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Showing posts from December, 2014

Be Not Afraid (aka, What if-?)

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"Let not your heart be troubled, Be Not Afraid. Heaven and earth have been gathered, Be Not Afraid." - Advent sending song and Christmas Eve welcome song, LNPC 2014
John 1:1-5
Imagine you are God, and you love this gorgeous world you’ve made, and especially you adore all these creatures made in your image, to care for each other and this world. Imagine you’ve made it all to work together in this crazy, intricate, symbiotic relationship, where nobody is able to do it alone, and everyone needs each other, and all have a part to play, and the animals and plants and human beings are interconnected in this giant web of teeming, joy-filled life that fills you with delight.
Only, the humans get afraid. Afraid that maybe you won’t accept them the way they are, and you’ll want them to do or be something different first. Afraid that maybe the person on the left and right might actually be better, more important, than they are. Afraid that in fact there isn’t enough to go around, so they’…

The way of love (not good-person-ness)

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Matthew 1:1-17:

Matthew 1:18-25

On this third week of Advent, on the very threshold of Christmas, we are about to be reminded that we’ve made something sweet, tame and mild out of what is really a very messy, scandalous, painful and strange story.We’ve soaked it in sentiment and preserved it in tinsel and wrapped and smothered it in hefty layer of consumerism, and now it barely resembles what it was, or rather, we’re no longer able to hear or see it for what it still is.
But we’re going to try. For the next few minutes, we’re going to set all of it down, the shopping and baking and relatives and expectations and presents and nit-picky pressure, and everything else, and we are going to listen to the text and let the Holy Spirit show us a thing or two about the alternative narrative, the Kingdom of God reality that shines through our scriptures today.
Joseph. A good person, a righteous man, the text says.He was minding his own business. He didn’t ask for any of this; he did not volunteer. H…

The Way of Joy

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Isaiah 42:1-9
Joy! Joy is the sneaky preview of the Kingdom of God. It’s a moment of accepting the gift of being alive, reveling in it, trying it on and feeling its fabric enfold you. It is perspective and gratitude, but not the thoughtful, serious kind, the kind that makes you want to burst out in exuberance and throw yourself at God for a giant bear hug.
Joy is the experience of total alignment and delight that makes you want to erupt into unsophisticated laughter.We once talked together aboutjoy as “premembering” – remembering the future.It only comes upon you when you’re right here, fully present, and then suddenly it takes you by surprise, grabs hold and pulls you to the window and says, Look! Look how beautiful it all is! Isn’t it amazing?!Joy is a brief anchoring in the Big Picture, a sudden, unexpected taste of the real reality.
This Advent, each week we are contrasting the Way of Fear with the Way of God.The two competing scripts, narratives that vie to direct our lives, that we’…