Showing posts from November, 2015

What is Advent?

What is Advent?

The word Advent comes from the Latin word for “coming”. It is a season that marks the beginning of the Church’s year. It starts on the 4th Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is a time when we emphasize the coming of Jesus Christ- past, present, and future. We remember Jesus who will be born on Christmas in an animal’s feeding trough to a people who were longing for God to rescue them through the expected Messiah. We yearn for God to come to us in our daily lives, especially through the Sacraments, Scripture, the community, and the needy. We also expect Jesus to come again in a unique way at the Second Coming when God comes to renew creation and defeat evil and corruption once and for all. Advent is a time of waiting, expectation, and longing. We remember Mary pregnant and longing to see her child which will bring her such profound joy. We prepare for Christ to come again recollecting that we have been given work to do as Christ’s Church in the w…

Will you be ready when he comes?

Jer 33:14-16 Luke 21:25-36

Today we are starting a new year in the church’s calendar. The Church year always begins with Advent. Advent is a season that brings a certain level of tension. Our culture is ready for Christmas, but in the church we are in Advent.

In Advent we think about Christ coming to us as a baby. We imagine Mary’s pregnant belly and her anticipation. So our Old Testament Reading includes the line, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jer 33:14-15). It is a prediction about Jesus’ coming. It is a time when we remember John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness to prepare the way for the one who was foretold.

But, we also imagine Christ coming to us again, this time in power and as judge. This is often called the 2nd …

Living in the Kingdom- Reign of Christ

Living in the Kingdom
Revelation 1:4-8
John 18:33-37

In Revelation, Jesus is described as “The ruler of the kings of the earth”. Revelation was written to a group of persecuted Christians. It’s a bit strange that the followers of the highest king would be enduring such difficulty. In John’s gospel Pilate confronts Jesus about being a king. Jesus admits he is a king, but ironically Jesus is on trial. The ruler of all kings (including Pilate) is in the process of being condemned to crucifixion. Strange thing to happen to the highest king.

In a world where hundreds are being terrorized by attacks like we have seen in Paris and Beirut and in Nigeria, what does it mean to say Christ is King? … A friend of mine died a few days ago. She was a runner and she had a brain tumor that resulted in one side of her body being mostly paralyzed. All she wanted to be was a mom, but she left behind two beautiful young girls in their late teens. The cancer took her. What does it mean to say Christ is Kin…

in times of destruction... wars and rumors of wars... Mark 13

Mark 13:1-13
When we look at what is happening in the world it can feel like we are on the verge of the end of time. Almost 130 people have been killed in the Paris attacks that we assume are connected to the Islamic State (ISIS). Recently, in Beirut (Lebanon) there was an attack that claimed the lives of 43. There have been massacres in the hundreds in Nigeria by the fanatical Islamic group Boko Haram. We see a constant stream of attacks all over the world in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Somalia, and the Philippines. In 2014 there were just over 30,000 deaths due to terrorist attacks. … On top of this, the news is frequently telling us about the increased frequency of natural disasters due to climate change and showing us the deadly results. This is often reported alongside the threats of Western economic collapse. .. Jesus said that there would be wars and rumors of wars. He said nation would rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. He said th…

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Psalm 127

Psalm 127
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
     those who build it labour in vain.
   Unless the Lord guards the city,
     the guard keeps watch in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
   and go late to rest,
   eating the bread of anxious toil;
   for he gives sleep to his beloved.
3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
   the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
   are the sons of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has
   his quiver full of them.
   He shall not be put to shame
   when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Today I want to look at Psalm 127. It is a short Psalm, but it holds a profound truth. Psalm 127 is one of only two Psalms that are connected to the name “Solomon”. Solomon, you might remember, was the Son of King David. When David died and Solomon took his father’s throne He asked God for wisdom (1 Kings 3:9). Solomon’s name is also connected to the Book of Proverbs, which are short teachings about li…

Halloween and Christianity

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9
Isaiah 25:6-9Revelation 21:1-6aJohn 11:32-44

In our readings this morning we hear a lot about the dead. First, our reading from the book of Wisdom speaks about those who seem to have died in the eyes of the foolish. It implies there is a hidden reality where the dead are alive in some way. Our reading from Isaiah mentions God’s destruction of death itself. The book of Revelation mentions a time when death will be no more. And in our Gospel reading Jesus calls his friend Lazarus out of the grave and back from death.

You have probably noticed a lot of images of death around lately. Tombstones and skeletons have been decorating shops and people’s houses. You probably had some representatives of death on your doorstep last night. Ghosts, maybe a Lazaurus-esque mummy, and a band of other ghoulish beings probably knocked at your door and demanded candy. It is a time when we are confronted with the mystery of death. But, it is usually a playful confrontation. The ske…