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Shifting into Advent Mode

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Isaiah 40:1-11

We are living in a time of upheaval and struggle.Fires and floods and famines are not new, neither is war, nor corruption.But right now, the veneer is being stripped off of everything, and ugliness and pain is being revealed at every turn. Suffering and struggle is exposed, our hypocrisy and sin is right in front of us, and it feels maybe like everything is breaking down.It’s a strange time, a tense and wearying time.We’re all on edge, reactive, exhausted and short-fused.

But here comes Advent, right out in front of Christmas, bringing its on-purpose darkness like a blanket, gently laying it over us no matter what else is going on around us or within us. Advent doesn’t hold off to make sure we’re ready for it before it begins, and it doesn’t demand our attention with loud, frowning and urgency.  Instead, it comes steady and sure, rolling over us like a soft fog and inviting us into a different kind of being for a spell.
I once asked a Benedictine Monk about evil. Real, ter…

The parable continues...

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Following is an extension of the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. This midrash was used in one of our prayer stations at this week's worship. For a full sermon on this text, go here.  
Matthew 25:1-13

Ready or Not

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Matthew 25:1-13
Parable series: Week 4 (SeeWeek 1,Week 2 andWeek 3)
I grew up in a pretty messy home. I am not sure how it compared to other homes, though I wondered about this a lot, and felt a sneaking suspicion we were outstandingly untidy, like, maybe worse than everyone I knew. When you came over to our house for dinner, what you didn’t know is that several grueling hours of family scrambling went into getting things ready for you. Cleaning (which often meant stuffing things into drawers and cupboards where they couldn’t be seen), was frenzied and fraught, so that by the time you were casually welcomed in, we were exhausted and a little raw from the arguing. But you would never know it, because everything would look very nice, as long as you didn’t peek in my bedroom closet. When we visited other people’s houses, Ididpeek sometimes, in closets and cupboards, wondering if they had done the same thing we did before guests arrived, or if they lived in this state of order all the time.…