His Name is Desire of Nations

Advent sings of Emmanuel: God With Us, the very Son of God in our very midst, Jesus. As early-winter skies croon with reds, pinks, blues, and purples, Advent further carols the Dayspring, the morning dawn of daily mercies potent and fertile with the fresh possibilities of heaven. This morning, lyrics of Advent chant another nameContinue reading “His Name is Desire of Nations”

His Name Is Dayspring

In his salad days, Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf served as a draftee in the Yugoslavian army. But his hitch brought him no honor. Mr. Volf mustered in with two strikes against him already on the board: He was married to American; worse yet, he was a Christian. Thus, the communist army suspected him a traitor,Continue reading “His Name Is Dayspring”

His Name Is Son of God

Jesus. Immanuel. Immanuel. Jesus. You cannot speak of one without invoking the other. Jesus equals Immanuel. Immanuel equals God with us. Thus, Jesus equals God with Us. Your middle school algebra teacher was correct: A=B, and B=C, therefore A=C. Indeed, the math adds up: Amid profound brokenness and paralyzing fear, you can count on God’sContinue reading “His Name Is Son of God”

His Name is Immanuel

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign – daily living is full of signs. Two black digits painted on white, metal rectangle display a highway’s legal speed limit. A pair of arches signals the availability of fast food ahead. And hopefully you’re not too hungry, because bold lettering on an orange diamond shape warns of road workContinue reading “His Name is Immanuel”

Speaking to Suffering

The dramatic events surrounding the birth of Jesus begin to unfold long before the expected cast of characters starts arriving in Bethlehem, and for our discipleship during these Sundays of Advent, Luke’s Gospel has been sharing those miraculous scenes. Luke’s curtain rises with the archangel Gabriel visiting Elizabeth and Zechariah, an elderly, childless couple who’dContinue reading “Speaking to Suffering”

Holy Cow and Zoinks!

For the past two Sundays of Advent, scenes from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel have been moving us toward Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus. In both scenes, the angel Gabriel has been hard at work bringing incredible news to unlikely recipients. First, Gabriel visits the AARP-card-carrying Zechariah and Elizabeth and shares the surprisingContinue reading “Holy Cow and Zoinks!”

A Pink Cowboy

Pretend for a moment that a cold winter’s night finds you snuggled into your living-room recliner under a comfy blanket. And as you surf through the channels on TV, you stumble into the middle of movie. Two cowboys are standing about 30 yards apart in the middle of a dusty street. The men’s hands hangContinue reading “A Pink Cowboy”

Video meditation: Lighting the Fourth Candle of Advent

“The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’” (Luke 1:30) Of three possible responses to fear – fight, flight or freeze, Mary is, perhaps, frozen by the appearance of the angel, whose greeting and message leave her perplexed and pondering. But fear doesn’t paralyze Mary, whoContinue reading “Video meditation: Lighting the Fourth Candle of Advent”

Connecting the Dots

It was a rookie mistake, and I made it. I’d been serving here just a couple years, and a few weeks out from Christmas, I sat down to assemble the elements for the Christmas Eve service. To refresh my memory, I dug out the bulletins from previous Christmas Eves and noted that we always endedContinue reading “Connecting the Dots”

Something New Begins

The gospels of Luke and Matthew tell the Christmas story as we much prefer to have it told. But the gospel of Mark takes a much-different tack to welcome Jesus to our world. Mark skips all the stuff of peace on earth and mercy mild and gets right down to brass tacks. His version of events opens with a quick nod to the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and a cameo appearance by John the Baptist.