December 7, 2021

The Silent Word Is Pleading

It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
Jeremiah 10:12
What child is this who, laid to rest
on Mary’s lap is sleeping—
whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
haste, haste, to bring him laud,
the Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies he in such mean estate,
where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here

December 6, 2021

Another World That Is This World

Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.
 Exodus 3:5

Remembering that it happened once,
We cannot turn away the thought,
As we go out, cold, to our barns
Toward the long night's end, that we
Ourselves are living in the world
It happened in when it first happened,
That we ourselves, opening a stall
(a latch thrown open countless times
Before), might find them breathing there,
Foreknown: the Child bedded in straw,
The mother kneeling over Him,
The husband standing in belief
He scarcely can believe, in light

December 5, 2021

Advent 2 Worship

Today was the Second Sunday of Advent. We lit the candle of peace, and the theme was peace. In addition to the Advent Song There's a Voice in the Wilderness, we sang our first Christmas carols of the year: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing and It Came upon the Midnight Clear. We even sang the last stanza of O Little Town of Bethlehem as a response to our prayer of confession. The choir sang an introit and an anthem, and I introduced my sermon by praying a "psalm" by Edward Hays (Prayers of a Planetary Pilgrim).

Here's a video of the service, and below that ("read more") is the complete text of the sermon.

The Way to God

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your Name.

Psalm 86:11
Many think it is a very exclusive attitude toward religion to say that Jesus is the only way to God. I suppose it is, but what a way! If I allow myself to think about what that might mean, I am astounded at the nature of God that I am shown in this Jesus:
  • If Jesus is the way to God, I must start my journey with the prophetic words of an unmarried woman—perhaps even a teenage girl—who is expecting a baby.
  • To continue, I must sojourn for a time in a stable and kneel at a feeding trough,

December 4, 2021

Advent Peace

But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity.
Isaiah 45:17
O Prince of Peace, 
whose advent we seek in our lives,
come this day and show us
how to beat our swords into plowshares,
tools of life instead of instruments of fear.

May your love strip us naked 
of all weapons and strategies of conquest,
which are not the tools of lovers,
wise ones and God's children.
Let us not lust for power
but rather strive for the insight