A Highway of Liberation: A #BlackLivesMatter Sermon for Advent

BlackLivesMatter

The past month has made it abundantly clear that black people in this country suffer the fate of the exiled: those who live in an Empire as conquered, imprisoned, displaced, and invisible to the dominant institutions of power. What does Isaiah’s prophecy to the exiles of his day have to say in our moment?Raymond Arsenault tells the following story in his book Freedom Riders: The Supreme Court had ruled against segregation in interstate travel and facilities, and yet no one had tested how t … [Read more...]

This Advent, Think Different. What Is GOD Waiting For?

be the change

It’s Advent again. This is the time, leading up to Christmas, when we reflect upon the thousand storylines of prophecy through the centuries that moved in solemn procession toward that One climactic event; the incarnation, the birth of Jesus. We reflect upon the convergence of those storylines culminating in this one Messianic babe. Every sacrifice, from Abel’s altar to the last Passover lamb before the Passion, paved the Messiah’s path. Often, during Advent we use this time to refle … [Read more...]

Advent at the Movies

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In a move that launched us into 1997, our family recently started a Netflix subscription.  The kids needed something for Friday Night Movie Nights, Dad needs to catch up on some films to maintain some shred of cultural currency, and Mom likes to fall asleep to Call The Midwife (while I remain rapt and wide awake at this excellent BBC series).  It’s been a fun adventure having a zillion movies right under your right thumb.  One film that everyone else has already seen that I’ve just recently watc … [Read more...]

May Christmas be Filled with Mouse Poop and Camel Spit By Randy S. Woodley

StainedGlassNativity

In this cynical and snarky world in which we live, we are getting pretty good at diagnosing the problems in the world, sometimes even to the point of paralysis. We blog about them, we read about them, (many Christians today would like to read themselves into Heaven),we discuss what's wrong with the world and we even preach about them. Being informed is not a bad thing but it is often the only thing we do. Our Western worldview has come to equate knowledge with real spirituality. I would like to … [Read more...]

God the Father and Embryo

Pieter de Grebber, Father God c.1645

Advent suggests so many mysteries of God's patience. One rarely commented case is God as Father and embryo. It is extra Biblical so imagination can only begin to tell the bizarre tale. Gabriel's annunciation and appearance to Joseph begins the period of waiting and soul searching, but a remarkable gap exists in the Advent story.  Luke 1:56 makes this cursory remark as though it would suffice:Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. Presumably the second … [Read more...]

Optional Advent

adv-con-banner_2

This being the season of Advent; I think it’s worth taking a moment to identify what the word “Advent” means. The word carries the following meanings:  the arrival of, the coming of, the emergence of.  The question is, “of what?”  What needed to arrive? What needed to emerge? What needed to come?  The easy answer is Jesus. But the deeper answer is, and always has been, Emmanuel - God with us!Let’s begin with “God with us”. With us! Who does that include? Does it include only those that unders … [Read more...]

There must be more

Alessandro Tiarini, The Repentance of Saint Joseph c.1619

The first Advent was rather private, rural, shameful. Nine months in the womb of a young girl. Angelic appearances. Hard to believe. Could it be true that this child is something more than a delusion or a miracle? Though a professed virgin, Mary's story seemed a bold faced lie to her parents and her community. She was engaged to Joseph -- a seemingly good man. And he buys her story, defending her shame. The waiting and watching biological processes emerging within her womb testify to the oddity … [Read more...]

The Annunciation – A Divinely Human Moment

Simone Martini, Annunciation 1333 C.E.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.The beautiful anonymity and soft innocence of a young girl in Nazareth would be stripped by an angelic visitation. Who could ever envision the global veneration soon to commence? This Holy Virgin of Martini's masterpiece cannot be Mary's vision. The gilded, enthroned Mother of God,  Bl … [Read more...]

Advent’s Economic Good News

It’s Advent, and I am waiting for Jesus, trying to keep my eyes open to see him when he shows up. I’ve committed to some particular prayers; I’m meeting one-on-one with each person in my community. I’m listening to the lectionary—listening for clues about where to look. The words of an ancient monk are on my mind: “he comes to us now in order that his future coming may find us prepared.”But I know all the stories about how religious people aren’t prepared. We fall asleep. We let the oil burn … [Read more...]

But How Amazing Is It That We Get To Help?

Bob and his beard.

This Advent we are looking at the Christmas story through the lens of the Mission of God. So, this last Sunday we got to walk through parts of Isaiah asking, "What will this Kingdom God is bringing thru Jesus look like?" We want to know, if God is about the rescue and renewal of the world, what will that encompass? And more, what's OUR part in the story?Words like peace, justice, fairness, wholeness and flourishing (shalom)... This is what we are promised God is bringing about even now- … [Read more...]


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