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Showing posts from December, 2012

Born that We No More May Die

I’m having trouble sleeping these days. Part of it is the late stage of being pregnant, but the other part is the pictures that keep running through my mind.
The first is picture of a friend of mine, her significant other and their baby, a baby who was stillborn last week, just before full-term. In the picture, she is clutching the baby, wrapped up, close to her chest and her SO is leaned over them both, his head touching hers and his eyes on the baby. It is a nativity to behold. 
The second image is the Pietà, Michaelangelo’s to be specific. I keep thinking of this image in connection with the violent deaths of the children of Sandy Hook, Connecticut. It is likely that most of those parents were not able to cradle the bodies of their babies- stopped from doing so because of the cause of death and the condition of the bodies. Thus, I think of that image of Mary cradling the grown Jesus and remembering in her mind how she held him so many times before. I know those parents are remembe…

Dressed for Joy (Sermon 12/16)

Isaiah 61:1-11

How many of you know the adage, “Wear clean underwear, because you never know when you’ll be in an accident”? While I do not want to know how many of you follow that rule, I suspect many of you think about what you wear each day. Am I dressed or ready for the car to break down? Am I dressed or ready if I had to sit for a while and wait? Am I dressed and ready for walking around the store, getting gas, watching a toddler, changing a tire, having lunch with a friend?
This is a question I ask myself all the time. Especially as the number of clothes I have that fit begins to dwindle, I ask myself, “Is this what I want to be wearing for a hospital visit? For an emergency call? For pastoral authority in the office?” Sometimes I’m not dressed, or I don’t feel like I am, for what I need to do.
On Friday, after the initial shock of the news out of Connecticut, I was thinking about opening the church into the evening for prayers. When I decided to do that, I was wearing jeans and …

Advent Ache (Sermon 12/9)

Joel 2:12-13, 28-29

Here’s the funny thing about Christmas- the holy days, not the holiday- it’s the shortest church season we have. Even if Lent starts early, Epiphany is still longer than 12 days. Lent is forty days. The Easter season is fifty days. The season of Pentecost or Ordinary Time goes on past twenty weeks. Advent is four weeks. Christmas, as church season, is short.
Many of us get tired of seeing the Christmas things all around us long before we show up to mark the birth of the Savior and our true expectation of God’s completion of that good work in Christ’s return. Christmas can get old before it gets here and yet we’re uncertain what to do with Advent. (How many have Advent wreaths in their homes?)
Frankly, I’m feeling very Advent. I go into Safeway and I hear, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Yet all I can think about is the number of suicides that have been in the news this week.
I enter Fred Meyer and hear: “I really can’t stay (Baby, it’s cold outside). I g…

Advent Lions (Sermon 12/2)

Daniel 6:6-27
Talk to me about the war on Christmas. How many of you are having a hard time finding Christmas decorations? How many of your family members have met you in back alleys to exchange cards, hoping to be undetected? Other than the icy roads, who was worried about coming here today? Has anyone been so deluged by Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa commercialism that they just felt unable to get a word in edgewise for the Christmas holiday? Anyone?
It is hard for me to listen to rhetoric about the “war on Christmas” and think about religious persecution around the world that happens today, both to Christians and non-Christians. It’s hard for me to listen to rants about the “war on Christmas” and to read about Daniel at the same time. Here is a story about real persecution and real faith. A story about a young Jewish exile, likely born in Babylon, never having seen Jerusalem… he serves under four kings, the first two of which change his name- not calling him by his Hebre…