Showing posts from December, 2009

1 Christmas

How do you begin to imagine the Word made flesh? How does the Word in the flesh come to life in your life? For me that may be a good book that ignites my imagination, takes my brain into places it hasn’t been before, it is in the people I know and the stories they tell. It is also in music.

When I read these words from the beginning of the gospel of John, it is a symphony that I hear. I hear a perfect note as the music begins. The choirmaster at my seminary said that the note most common in nature is a G. As this symphony begins, I imagine it is a G that sings into existence the rest of the story. Music is organic; as is the Love of God. It is in every fiber of creation, the stones shout it out, the wind hums the word, the rain keeps the beat, the grace and truth of Christ is made real in the dance of the spheres.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Every time I hear these words from John I hear the language of music. Sometimes for me the lan…

Christmas Eve 2009

Alleluia. To us a child is born: Come let us adore him. Alleluia. This is an amazingly meager set of words to proclaim the event that has changed us forever, the inbreaking of God into our world. "It happened while they were there that her term was up and the days were completed for her to deliver. She delivered her son, the firstborn. And she wrapped him up and placed him in a feed trough because there was no place of lodging for them anywhere else." Certainly an inauspicious set of circumstances in comparison to the cultural celebration of Christmas we witness today. No snowy winter, no animals overlooking the baby's crib, not even a stable, no innkeeper crying out "no room". But then, the inbreaking of God’s kingdom is announced by a rather spectacular appearance to the shepherds by an angel doing what an angel does—delivering a message. At the appearance of the angel, the shepherds respond with fear.

How do we get from the simplicity and grittiness of the f…

4 Advent Yr C

Our King and Savior now draws near: Come let us adore him. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. I was wondering with my group of pastor friends the other day about what it would be like if we greeted one another in this way. Each of us are God-bearers, just like Mary and Elizabeth, should we not greet one in expectation and hope? Our advent waiting draws us ever closer to fulfillment.

Elizabeth, barren and too old to conceive, Mary, too young to conceive, both of these child-bearings are inconceivable. Our response to this inconceivable conception calls forth Holy Imagination. I turn to one of my favorite writers, Madeleine L’Engle, when I ponder these things. She writes in a book called Bright Evening Star, “It is not that in believing the story of Jesus we skip reason, but that sometimes we have to go beyond it, take leaps with our imagination, push our brains further than the normally used parts of them are used to going.” She goes on to write “I had t…

3 Advent Yr C

Advent is a time of active waiting in expectation for the birth of a baby, and for the fulfillment of the hope that began with Jesus’ death on the cross and in the resurrection. Advent gives us the opportunity to listen carefully for the voice of the one who is calling us to repentance and to transformation, to a new way of faithfulness to the God who is already extending grace and suspending judgment before we ask. Advent is about living into the fullness of God’s grace. We are invited to make our decision to follow Jesus, and that invitation comes not just once for a lifetime, but in every moment we live. That is what faithfulness is; it is not necessarily about being on the right path or divining the right plan. It is not the reward at the end, and it is not the romantic and nostalgic worship of a baby, but it is the active anticipation and expectation that Jesus is here with us now, and is transforming our lives in the present, while gathering humanity to redemption and fulfillmen…