I recently came across Margaret Solomon-Bird’s rendition of the Annunciation and found myself reflecting on what must have been a truly remarkable scene. I mean, imagine it: after centuries of waiting for God to intervene in the world through His long-promised Messiah, suddenly and without warning an angelic messenger shows up with the message that the Messiah is coming. But it doesn’t take place in Jerusalem or in the centers of royalty or power where
Quick: what are the names of the popular members of the royal family who will one day serve as King and Queen of the United Kingdom? Now, what are the names of the famous married couple whose Depression-era gang became the scourge of the FBI? And finally, what are the names of the husband-and-wife pop duo that was so popular in the 60s and 70s that they go by their first names even to this
This post is part of a series exploring God’s Story: God’s Story (Part 1) | Another One Bites the Dust (Part 2) | The Long Pause (Part 3) | It Is Time (Part 4) In 1883, architect Antoni Gaudi began work on a building project in Barcelona, Spain. His task: to build a cathedral called the Sagrada Familia. Gaudi dedicated his life to the project, but by the time he died in 1926, the church
Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 20th Monday, December 21st Tuesday, December 22nd Wednesday, December 23rd Thursday, December 24th
Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th Monday, December 14th Tuesday, December 15th Wednesday, December 16th Thursday, December 17th Friday, December 18th
Saturday, December 5th and Sunday, December 6th Monday, December 7th Tuesday, December 8th Wednesday, December 9th Thursday, December 10th Friday, December 11th
Advent is about anticipation. As a young child might anxiously await the riches of opening presents on Christmas morning, so the Church awaits the coming of the Lord, which it understands to be the riches of God’s grace breaking forth into human history to save us. Each year, in the prayers, Scripture readings, and liturgy of Advent, the Church invites all of us to wait patiently and journey faithfully together through dark and uncertain times
If you worship in a Western Christian tradition that makes use of the liturgical calendar, then you probably already know that the first Sunday after the Feast of Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. What you may not know, unless you come from my particular Western Christian tradition, is that it is the unofficial practice of parish priests to invite their seminarians to preach on this feast day. This is a recipe for theological and homiletical disaster,
This article is an adaptation of a sermon delivered on Mother’s Day as part of a “COVID Christianity” series at Rooftop Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Even when life is normal, mom-ing is hard—it calls for spending all day with tiny people who are cute, yes, but who are also demanding and exhausting. Moms need time with fellow adults, moms need time with friends: moms need community. Of course, what’s true in normal life is
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness–on them light has shined.” Isa 9:2 NRSV The prophet Isaiah lived at an unusual point in the history of the Israelite people. His prophetic ministry overlapped the Assyrian conquest of Israel in 722 BCE and their subsequent siege of Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 19). The beginning chapters of the book
Silence is a sort of nothingness. In spite of this, silence often possesses a variety of qualities. We may experience the angry silence of a hurt loved one, the peaceful silence of the person at rest, or the patient silence of a watcher. The silence of persons turns out to be something. It may be a lack of sound, but it is filled by the quality of a human person. Humans spend much of their
“If you took away the sermon from your worship service, what sort of theology could you construct from what remains?” Sometime back, a Facebook friend shared this quote from Pastor Mark Jones and it got me thinking. What would a sermon-less church service look like? What messages and theology would it convey? Would we attend? Just how central is the sermon to Christian worship? In order to really consider this question, consider the state of
Every week, millions of people around the world situate themselves in moderately uncomfortable seating and listen to someone talk at them for an extended period of time. I am, of course, referring to Christians who attend church services and listen to sermons. But how can we tell if a sermon is good? This article suggests three sets of questions for reflecting on this question.
The Proclaimed Word of God Too often when I enter the pew on a Sunday morning, I dread the coming sermon. Like many raised in Evangelical circles, the singing and musical part of the service seems the most natural. It is easy in our modern culture to connect emotionally and spiritually to music, perhaps too easy. Yet I know that after 20 minutes or so of beautiful hymns, I will have to endure 30 to
My previous post on the “Word of the Lord,” drew a few different comments encouraging me to expand on what I had written there. Many of them had to do with the fact that I hadn’t fully come to terms with what I wanted to say. I find that much of my writing reflects the fact that I am on a journey towards understanding, as Origen is fond of saying in his Commentary on the
To be a Christian means to take up our Cross. Our cross turns this life into a mystical adventure. Christ does not expect us to blend in with our society. He expects us to transform it. The only way we can accomplish that goal is to be willing to be transformed ourselves.
“But what would have been the good?” Aslan said nothing. “You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right – somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?” “To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.” “Oh dear,” said Lucy. “But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them
According to Webster, nativity means “the process or circumstances of being born.” For the Orthodox Church the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ does not focus on Jesus as a cute little baby in a manger. The Nativity of Christ is mostly about the incarnation of God. This season is about the union of God and man. “Sharing wholly in our poverty, You have made our clay godlike through Your union and participation
Christ has come to give us life, and that in abundance. He does not hold back. We ask to know Him, we ask for mercy, we ask Him to show us the path. And He answers us with the truth. There are no riddles to decipher or secret panels to open.
“And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many