Showing posts from December, 2019

Feast of the Holy Family, 2019

One of my favorite windows in here is this one facing forward that most of you can’t see from where you’re sitting. It’s an image of the Holy Family. Most Holy Family images are sort of like posed photos, Mary holding Jesus and Joseph behind them with his arms around them or something like that. I love those! But this one’s a little different, more like a candid moment; just the three of them caught at an ordinary moment at home in Nazareth. They are each shown involved in their own activity. Joseph is at his workbench holding an ax or splitter, Mary has some kind of weaving, and Jesus is maybe ten or twelve years old. Some images show Jesus helping Joseph with his work, which I’m sure happened a lot and makes a beautiful scene, but in this window He’s studying a book. The book is itself anachronistic, but the artist’s point is to show Him studying and spending time with the Scriptures that He would be constantly quoting later in life. So they’re occupied with their own things,

His Sovereign Choice: Christmas 2019

Can I invite you on a little journey of imagination? You’re in a room all decorated — not very hard to imagine this time of year! — picture the twinkling lights and the decorated tree, hangings and glitter, streamers and shimmer. The room is packed full of people decorated just as brightly, and smiling even brighter still. Everyone’s holding a glass of warm spiced wine, eggnog or hot chocolate, and their laughter fills the space. The warmth from a glowing fire flushes your cheeks, and highlights the smell of evergreen and the spices of the abundant food always within reach. There are musicians in the corner, the happy good cheer of their songs just audible beneath the happy sounds of happy people. You feel welcome and a smile sits effortlessly and permanently on your face. There is a peace here, and a joy, and you feel like life is pretty great after all. And it is, a lot of the time, for a lot of the people. There are problems in the world and there are sorrows past and more to come,

Questions... and answers. 3rd Sunday of Advent

It would be poignant from anyone; from John the Baptist, it’s breathtaking. “Are you the one we’ve been waiting for, or should we look for another?” No matter how many times I read or hear this, there is something breathtaking about it. John is… well, he’s John , he’s the greatest among the Prophets, the Forerunner, the Harbinger, the Herald, the cousin of Jesus, the soon-to-be martyr. That was all in perfect focus in John’s most defining moment as he pointed across the Jordan River and said “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” But that was then, that bright glorious day with Jesus in plain view in front of him, and this is a very different moment. John is in jail. He’s in a place of darkness and shadow, a place where Jesus is far away, a place where the price is being paid in solitude and silence. He is here because of Jesus. Soon he will die. John is a man who has staked everything on Jesus. He has staked everything on the man he is now asking: “Are

The Measure of the Man: 2nd Sunday Advent

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Albert Einstein said, “The true measure of a man is the degree to which he has subjugated his ego.” Robert Savage said, “you can measure a man by the opposition it takes to discourage him.” It’s the age of the internet, so you should probably assume that every quote you ever hear is fake. But these, real or not, all get at what I love and admire in the man God chose to raise Jesus. St. Joseph is the focus of the Advent devotional books we gave out. I’m even doing the journaling, which is unusual for me, but it’s always good to try something a little outside your groove! The author admits that for much of his life, St. Joseph was merely a mild-looking statue holding a flower. If that’s true for many of us, then there’s a great surprise waiting when we start getting to know the actual man.

Running to Meet the Christ: 1st Sunday Advent

Happy Advent everyone! It is my very favorite liturgical season and I love diving in headfirst — because you have to, because it’s so short. If you’re slow getting into it it’ll be half over. So let’s do it! Let’s really do Advent this year, make it about more than a decorating scheme or a passive waiting period. I’ve heard so many 1st-Sunday-of-Advent homilies about "waiting." Mmmm… I guess. But you have to understand the kind of waiting we’re doing. We had a little ritual with the family dog where we’d give him a treat when we came home. We’d hold the treat up and tell Sam: “waaaait………” and he’d have to sit back and be still and patient before we dropped it, sitting there so excited that he was just twitching, and I guess this was teaching patience or discipline… or something, come to think of it I’m not quite sure what the point was, but he had to prove he was really good at waiting before he got the treat. For some of us I worry that this is all the meaning we find