A Multitude of Ruptures

The post for the 4th Sunday in Advent is Jim McCoy’s post from 2012.

The word “preachy” has never been a complimentary term, even less so these days. The ministers rightly highlighted in the national news who have been doing their vital and admirable work are described as “compassionate, not preachy.” Those of us who not only have to preach but believe we should preach have been faced with how in God’s name do we preach the last two Sundays of Advent 2012, and how to do so in such a way in which compassion and preaching are not pitted against each other.

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Season of Anxiety

Third Sunday of Advent

Zephaniah 3:14-20
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18

One of the high-water marks of 20th century culture, an event that I revisit every year, is the 1965 television special A Charlie Brown Christmas. The fact that it continues to air fifty years after its premiere lets me know that I’m not alone in this assessment. And while the conclusion, when Linus strides onto the stage to remind Charlie Brown and all those gathered in the school gym “What Christmas is really all about,” might be the most rousing part of the short film, the opening scenes also speak in a pretty powerful way to the human condition. Read more


Waiting in a Violent Time

It has not been a peaceful Advent. The news of the past several weeks has been filled with guns, violence, death, and fear. What might we be required to surrender as we wait for the Lord? Who needs to change? Here are two reflections that use this Sunday’s Advent lectionary readings as a starting place: one by Matt Morin, and the other from Fritz Bauerschmidt.


Make Peace

Second Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:68-79
Luke 3:1-6

I’d bet that many of you, like me, keep a to-do list or three to prepare for the Christmas season. It’s busy, with priority to any of the following in a given week: light stringing, card sending, cookie baking, tree decorating, gift shopping/wrapping/exchanging, party hosting, open house attending, feasting with friends/family/colleagues. There might even be a few extra church services on the calendar and a parade or two.

In the second week of our liturgical season of preparation (Advent), Luke gives us opportunity to consider who we prepare for and the implications for Christians located in a consumer capitalist, xenophobic, racist, increasingly oligarchic 21st-century nation-state that glorifies violence (have you sung the National Anthem lately?).

Zechariah, priest and prophet, proclaims that his son, John, is Jesus’ opening act. He’ll “go before the Lord to prepare his ways,” i.e. forgiveness, mercy, light, and peace. (1:76-79)

Peace. It’s a welcome word for a world rife with violence, fear, oppression, terror. The global catalogue of injustice and brutality is lamentable and long and lengthening. You no doubt can add to it examples from your own community, household, or congregation. Read more