Peace and Goodwill

We are all struggling to understand what to do or say that might help our fellow parishioners, friends, and neighbors who are directly impacted by the government shutdown.  If any of you know of families that need additional support, please let me know. We can help with food cards and some additional forms of financial assistance. Many St. Luke's members are ready to help as neighbors.  And please know St. Luke's building is available for anyone who wants space to gather with children or colleagues.  There are some restrictions, but most days our library, nave, narthex and sometimes the parish hall are available.  We have plenty of supplies for coffee and hot chocolate, and we would be happy to try to provide anything else that would be of help.

A multitude of camels

Oh, what a beautiful and comical image the prophet Isaiah gives us for the world’s response to the messiah coming in Israel. Multitudes of camels! How extravagantly the world will welcome him! Imagine if a multitude of camels arrived at your door. It would be a bit overwhelming and disorganized. That’s probably why our friend John Henry Hopkins Jr. trimmed the number down to three bearing his three kings of Orient for his famous Epiphany hymn. It is a bit overwhelming and a bit strange to imagine the camels, and presumably their riders, from three whole nations arriving to see “the glory of the Lord.” (Is. 60:1), but that is what the prophet says will happen.

God so Loved the World that He Gave...

In the Third Chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus says at one point, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

For years, I’ve often thought that that passage only referred to Jesus giving his life as a sacrifice on the cross. And to be sure, that is part of what it means. But some years ago I was reading a commentary by Raymond Brown, on the Gospel of John, and Professor Brown said that that passage not only speaks of Jesus willingly giving his life on the cross, but it actually speaks of Christmas, of God giving his very self, his very son to the world, not for anything God could get out of it, but for the good and the welfare and the well-being of the world. Of us.

Christmas Joy

The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday.  It takes its name from the first word of the introit for Latin mass for the Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete in Domino semper - Rejoice in the Lord always (again I say rejoice! Philippians 4:4.  And comes from a time when, like Lent, Advent was a 40 day season of fasting before the feast of Christmas, and therefore it was good to have a respite, a rose Sunday, a Sunday for joy, before entering into the final leg of the journey, during the darkest nights of the year.

Everything Hinges on God

This week of Advent is a hinge in the doorway between our former lives and the new one being created in Jesus, the prophecies of Jesus coming to save us begin to be clearer, the door to the presence of Immanuel opens further, and we begin to see what repentance is: turning to God and being purified of what happened when we turned away. The second Sunday of Advent is about all the prophets before John, who pointed to God’s unfailing faithfulness and love of his people, and described the devastation that results from turning away from him.

Being a Witness to Christ by Volunteering in the Community

One of our post communion prayers says: “send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord”… For me the “work” is activity that is in addition to my chosen profession as a Systems Analyst. I interpret being a “witness” as a demonstration or reflection of Jesus’s love to other people. The way I have chosen to witness this love has been through volunteering.

Are we prepared?

The long litany of Sundays after Pentecost is almost over and with it the beginning of Advent will be soon upon us.  Almost too quickly, it seems, as we realize this means we are already nearing Christmas, whether or not we are ready.  And with Advent comes that familiar cry from John the Baptist, proclaiming that we need to prepare for the coming of the Lord because He is coming, whether or not we are ready.

Our many blessings

St. Luke’s is inviting all of us to do a very basic thing as special creatures of God, who is the very best and finest craftsman there is - to think, recall to memory, reflect on, and be grateful for, the many “freebies”* we have been given and received through our lives pursuant to* God’s immeasurable love and mercy to us all.

Gratitude for God's care and the service of others.

This week I am grateful for the surprising ways that God takes care of us physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is a common theme in scripture to remind the people of God that their efforts are not what upholds the world and all living things, but God’s creating, sustaining and redeeming power. Our work as individuals, families and communities is all in response to God’s gift of our lives. It is this acknowledgement that everything belongs to God, including us, that makes care for others, service in the world and stewardship of resources and creation possible. Realizing that nothing we own or gain is ours opens us to a life that is less self-interested and more oriented toward service of others.