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A Wish and a Promise: Christmas 2020

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 Merry Christmas! I hope it really is, for you. “Merry” is kind of a single-use word; we basically never say it except in front of the word “Christmas.” What are we wishing each other? It’s not the same as ‘happy’, like the English or Spanish say, or ‘joyful,’ like the French say. ‘Merry’ is more of a mood; it’s that light-hearted, uplifted, all-is-well kind of feeling. It’s maybe shallower than happiness in a way, and much shallower than joy, but it’s so nice when you have it. Maybe this year we need merriment more than usual. That means conquering the gloom. Gloom can be heavy; but for most people nothing has more upward lifting power, against that heaviness, than Christmas. I’ve heard different conversations about people’s favorite Christmas songs, and Christmas movies, and opinions vary but there’s a little common ground. Every reasonable person agrees that The Muppet Christmas Carol is fantastic, and that Little Saint Nick is horrid. And you won’t find many people who don’t like

Our Religion In 19 Words: 30th Sunday OT

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Invited and Pursued: 28th Sunday OT

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A Cliffhanger Parable: 27th Sunday OT

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 Did you notice anything about the Gospels of the last three Sundays? In case you didn’t catch it, that makes three consecutive Sundays of Jesus telling parables about vineyards. Two weeks ago it was the owner who hired people throughout the day, and paid the latecomers the full wage just like the early risers. Last week it was the two sons he asked to work in his vineyard, the first of whom said “no” but changed his mind and went, and the second who said “yes” but didn’t follow through. And now this, making it a trilogy of vineyard parables, all from Matthew 20 and 21. It’s a sort of climax of the three, this bracing story about the tenants of the vineyard who are not just wicked, but bizarrely, inexplicably so. This, the parable makes clear, is the story of the endlessly broken Covenant by God’s people. In the next chapter of Matthew Jesus will say, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill prophets and stone those who are sent to you!” Finally, the owner of the vineyard sends his son, wit

Today: 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

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It's Mercy or It's Hell. 24th Sunday Ordinary Time

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The Army at the Gates: 21st Sunday OT

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