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Thanksgivings be made for everyone

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-2 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving (which you know, of course). And it is easy for us to be thankful, most of us, most of the time, for family and friends. But do we ever think, in terms of hope and salvation, of those people who lead us, particularly if we disagree with them? Do we give thanks for living in a countr

Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost

1 Samuel 1:4-20; 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25; Mark 13:1-8 What liturgical season begins two weeks from today? Right, Advent. And our church seasons are not for fanciness sake or some feeble attempt to make us look or feel important. Advent reminds us of the holy rise and fall of the year, reaching near its peak at Christmas only to be surpassed by the joy of Easter. We are currently in a season that one of my favorite preachers and theologians, Fleming Rutledge likes to call, “Pre-Advent,” and our readings are pushing us into Advent before we are ready, even against our will. We have been living in the tension of Advent for two thousand years, since the Ascension of Jesus

Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again

The story of Samuel’s mother, Hannah, is the foundation of this week’s OT and response (instead of the usual Psalm). 1st Samuel tells the story of Hannah’s inability to conceive a child and the shame, sadness, and isolation she feels in the society in which she lives. For Hannah, as a woman living around 1000 BCE, having children (particularly a son) was seen as her purpose. It seems terribly unfair and sexist now, of course, but Hannah’s infertility was not just sad for her, it made her the butt of jokes and less than those around her with children. We are, as a world, perhaps, waking up the knowledge that there are many people who have been forced to live in isolation; people who are, more

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17; Psalm 127; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44 I don’t think any of us would deny that we live in a world of anxiety. And what’s more, we are so often anxious, unconsciously, about the idea we are not enough. We are not capable enough, good-looking enough, thin enough, hard-working enough … we are not enough. And the world does much to feed our anxiety and feelings of “not–enoughness.” Yet, it is actually into this world of feeling like we are not enough, filled with anxiety, that God’s mercy speaks words of abundance into our lives and community: you, we, are enough, because of what God has done. God loves us eternally and we are all that God needs us to be. We are recipient

God is in all things

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the labor of those who build it is in vain.” Psalm 127: 1 How much more wonderful does life become when we discover that God is working through all that we do or aspire to do? When we work, we do so knowing that God is present to us, encouraging us, and giving us the strength to interact with folks through Her love in Christ? Do we work with more patience, kindness, diligence, and joy as we embrace the idea that, in God, we can do all things? Do we live within our families, understanding that God is a part of all things, with greater hope, depth of understanding, and a more intense and open love? “Unless the Lord watches over the city, in vain the watchman

All Saints Sunday

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44 Today we celebrate the Feast of All Saints, one of the five pillar days in the calendar year for baptisms. It is a day when all acknowledge that there is a Communion of Saints and that we don’t really know what that means. But even more than that we might make assumptions about who and what saints actually were/are. Saints, as I tend to think about it most of the time, are people who do or say or write “saintly” things. Whether it is the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Julian of Norwich; the preaching of St. Dominic, or the acts of mercy of St. Teresa of Calcutta or St. Francis of Assisi, we believe that what makes a

Resurrection as renewal

“See, I am making all things new." Also, he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." Revelation 21: 5-6a What in our lives need to be made new? What in our world has the need to be transformed? We might be tempted to say everything. But our God, our Father and Mother, through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, has made all things new. We simply are not looking at the world, perhaps, through the right lens. And we see the newness of the world most clearly, perhaps, through the eyes of our children. They seem so entirely and completely of God that it is impossible not to see God’s ren