Category: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany

Third Sunday After Epiphany: The Epistles Passage – Inspiration and Authority where it should be

“Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” (I Corinthians 1:10) You probably haven’t notice beloved reader, I have been absent the past couple of days – one of the advantages of working ahead. I was down with a cold and not feeling well enough to write. I am on the mend now, thankfully, and so am trying to catch up with the writing. It is not an onerous task but a nice way to spend the next couple of evenings, contemplating scripture and writing to all of us.   […]

Before the Baptism of the Lord – Epiphany, Mine and Jesus’: All the Passages

(Prologue: I discovered Friday evening, for some reason, this did not post. Here it is, for your late night reading, or for early morning along with Saturday’s post.) Earlier this evening of the day I sat down to write, I had my own little “epiphany” – small letters. As you may remember, beloved reader, earlier this week I had survived a traumatic event. The actual event is less important than the fact that it shook me to my very core. And I was not sure where to go from that point, and how to get there. By the next day I could write with a little more strength, but still, I was feeling fragile, shaken, and not at all sure where to go from that point.  […]

Baptism of the Lord: First Sunday after Epiphany – The Gospel Passage: A Pat on the Head, so to speak

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.” (Matthew 3:13 – 15) This is part of the “after Epiphany” part, where Jesus’ ministry is starting but has already been alluded to as being for both Jew and Gentile. Jesus’ ministry would turn many things topsy-turvey, but at least for right now it is being done “properly” where the “evangelist” baptizes all comers. At some point further down the road of ministry Jesus will baptizes his followers with the more powerful baptism that John the Baptist points to in one telling of this story. […]

Week of – First Sunday After Christmas / New Year’s Day / Holy Name of Jesus Day; Calling on the Name of . . . . Everyone!

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” ( Galatians 4:4-7) There are three possibilities of name focus here; there is the name of Jesus Christ, which is the theme of the “Holy Name of Jesus Day”. Jesus as the Son of God was born about 2000 years and five days ago – according to way we celebrate his birth. The story of Jesus’ naming is told with different gospels stories each lectionary year, and each gospel gives a little different emphasis. The focus of each gospel, including this year’s, is that Jesus was named Jesus with all the meaning and portent involved. […]

Week of – First Sunday After Christmas / New Year’s Day / Holy Name of Jesus Day; Decisions, decisions, decisions!

There seems to be a wide variety of celebratory days for the week following Christmas. I guess having Christmas on a weekend, and a Sunday no less, tends to bunch up the occasions. So I am left with the task of which to choose. Should it be a “normal” Sunday? That would mean we look at Isaiah 63, Psalm 148, Hebrews 2 and Matthew 2. If I choose Holy Name of Jesus day we would look at Numbers 6, Psalm 8, Galatians 4 and Luke 2. And if I choose New Year’s Day that would mean Ecclesiastes 3, Psalm 8 (again), Revelation 21 and Matthew 25. The different choices whirled around in my head![…]

Christmas Cantata Reflections

I'm not exactly sure what draws me.
On a Friday night in early December with a myriad of other possible social events to go to, why do I choose to say no to parties and hanging out with friends?
If it's solitude I seek, why do I push my tired feet into high heels and join a crowded auditorium?
The Madrigals are performing their annual Christmas cantata, and I find myself debating which red outfit to wear, leaving extra early, and triple checking that I have cash to get in. I slow my pace to the steps of the older crowd, spot a friend to sit with and wait eagerly for forty minutes. Then, as they sing the ancient story in the context of the prophets and the cross, I try to control myself, but I'm soon leaning forward, tapping my feet, and mouthing the words unconsciously.
What makes this beautiful? the profoundness of ancient words juxtaposed with powerful new music? the thrill of high soprano notes and crazy piano runs? the pause before the crescendo? the awe that vanishes the week’s worries and awakens me like a caffeine jolt?
The closing reprise is sung far too soon, and I ask myself again: What did I want from this hour? Why did I come?
My answer doesn't seem quite rational or explainable --even to myself. It's simply this: I came to experience God.
Experiences are often spoken of with disdain: Emotional decisions don't last. "Mountain highs" aren't real.
Yet, Christmas claims that experiencing God is possible. “Word becomes human. Light moves in. Divine glory touches earth.” (my paraphrase of John 1). An infant invites us to touch, hear and see Him.
Immanuel. God with us. God in us.
An experience.

YES, Jesus was born to die…but that’s not the only reason He came

The Following views are my own and do not reflect those of MennoNerds, its associates or its  affiliates.  Merry Christmas to all of my faithful readers.  It is now approaching midnight where I live and my stomach is full from a lovely turkey dinner and my heart overflowing from laughter and good conversations.  I hope that like me, you also had a marvellous celebration of Christ’s birth along with some good company during all your festivities! […] Continue reading →

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