the longest night & St. Thomas Day

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I’ve come to believe that there are no coincidences in the liturgical calendar.

I awoke early on 22 December, just as light was beginning to streak the sky, having completely forgotten that the night before was the longest span of darkness for the year before and the year to come.  Something made me realize it as I came awake in bed, and I hoped it was a sign that light is starting to break into the ice jam of darkness in my own mind, bringing to an end the exhausting and isolating but yearly phase of grey. Continue reading

brave people make intimidating congregations

Over coffee this morning, shop-talking with my colleague, Dane, I thought of this ole post. May the 26 y.o. Emily speak to you as she’s spoken to me–demanding courage to speak the truth at all times and in all places.

hope of things not seen

Often, while sermon-writing, words come slowly, and when they come, they seem like little clods of dirt that break apart into dust the moment you try to grasp them. This exercise sends me running through my cycle of google reader-facebook-twitter.  Having just completed the circuit a few minutes before, there was nothing new on my reader, but when i typed in “fac” in my browser bar (the fewest letters necessary to bring up my worn “facebook.com” link) and arrived at the top of my newsfeed, a new photo had been posted by my sister:

She wore a white sundress, her blonde hair was down, and the big white posterboard she held up read, “Shh… just go back to sleep.”  It was a photo taken for Project Unbreakable, a website dedicated to survivors of sexual assault.  I’d known about the event she referred to for a few months, but seeing…

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more pomp & circumstance–why process for the Gospel…

As we gather for worship this morning, I’m going to paint you a picture of our life together; something that might—or might not—help us understand and imagine how we work together as one body, how we are God’s hands and feet in the world.

Somewhere near the middle of our Eucharist service, we read from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John together.  When this happens, have you noticed that a lot of people move?  The deacon, or the celebrant, in the Keenan Chapel services, walks into the middle of the nave, right into the heart of the congregation, if you think of us all gathered here as a “body.”  Once the deacon is there, she proclaims the Gospel to us all.  She’s not just reading what’s written on the page; just like there’s something special about singing together and praying together, as we do when we gather here, there’s something special about listening together—most of us learned about that in kindergarten: we learned how important and transformative it is when we all listen to the same words and instructions at the same time.  Not least, it’s easier for our teachers and leaders to help do their jobs if we’re all paying attention to the same place at the same time.

Many of us turn to face the deacon as she or he shares the Gospel with us from the middle of our gathering.  This is a great and beautiful symbol—someone who has been appointed by God to spend all their time taking the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection into peoples’ everyday lives does that on Sunday mornings, too, in order to remind us that God belongs in the middle of our lives, in the middle of our relationships, as the focus of our attention and our bodies—God is the one toward which we turn and orient ourselves.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come!