All posts filed under: Advent

advent 3a: chucking the wrench

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Advent / Christology / Gospels / Jesus / Lectionary / New Testament / Religion / Year A

It’s a Saturday in the middle of winter, and the heating system in your church breaks down. It’s cold outside, and somehow seems even colder inside. The air stings, and the pews are frigid. You can’t imagine having sweet little old ladies sitting on them tomorrow, but you don’t want to cancel church again. It’s been a snowy winter. The HVAC company van rolls into the church driveway, and the technician gets out with a clipboard […]

advent 2a: a turn of repentance

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Advent / Gospels / New Testament / Religion / Status / Temple / Year A

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; […]

Advent 1a: you know nothing

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Advent / Jesus / Lectionary / Year A

No, if we know anything these days, it’s that we know so very little. Our confidence can wither in moments, and everything that we once thought was “up” will be found to be “upside down.” For the pundits and the pollsters try and lull us to sleep with their braggadocio. They hypnotize us with their numbers, and plans, and historical perspectives. They have their canon laws, their proof texts, and their little prayers that we […]

flannelgraph: advent 4c

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Advent / flannelgraph / Uncategorized / Year C

Mary, pregant with Jesus, has left her home and gone to be with her older cousin Elizabeth, who happens to also be pregnant with John the Baptist (Luke 1:39-55). I tend to think that Mary comes to the home of Elizabeth and Zecharish to seek refuge from the her own small-town life where being an unwed pregant woman would have gotten difficult. She does not come timidly though, for she bursts out in song, singing […]

flannelgraph advent 3c

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Advent / flannelgraph / Uncategorized / Year C

The third Sunday of Advent is also known as “gaudete,” the Latin word for “rejoice.” It takes its name from the words of our epistle lesson today (Philippians 4:4-7), part of which was traditionally sung on the third Sunday of Advent when we are preparing for the impending joy of the celebration of the Incarnation. This is the day when the rose colored candle on the advent wreath is lit, and in some places rose […]

flannelgraph advent 1c

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Advent / flannelgraph / Lectionary / Year C

We normally think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas. And, it is. “Advent” means “the coming,” and it is indeed about Christ coming in Bethlehem… But, that’s not all it’s about. Because one of the tenets of our faith is that Christ will come again. And so, each Advent we begin with remembering Jesus’ second coming, before we turn our attention back to Jesus’ first coming. We see this theme in the […]

advent 4a reflection: looking back

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Advent / Exodus / Gospels / Jesus / Year A

Everything in the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel – which tells of God doing this wondrous thing in the birth of Jesus – seems to point backwards. Matthew begins his Gospel with a genealogy, starting with the Patriarch Abraham. Then we have the reference to Isaiah’s prophesy that the child shall be called “Emmanuel.” And then the child is given the name “Jesus,” which not only means “God saves” but in Hebrew it’s also the name […]

advent 3a reflection: the holy way

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Advent / Old Testament / Religion / Year A

Many years ago my wife and I moved to Atlanta. We roamed around our new city, taking in the sights and sounds of our exciting new home. On one of our travels we happened by a place where there were some interesting shops. Above the shops was a towering building with a very unique cantilevered roof. Not long after that trip her birthday was coming up, and I wanted to go back to those shops […]

advent 2a reflection: you’re so vain

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Advent / Year A

Do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were coming out to the wilderness to John the Baptist to be baptized. That’s pretty stunning in and of itself, wouldn’t you agree? And, John is less than impressed. “You brood of vipers!” he roars. Sounds like an interesting call to […]

advent 1a reflection: like a thief

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Advent / Eschatology / Jesus / Lectionary / New Testament / Year A

The following is a reflection on 24:36-44, the Gospel Lesson appointed for the 1st Sunday of Advent, Year A. I was sitting on the couch. Watching TV. Who knows what great and inspiring programming I was zoning out to… My wife yelled from upstairs: “Rick…RICK!” “Yes?” I said, rather annoyed that she hadn’t had the grace to wait for a commercial break. “My water broke.”