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Advent 4a: the center that wouldn’t hold

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I’m intrigued by Catherine Keller’s theological archaeology, where she raises up Nicholas of Cusa, an obscure 15th century cardinal and mystic. Nicholas mused on the cosmos as a product of its Creator, and which, he presumed would therefore have to resemble its Progenitor. He assumed, that since God is infinite and without bounds, then it would be reasonable to assert that the cosmos is likewise infinite and without bounds. Extrapolating on this crazy thought, he […]

flannelgraph: epiphany 3c

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flannelgraph / Uncategorized / Year C

About 600 years before Jesus, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, killed most of its inhabitants, and took some of the survivors back to Babylon as slaves. Eventually the Persians defeated the Babylonians, and Nehemiah, a Jewish man, was the Cup Bearer to the King of the Persians. Nehemiah convinced the king to let the Israelites go, AND to provide enough money to help rebuild Jerusalem, its walls, and its Temple. Today’s lesson (Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10) […]

flannelgraph: baptism of Our Lord

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Epiphany / flannelgraph / Uncategorized / Year C

The first forty chapters of Isaiah offer words of warning and doom to the people of God who had gone astray and were about to be punished by the Babylonians. Our lesson today from Isaiah (Isaiah 43:1-7) is part of the second part of the Book of Isaiah which is written to people who had already been taken off to Babylon as captives. His message to them here is “do not fear.” The people of […]

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 2c

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Eastern Orthodox icons often depict John the Baptist with wings. Strange, right? He’s showed as a winged man, not because anyone thinks that he actually had wings, but because he was a “messenger,” sent to proclaim the coming of the Messiah. And, the Greek word for “messenger” is the same as the Greek word for “angel.” So, obviously… Wings! But, it’s the message that’s important, and today (Luke 3:1-6) we see the dual nature of […]

an advent email devotional

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Use the form below to sign up for my Advent Email devotional on the family tree of Jesus. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in Advent you’ll get an email with a short piece of scripture, a short reflection, and a prayer to help give your Advent some special spiritual meaning this year. Sign Me Up

why we can’t be afraid

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“Do not be afraid,” is the single most often repeated command in the Bible, having been issued about a hundred times. God told us not to fear. (e.g. Gen 15:1) Moses told us not to fear. (e.g. Exodus 14:15) Angels told us not to fear. (e.g. Matthew 28:5) The psalmists told us not to fear. (e.g. Psalm 23:4) Jesus told us not to fear. (e.g. Luke 12:7). I’ve preached on “do not be afraid” countless […]

patience, grasshopper: sermon starter for proper 23a

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A reflection on Exodus 32:1-14, the Hebrew Bible lesson for Proper 23a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary. Their feet were still covered with the mud from the Red Sea’s floor. Their nights were still aglow with the brightness of the pillar of fire. Their hands were still covered with the callouses born from brick making. They had just tasted the sweetness of freedom, won by the hand of God Almighty. But, Moses and God […]