Sunday, December 29, 2013

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Our Parent really knows how to live it up. Instead of spending his first years on Earth as a pampered monarch in waiting, he chooses a life on the run, getting hauled all across the Middle East, one step ahead of mortal peril, utterly dependent on others. Why? Because while we fret over power dynamics and lines of authority, our Brother proclaims with his very life that family is all about dependence and subordination. We belong to one another, just as much as we belong to our God.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

"Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord." Woo-hoo! God is here to fix all our problems and clean up our messes! It's like a fairy tale come true; if fairy tales included crucifixion. Now, I'm not trying to be a buzzkill. Today is a day for rejoicing. But as we celebrate our good fortune, let us also remember that grace comes on God's terms not our own. So do not expect our Savior to adhere to our blueprint for the kingdom. He has her own plan in mind for what we need.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fourth Sunday of Advent

"God is with us." What sort of sign do you need to believe such a claim? A virgin birth? A man rising from the dead? A mighty church? How about an angel appearing in a dream, commanding you to do the illogical? Or a righteous man choosing to quietly obey such dreams? Is it any wonder that Joseph goes so unappreciated? What did he ever do, except believe. How unextraordinary.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Third Sunday of Advent

Why must we be patient? Are we waiting for God to act? If that was case, surely, two millennia would have been plenty of time for them to make whatever is to happen, happen. So we must be waiting for something else, perhaps something internal rather than external, like the scales falling from our eyes, because if anything ever required superhuman patience that would be it. The splendor of our Parent surrounds us, but we refuse to see it because it does not resemble our vision of the kingdom. What fools we are! How many times must we be told that the kingdom flips our expectations on their head, whatever those expectations might be? Yes, a season of patience is exactly what we need.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Second Sunday of Advent

The kingdom is for all of us. Jesus came and is coming for all of us: Jew and Gentile, Christian and Pagan, believer and unbeliever alike. There is no "chosen people" among our many tribes, just one family of the one God. Let us prepare our hearts during this Advent season to receive the gift of such truth, for we so desperately need it. Right now, millions of us are in mourning for Nelson Mandela, a man who tried to teach us the truth about our family. We are rightly celebrating his life and his work. But this very same week, we also buried the ashes of 1,464 brothers and sisters whose bodies went unclaimed. If we lived the truth of our family, none of those siblings would have their remains lying in a common grave. We would be memorializing each one of them as loudly and proudly as we are now doing for Mandela. But we do not do so, because according to our scales Mandela was important and unclaimed persons clearly are not. The truth of our family tells us that our scales are ridiculous. None of us are any more or less important than the rest of us, for we are the one family of the one Parent. Such unquenchable truth is straining to be born once more. Will you prepare to live it?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

First Sunday of Advent

Wake up! Get ready! "The day is at hand." I wonder how many Black Friday commercials used those very same slogans? Given the willingness of so many of us to sacrifice Thanksgiving for the sake of consumerism, it seems clear whose cries penetrate our hearts and minds. But what will that choice truly cost us? "One will be taken, and one will be left." Is that because our Parent only loves half of us? Or is it a prediction that too many of us will have our faces so buried in the feed trough that we will never even notice God standing in front of us? Perhaps it is generous to believe that only half of us will be in the latter category. Yes, "one will be taken, and one will be left." Which will you be?