Showing posts from December, 2010

A Blessed Christmas to All - Christmas Eve 2010 - Luke 2:1-3

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.   This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their towns to be registered.   (Lk. 2:1-3) In a particular time, at a particular place, under the rule of a particular monarch, the following event took place: a census, a registration.   It was decreed, says Luke, and, in one very curt and short sentence we are told that all went to their towns to be registered.   All went, all did what they were told to do, no questions asked.   The dictator speaks and the people respond.   They had better, for things sometimes go badly for those who don’t follow orders.   It seems to me that we 21 st century Christians too often tend to read these opening verses as a kind of introduction to the “real” story that comes later – the part about the shepherds and the angels and Mary and Joseph.   But this evening I would like to focus on these first three v

Advent IV – Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine – Sermon Thoughts on Matthew 1:18-25

Read the text - here: Matthew 1:18-25 Advent IV – Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine – Sermon Thoughts on Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph lieber, Joseph mein, Hilf mir wiegen mein Kindelein Joseph dearest, Joseph mine, help me cradle this child of mine…. To Listen to a beautiful setting and performance of this carol by Quire Cleveland click.... HERE!!!               Some of us might recognize this old German carol.  It is one of the few carols that actually name Mary’s husband Joseph, but don’t let that fool you.  The carol is ultimately not about Joseph.  After the first two verses Joseph disappears like he always does (the first two verses are a dialog between Mary and Joseph).  Joseph is perhaps the most neglected character in the traditional crèche.  Every Christmas we celebrate Mary and the shepherds and the angels and the wise men and through it all Joseph is the silent character who sits quietly, out of the way, besides the crèche.              This is because the story of Christmas

Advent II - Excuses, Excuses - St. Matthew 3:1-12

Take the opportunity to read the text -  St. Matthew 3:1-12 John the Baptist is certainly a colorful kind of guy.   For some he was an embarrassment.   For others he was offensive and a threat.   But for everyone who heard him his message rang true: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near at hand.” Repent! What does this word mean?   The Greek word that stands behind this English word is the word: metanoia – and it literally means to turn around and go in a different direction.   The English word itself comes from a French word – repense – which means to re-think.   John’s call to those who heard (and hear) his message is for them to look at their lives; to take stock of their relationships with God and with others and to re-think the priorities they have set, the choices they have made and they way they are in relationship with God; and then, aided by the Holy Spirit, to confess, receive absolution and to turn around and go in another direction. The essence of John’s teaching