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Sunday
Jan102010

Keeping Connected

The baptism of Jesus in the waters of the Jordan is no minor occurrence in the ongoing story of God’s activity in creation. It is joined to many other stories in the Bible about God and water – the parting of the waters of creation, Noah and the flood, the parting of water for Israel to cross over, etc. Water is central to scripture, as central to scripture as it is to our bodies.

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Sunday
Jan032010

Who is the King?

Today’s Gospel text, the Epiphany text, is about the magi, also known as the wise men, also known as the three kings of orient according to the popular hymn. Now before I get started, let’s see if we have the story right: Three magi/wise men/ kings of orient one day see a star and decide to follow it, believing it to be some sort of divine sign. So the three load up their camels and begin a journey. As they get closer, they stop in to check with the local ruler about a child who has been born king. Now the local ruler, also known as King Herod, as we can imagine, was threatened by the tale of a child king. After all, a child king was a threat to Herod’s own kingship. Nonetheless, Herod pointed the magi/wise men/kings of orient toward Bethlehem. Their journey continues, the star leading the way, their excitement builds. They prepare their fine gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (whatever those are). The star stops over a stable in Bethlehem, and they enter and kneel before the King baby Jesus, along with the shepherds and the animals, and a heavenly host of angels hovering above. That’s about it, right? Well… sort of.

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Sunday
Dec202009

Here God Finds Me

This morning I want to spend a brief time simply enjoying the story of Mary and Elizabeth and what it might have to say to us in the living out of our days. I am relying on the writings of author Mary Redding who wrote a lovely book for the season of Advent called “While We Wait”, published in 2002. To begin – Let us consider Elizabeth, aunt to Mary, wife to the priest Zechariah, and mother to John the Baptist. According to the story she and her husband had waited a very, very long time for a child and by now had given up hope, but alas, miracle of miracles – she becomes pregnant with John. An older woman – what would that mean in those days, in her twenties perhaps? Elizabeth is six months along when the angel comes to visit young Mary. Now she is young – scholars suspect she is about 13 when she learns that she is pregnant with Jesus.

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Sunday
Dec062009

To Begin Again

Our reading from the Gospel of Luke begins with a list of political and religious leaders that were the big names at the time; it is the author’s way of placing the story of John the Baptist in history. It is his way of saying “this really happened and this is when it happened.” However, by the time the Gospel of Luke was actually written, all of these political and religious leaders are dead, while the stories of John the Baptist and Jesus persisted and even flourished. This would not be lost on Luke’s audience – it would be empowering. It would remind them that earthly powers pass away but divine power is eternal and life giving.

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Sunday
Nov292009

The Lord is Our Righteousness?

As Fall has turned to Winter, Americans everywhere gather at shopping malls and department stores around the country to celebrate spending and to shop until they drop. It’s as if shopping malls and department stores are our places of worship, and credit cards are the key to our righteousness as human beings. I’m not just saying this because I’m a minister. It’s a fact that Americans spend about one hour a week in a place of worship and about five hours a week shopping – And this doesn’t just mean high schoolers who hang out at the mall after school – don’t forget those hours we spend on eBay or Amazon.com or browsing through ads in our favorite magazines.

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