have resolved in a few minutes a matter that some of us have been trying to resolve for a lifetime: can I receive Christ into my life?

I’m going to say that what happened in Mary can in a sense happen in us. But first, let’s note that there are at least two crucial differences between Mary and us (beyond the really crucial difference that she was the mother of the Christ child and we are not).

The first difference has to do with the state of our spirit.

We may have been trying to get Christ to come into our life; we may even have been doing so to a point that we have become anxious about it. Mary, on the other hand, made no effort and expended no energy; she was just going about the activities of her life when suddenly she learned that Christ had come to her. The coming of Christ into Mary’s life was, in other words, a gift of God’s grace and not a reward for some kind of super piety on her part. O…

Where is the Rebel Church?

(A sermon based on Luke 1:46b-55 for the 3rd Sunday of Advent 2014)

Something’s not right.

The rich keep getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer. Every three years the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances; the most recent survey in 2013 revealed that the average pre-tax income for those Americans in the top 10% in terms of wealth rose by 10% from 2010-2013 while the average pre-tax income for Americans in the bottom 40% declined. The study reveals that in America no one is getting richer except for the rich.

In the United States in 2013, 45.3 million people (14.5 percent) were in poverty while 14.7 million (19.9 percent) children under the age of 18 were in poverty. 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children; households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20 percent compared to 12 percent.

Here in 2014, 225 years after …

People Get Ready

(A sermon based on 2 Peter 3:8-15a for the 2nd Sunday of Advent 2014)

Given the myriad problems faced by those of us living here on Earth, it is only natural that we who are looking for the return of Jesus Christ wonder why God is taking so long to send him back. After all, it’s been 2000 years now since he was here the first time. Would it make you feel any better to know that people were already wondering about that just a few decades after the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus? Well, they were. Why? I can think of at least three reasons.

First, the memory of the Church was that Jesus had seemed to imply that he would come back soon, maybe even within a generation. Second, people are by nature impatient. Third, people have a misconception of what time is and especially of how God relates to time.

The truth about time, according to the science of physics, is that it’s relative. Einstein theorized and all physicists now agree that time is relative to how fast or slo…