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

Living Out of Control

First Sunday of Advent

Luke 21:25-36

Advent begins with reminding us that we are not in control. Since we are a people who value control, when we begin to feel as if we are losing it, we become fearful. Read more

What Sort of Greeting?

Fourth Sunday of Advent

2 Samuel 7:1-11,16
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

 

The Christmas story has its own vocabulary. This week’s Gospel passage has been called the Annunciation, which means ‘announcement.’ Not in the sense of ‘before we get started, let me share a few announcements,’ but more like ‘we interrupt this program to bring you an important announcement.’

A mysterious messenger breaks into the life of a young, poor, unmarried woman, telling her she will have a baby. About the baby, Gabriel said, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David.” Read more

Like Those Who Dream

Third Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 16, Luke 1:46b-55
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

The recent events of injustice surrounding race in our country – nay, so many events in our recent news which embody a quality of brokenness capable of tearing any attentive heart – have perhaps eased the challenge of entering into Advent as a season of waiting and crying out for the presence of God in our midst.

The first Sunday of this season came just days after the most recent occasion for protests in Ferguson, MO and with those waiting for justice, we could stand in solidarity and cry like the first line from the Isaiah text for that week, “O that you would rend the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence!”

Perhaps anguish and an impetus to long expectantly have come more easily this year than others… Read more