Christmas has just begun!

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…]

Last Day of Advent

The Last Day of Advent.

May the sun of righteousness rise for you, with healing in its wings!

[Read more…]

Advent Day 25

The 25th Day of Advent.

Return to me and I will return to you.

[Read more…]

Advent Day 24

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?

[Read more…]

Advent Day 23

The 23rd Day of Advent.

Careful. Will the Lord find pleasure in us?

[Read more…]

Fourth Advent

Isaiah 7:10-16

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.

[Read more…]

Advent Day 21

The 21st Day of Advent.

Rejoice and exult!

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Advent Day 20

The 20th Day of Advent.

On that day you shall not be put to shame.

[Read more…]

Advent Day 19

The 19th Day of Advent.

Be silent before the Lord God!

[Read more…]

Advent Day 18

The 18th Day of Advent.

Beware the envoys from Babylon!

[Read more…]

Advent Day 17

The 17th Day of Advent.

Does God intervene in human lives? Does he answer prayer?
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Advent Day 16

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.

[Read more…]

Advent Day 14

The 14th Day of Advent.

Let us travel the Holy Way.

[Read more…]

Advent Day 13

The 13th Day of Advent.

Could Lebanon really wither away?

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Advent Day 12

The 12th Day of Advent.

What is righteousness but the ordering of society so that fairness and equity prevail?

[Read more…]

Advent Day 11

The 11th Day of Advent.

Repent and return.

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Mere Catholic Christianity

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…]

Advent Day 10

The 10th Day of Advent / The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

See, the name of the Lord comes from far away.

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They Have Their Reward

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)

[Read more…]

Advent Day 9

The 9th Day of Advent / The Feast of Ambrose, 397.

The Lord waits to be gracious to you.

[Read more…]

Second Sunday of Advent

Detail of Saint Paul Preaching to the Women of Philippi, from a tapestry set of the Life of Saint Paul. Designed by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (Netherlands, 1502–1550), ca. 1529–30. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (KK T III/1) (source: http://tinyurl.com/p8jmegt)

Detail of Saint Paul Preaching to the Women of Philippi, from a tapestry set of the Life of Saint Paul. Designed by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (Netherlands, 1502–1550), ca. 1529–30. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (KK T III/1) (source: http://tinyurl.com/p8jmegt)

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…]

Advent Day 7

The 7th Day of Advent.

Deliver us from systemic evil.

[Read more…]

Advent Day 6

The Sixth Day of Advent 

I will again do amazing things with this people, shocking and amazing!

[Read more…]

Advent Day 5

The Fifth Day of Advent 

Hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers!

[Read more…]

Advent Day 4

The Fourth Day of Advent 

Beware the fading flowers of past beauties!

[Read more…]

Advent Day 3

The Third Day of Advent 

What songs of justice might we sing this Advent?


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Priesthood

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.[1] 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.
[Read more…]

Advent Day 2

The Second Day of Advent / The Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

Are we, like Andrew–who was often in his brother’s shadow–to become alive in the death of the ego?


[Read more…]

First Advent (Mormon Lectionary Project Year 3)

MLP

MLP

Today, the First Sunday of Advent begins a new liturgical year, the third for the Mormon Lectionary Project. I promise that some devotional content will follow, but in true Mormon fashion, there’s business to attend to first. [Read more…]

Simple Gifts

Most of us have times when we feel like crying out, with Joseph Smith, “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” We can wonder why, if God is good, oppressors prevail; we plead for justice, our cries rooted in the firm belief that God our Creator stirs with compassion for his suffering saints. [Read more…]

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