Annunciations

She thought herself unnoticed, ordinary until the gaze of Joseph lit a flame of love and new awareness in her spirit, an inner warming when he said her name. And then a shocking, wondrous invitation, a privilege and burden never sought. The fiery figure offered explanation: her humble self was hearth divinely wrought. The darkness of our weary lives is broken, our waking dreams found … Continue reading Annunciations

Advent 2021: Joseph

Annunciation to Joseph Steady, old boy. You can believe your eyes. Admit it. This is not unfamiliar, this mystic hope that shimmered in the shadows that day as the sawdust settled under your restless feet. You can believe what her ears heard, what she told you, how the messenger revealed the mystery’s shape hidden within her innate devotion. You can do this. The raw material … Continue reading Advent 2021: Joseph

Advent 2021: Isaiah

In Advent we realize that the birth of Jesus is part of a bigger story, thousands of years long and eternal in scope. It includes the prophecies of people like Isaiah, who lived 2800 years ago, centuries before Jesus appeared on the scene. He was an ordinary man whom God tapped to be a prophet in Judah. Judah was a small nation with mighty nations … Continue reading Advent 2021: Isaiah

Advent Oil

The angel visits Mary; one virgin is being prepared.  In a haunting parable (Matt 25.1-13) about the end times, there are ten virgins, five of whom are properly prepared.  I am captivated by the sonnets of Malcolm Guite.  He also masterfully crafts poetry anthologies, including his Advent/Christmas collection, Waiting on the Word, which includes John Donne’s “Annunciation.”  The richness of this tribute to Mary is … Continue reading Advent Oil

Thoughts for a Holiday Season When Grieving

 The Lord is merciful and gracious,   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always accuse,   nor will he keep his anger for ever. He does not deal with us according to our sins,   nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth,   so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,   so far … Continue reading Thoughts for a Holiday Season When Grieving

Response to the O Antiphons

Nobody knows how or when the O Antiphons were written, but they are first mentioned in the sixth century. They are used on the days preceding Christmas Eve, December 17-23. I offer them to you now, at a time when you may be more open to them. After the rush and intensity of Advent and the Nativity, after the blessedness (and bloatedness) of celebrations, I … Continue reading Response to the O Antiphons

“…And He Shall Purify”

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he … Continue reading “…And He Shall Purify”

She Knows

Need ideas for the lectionary (RCL) text this week?  Go to “Menu” and “Lectionary Sermons” for my weekly posting.   It was a fiercely cold, December Sunday afternoon when my four-year-old granddaughter Rydia spent a few hours with me, stirring batter for Christmas bread, listening to the Advent IV Bible story, hunting for objects in an “I Spy” book, playing “you can’t catch me.”  We … Continue reading She Knows

Advent Oil

Need ideas for the lectionary text this week?  Go to “Menu” and “Lectionary Sermons” for my weekly posting.   In Jesus’ conception, there is one virgin being prepared.  In a haunting parable (Matt 25.1-13) about the end times, there are ten virgins, five of whom are properly prepared.  In the manner of armchair lectionary critics, I might have placed the parable in Advent.  But there … Continue reading Advent Oil