The Mormon Society of St. James is pleased to announce its fourth annual pilgrimage in 2016, the Swiss Road of the Via Francigena (St. Francis’s Way), the ancient trading and pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome. [Read more…]
You can find the whole series here.
In Paul, and later in the Synoptics, the central act is that Jesus died for us, and God brought him back in resurrection. John keeps much of this certainly, but he draws us back to the Prologue (John 1) in statements like “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son.” That is, God sent Jesus into the world, from a preexistent state. It’s not a reference to the end of Jesus’ life, atonement/resurrection, it’s a reference to its beginninglessness, it’s a passage about Christmas—Word became flesh. God’s Son came down, and brought God’s life with him (life in himself)—the life that he can give (here and now!) is God’s own life—eternal life. That seems to be John’s message, and it’s a message that Joseph Smith extracted and sacralized-sacramentalized. In John’s Gospel, Jesus offers people eternal life while he’s in conversation with them and with the disciples. John never uses the term “apostle”–he’s virtually anti-clerical–this tells us something of his presentism perhaps and the ecclesial nature of his community. The Book of Mormon carries the terminology of John when Jesus chooses Twelve and in many other places.
Every year the same thing happens. Once Christmas week arrives, the profane calendar stops. No more Thursday or Friday, just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The effect lasts until about New Year when we return again to the rhythms of the sun and the times and seasons bequeathed to us by the Romans. This is why marking sacred time is so important, not because we are fundamentalists who despise the secular calendar but because we are Christians who need to find some way to extricate ourselves from its utter dominance. Christmastime offers a glimpse of how this works. [Read more…]
The Last Day of Advent.
May the sun of righteousness rise for you, with healing in its wings!
The 25th Day of Advent.
Return to me and I will return to you.
The 24th Day of Advent.
Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another?
The 23rd Day of Advent.
Careful. Will the Lord find pleasure in us?
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.
The 20th Day of Advent.
On that day you shall not be put to shame.
The 19th Day of Advent.
Be silent before the Lord God!
The 18th Day of Advent.
Beware the envoys from Babylon!
The 17th Day of Advent.
Does God intervene in human lives? Does he answer prayer?
The 16th Day of Advent / John of the Cross, Poet, Teacher of the Faith, 1591.
The four last things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell. But first, death.
The 13th Day of Advent.
Could Lebanon really wither away?
The 12th Day of Advent.
What is righteousness but the ordering of society so that fairness and equity prevail?
Being a peacemaker in tumultuous times isn’t easy. Most people like to think that they are on the side of civility and decency, and yet the disagreements we have with one another often turn out to be more substantive than we’d like to admit. Sure, people can be petty, but if pettiness were all that divided us, “common sense” would prevail more than it does. That efforts at peace tend to involve an ecumenical search for common ground illustrates the problem, because such ecumenism tends not to be terribly compatible with ideological purity, which can make self-appointed peacemakers look suspect to people who understand themselves as true believers, which can in turn provoke resentment and defensiveness from the erstwhile peacemakers. And so the merry-go-round keeps spinning: it’s easy to pray, with the Psalmist, that God will “destroy those who speak lies,” believing of course that the scripture refers to someone other than ourselves. [Read more…]
The 10th Day of Advent / The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
See, the name of the Lord comes from far away.
In Matthew 6, there are several behaviors called out as public displays of righteousness:
- Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them (v. 1)
- And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. (v. 5)
- Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. (v.16)
The 9th Day of Advent / The Feast of Ambrose, 397.
The Lord waits to be gracious to you.
We haven’t been left alone in this fallen world. In his grace and mercy, God has sent us true messengers to communicate his love and righteousness to us, his mortal children. Their job is to lead and guide us, walk beside us, as we encounter the brute reality of the natural world.
On Second Advent we contemplate those who prepare the way of the Lord as his messengers. John the Baptist is the model. His was a consecrated life, preaching nothing but faith in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and repentance for our sins, so that through Christ’s grace we might experience his righteousness, both externally as our tutor in this mortal test and internally as we learn to align our thoughts and actions with that moral compass within that corresponds, through the light of Christ, with God’s righteousness. [Read more…]
The Sixth Day of Advent
I will again do amazing things with this people, shocking and amazing!
The Fifth Day of Advent
Hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers!
The Fourth Day of Advent
Beware the fading flowers of past beauties!
The Third Day of Advent
What songs of justice might we sing this Advent?
Once upon a time, Judaism and Christianity were one. That is, Christians were seen as a Jewish sect. You can see this in Luke’s account of what Paul says at Rome, Acts 28. The Jewish community there (it was pretty important, some Jewish high priests ended up there) speak about the believers in Jesus as a sect, a division of Jews. While Paul does a lot among Gentiles, it’s mainly because he can’t get Jews in the diaspora to listen to him. And of course then he grows angry over Jerusalem Jews coming into to his Gentile branches and breaking the rules agreed to about preaching to Gentiles—a long story I won’t engage here.