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Showing posts from December, 2012

Prayer for a new year

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Standing on the threshold, all we’ve left undone smirking in our periphery, all we carry with us a finger’s breath away, waiting, waiting. Unfinished business clings heavy, disappointment, pressure, expectations straining at the seams. And what we would love to step out of and leave behind in an unwashed heap on the floor abandoning on tipsy tiptoe, light and free. It’s all right here, balanced, but barely, on the threshold.
One day is pretty much the same as the last.  Let’s not kid ourselves. One day is completely new and  altogether different. Anything can happen. Anything. We belong to you.  (Pause and take it in. It’s beyond taking in, really. Just pause, then, as near the reality as you can stand for as long as you can stand it). You. Outside time, but entering all olds and news, permeating every yesterday and each today, inhabiting already all tomorrows, before they come upon us, unannounced but right on schedule. You. To whom we belong.
Meet us here, Holy One, on thi…

How Love Comes

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John 1:1-5, 10-14, 18 (Matthew 1:18-23)
Listen to "First Coming," by Madeleine L'Engle.
God did not wait till the world was ready, Till ...nations were at peace. God came when the heavens were unsteady, and prisoners cried out for release.
God did not wait for the perfect time. God came when the need was deep and great. God dined with sinners in all their grime, turned water into wine.
God did not wait till hearts were pure. In joy God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt. To a world like ours, of anguished shame God came, the Light that would not go out.
God came to a world which did not mesh, to heal its tangles, shield its scorn. In the mystery of the Word made Flesh the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane to raise our songs with joyful voice, for to share our grief, to touch our pain, God came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Love comes in.  This is the beginning, again.   The Holy Spirit that hovered over the waters at creation hovers over Mary, and over …

Praying in Times of Tragedy: some ideas

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This was shared Sunday, December 16 during worship, as we came together in prayer.  It is connected with the message Everything is Broken, and Flashes of Light.
We may feel, in one way or another, so overwhelmed by tragedy that we don’t know how to pray.  And not only do we not know how to pray for a tragedy, it also sometimes keeps us from praying for anything else. We don't know where we fit. Any needs we have may seem to pale in comparison. Anything happening in our neighborhood or home is nothing next to the sadness and horror of losing everything. So we become afraid to bring up prayers in our own lives because they don’t seem important enough.It is all important.
We also, naturally, don’t want such horrible tragedy to touch us.  So sometimes we hold these tragedies at arm’s length with our prayers, not intentionally, but it’s too much to take in.  We pray for the people in Connecticut, for Syria and Egypt and Iraq and Haiti and the homeless people in our own town. We pray for

Everything is Broken...

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Philippians 4:4-7, Luke 1:39-45
I think it’s safe to say we are all in shock.  Our hearts are so heavy with grief, confusion and anger, for the suffering of families in Newtown, Connecticut.  And I want you to know that all of these feelings are absolutely appropriate and welcome in this place where we come together in the presence of God. Their reality seems to hover underneath everything else at the moment, and we are not sure what to do with it. The sadness and horror can be paralyzing.  And yet we cannot turn away.  Turning away would feel like abandoning them – not that we are actually WITH them anyway. We’re just watching their nightmare from afar, glued to every news story, every image, every facebook link, hovering in a state of despair, hopelessness and dismay.  What are we to do?
My sister yesterday was observing that for the vast scope of history, even a hundred years ago, people mostly only knew about what happened in their own community. If a tragedy happened far away it cou…

Peace Not Possible

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Luke 1:57-79
Zechariah was old, and Elizabeth was old.  This is another one of those impossible stories, where God comes through barren wombs and to people who had long given up expecting it.   Elizabeth bore this secret for five months and shared it with Mary when she visited in her six month and the baby John leapt in her womb at the sound of Mary’s voice.   And Zechariah was struck completely dumb for the duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy because he had outright questioned the angel when the news was announced to him.  How can this be?This thing you say is coming, is not possible.  But here it is.  The time has now come. The baby is arriving.
And Zechariah has had a long, quiet nine months to ponder these things, an enforced peace if you will, with plenty of space for internal dialogue and personal thought and prayer.  What does all of this mean? could have been his constant companion.
If hope is somehow trusting in the promise that wrongs will be made right, that life will be as it was m…

Hope, Wild and Beautiful

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Luke 21:25-36
How’s that for jarring? Merry Christmas!  As we settle in to anticipate the birth of our Lord and linger in hope and peace, joy and love, we are slapped in the face with this dire and frightening passage.  Welcome to Advent.  This is the week of HOPE!
“Advent” means coming, it is anticipation and waiting, eager longing and looking forward.  So today we begin to intentionally look forward to Christmas.
I’m just getting my head in the Christmas game.  Last year, I was all prepared in advance, Advent protected by presents bought and wrapped before Thanksgiving, but not really this year. We’ll get our tree today and take out the decorations, and I’ll probably start my baking this week. And I am dearly craving snow and holiday cheer and Christmas music. And I want Christmas to either be peaceful and joyful, or at least frenzied and fun – a sense of busy cheer, and giving, and good will towards all people.  No too much to ask, I don’t think.
But not this, please. Let’s not start …