Advent Darkness

Luke 1:68-79The Second Sunday of Advent – for December 6, 2015

“Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness . . .” (Luke 1:78-79)

NightIn the song of Zechariah, the stunned—but not speechless—father of the future John the Baptizer announced, “The dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in the darkness.”

But I’m not so willing to abandon darkness.

Maybe I’m thinking about the dark because of Barbara Brown Taylor’s “Learning to Walk in the Dark.” With questions and curiosities, Taylor wonders why Christians (and others) dread the dark. She writes,

[W]hen we run from darkness, how much do we really know about what we are running from? If we turn away from darkness on principle, doing everything we can to avoid it because there is simply no telling what it contains, isn’t there a chance that we are running from God?

Can Advent, a journey toward light, also be a journey of divine darkness? Continue reading →

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On Paris

. . . to bring peace to another person . . .

You probably wouldn’t care about my opinions on Paris and the horror that happened in the City of Light. You probably don’t care about my views on the American drones continuously overhead in Syria where children no longer play (and other places less familiar and equally vulnerable and equally under attack). You have your opinions; I have mine. Some of us disagree, some of us cry, some of us lust for revenge, some of us prefer to close our doors and not think about anything.

But here’s one thought of mine that I hope you might care about . . .

Today (and every day) I will do something to bring peace to another person. I will make every effort not to lie, harm, belittle, bully, humiliate, or ignore another person. I will be, for Christ’s sake, a peacemaker. I will be—with the Muslim friends I love, and Jewish neighbors I have yet to meet, and so many others who are different from me and yet the same as me—someone others can trust. I will not advocate for borders with walls built on fear, or choose weapons as a way to solve problems. Walls only create wounds. Bullets and bombs don’t care who they kill.

I will choose love. I will choose mercy. I will choose hope. I will choose forgiveness until the day I die.

It’s just my opinion. But, I promise you, it’s what I will do.

(I also posted this on my Facebook page a few days ago . . .)

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Apocalyptic Figs

Luke 21:25-36The First Sunday of Advent – for November 29, 2015

“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near . . .” (Luke 21:29-30)

ficus carica
ficus carica

Anticipating signs for the so-called second coming, Jesus gestured toward a fig tree in Luke’s Gospel. When the tree sprouted, “summer is near.” Likewise, the powers of heaven will be shaken and soon people would witness . . . the “Son of Man coming on a cloud.”

But for me, maybe the Bible’s, er, wrong! Evidence of our approaching winter (not summer) has been confirmed by the sprouting of a fig tree along the route of my typical morning walk. A few strides from home, inching toward the sky, is a random ficus carica. It grows. It sprouts leaves. And now, with winter near, with Advent upon us, with Jesus’ cautionary comments about figs rattling ‘bout my lectionary wonderings, I see the first fig fruits emerging.

Yikes! A warning! A warning? Continue reading →

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