Showing posts from November, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving... 1 Timothy 4:4 (NIV). Everything? That's what it says. Everything God created is good. And nothing is to be rejected - IF - it is received with thanksgiving. This is a radical, surprising, and controversial claim. While it may now be Christian theological orthodoxy (that creation itself is good, but fallen), most creation theologies and origin-stories are violent. Creation itself is often seen as suffused with blood, born out of the battle between gods, or between good and evil forces. Not every Christian even believes in the thorough goodness of creation, as seen in traditions which "deny the flesh" without also embracing it, or which fixate on the battle with evil. But this scripture is clear. Everything God created is good. And now the still more amazing claim. No part of creation is to be rejected, nothing denied or disowned - but its acceptability is determined by

Singing in Advent - Psalm 122

First Sunday in Advent, Year A Psalm 122 The Season of Advent, the four Sundays which precede Christmas, is traditionally a time of singing. The rest of the world is playing Christmas carols in the background with Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the sounds of jingling bells. And perhaps we might sing along joyfully, knowing what is coming. The season of Advent has this tension built into it. It is a season of expectancy and anticipation. Of preparation and watchfulness. Advent has a penitential character. It has been seen as a parallel season to Lent, with the same traditional color of the season (penitential purple) and with the same strict fast. Yet, God love us, we have peeked under the wrappings and know that Christmas awaits, the Savior is coming but he is the One who has already come! Alleluia! I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" (Psalm 122:1, NRSV). This psalm-song lives in the joy the pilgrim feels when ant

Veterans Day 2010

This is an odd holiday, commemorating a number of different things. Do we pick and choose? Do we try and hold them together? In the United States, November 11th is observed as Veterans Day. The service of all veterans of U.S. military service, living and dead, is lifted up as a civic honor. It was established in 1954 after a grassroots campaign to make it a day for “All Veterans.” Previously the day had been observed as Armistice Day, commemorating the cessation of battle on the Western Front during the First World War. That day, the guns fell silent, and the people at home rejoiced at the end of unimaginable destruction (16 million dead, 21 million wounded, both military and civilian). That beginning of the peace, set for the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, fell upon St. Martin’s Day. Martin of Tours was a Roman soldier when, through a dream where Jesus recognized him, he became convinced in his Christian faith. He continued to serve in the military, until he

Christ the King, Christ the Head

Christ the King November 21 Colossians 1:11-20 When you think about it, it’s really miraculous – that we can use words to describe the wonders of creation, the transcendent, those things which go so far beyond the syllables which reference them. Brain and language researchers are beginning to respect how, as we heard in Genesis 1 and John 1, the Word calls things into being. Language and meaning go hand in hand, and words do more than describe reality. For humans, words help constitute reality. This means we take theology (theo-logos, God-speech) seriously. When we say “Christ the King,” we are proclaiming something about Christ – that our Messiah is a king. The beauty of metaphor is the way it says something real. The problem of metaphor is that, in saying that one thing is another, we can get stuck in the metaphor and lose track of how the metaphor “exegetes,” illustrates, and illumines its subject. What about the earthly kings we know is true of Christ? There is much commentary and