Luke

"How can this be?"

Poor Mary. Call her "virgin interrupted." When the Angel Gabriel tells her that she's going to have a child, she can't believe it. Nothing in her world of experience can make sense of it. "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" Exactly. While her question is intensely personal, it's also universal. She speaks for every one of us, for when it comes to dealings with God, we're all virgins. That's what I was thinking as I was pondering this passage on the labyrinth last week. There is so much God we don't know, so much truth we haven't encountered, so many mysteries we haven't penetrated, so many joys we haven't felt, so much life we haven't lived.

"How can this be?"

Poor Mary. Call her "virgin interrupted." When the Angel Gabriel tells her that she's going to have a child, she can't believe it. Nothing in her world of experience can make sense of it. "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" Exactly. While her question is intensely personal, it's also universal. She speaks for every one of us, for when it comes to dealings with God, we're all virgins. That's what I was thinking as I was pondering this passage on the labyrinth last week. There is so much God we don't know, so much truth we haven't encountered, so many mysteries we haven't penetrated, so many joys we haven't felt, so much life we haven't lived.

Fantastic Love and Where to Find It

So what if we treated our fears the way Newt Scamander treated his fantastic beasts? He named and claimed each one of them. And instead of trying to hunt them down and kill them, he studied them, so he could learn all he could from them. What if we did the same with our fears? I believe that by God's grace, we could learn a whole lot about love from them.

Welcome Your Inner Child

So how do we welcome that inner child? How do we make the child feel safe and loved? As Nicodemus pointed out in the Gospel of John, we certainly can’t climb back into our mothers’ wombs. [John 3] But we can reclaim our original connection to God if we are willing to revisit where we lost that connection. Welcoming your inner child is not so much about buying it toys as it is about revisiting trauma, which is something most of us are loathe to do. But if we want to recover our soul connection to God, we’re going to have to go back to where that connection was first severed... We have to go back and welcome that child and love that child.

Together Is Better

There is a scourge plaguing this country. And I'm not talking about the Zika virus, the heroin epidemic, cancer or the Kardashian family. No, the silent sickness that has descended upon America today is loneliness.

The Journey is Home

God loves Christmas even more than we do, not because of the merry-making, the gift giving, or the caroling. Christmas gives God joy because in this season, we make more of an effort to love as Mother Mary does, by caretaking and homemaking. Every day in the newspaper, there's another story of some person or organization that our community is caring for. And every Monday, we gather here to plan how we can make a home for a few vulnerable people this winter.

Celebration

If you want to know, joy is what meeting Jesus feels like, even if that meeting is very tenuous and fleeting. If you've ever for a moment felt true joy—not happiness, not pleasure, but pure, unselfish, uncontainable, incontestable, indescribable joy—then you've met Jesus. But whatever you do, don't think you have to wait for some fuller revelation to have your celebration. When it comes to meeting Jesus, you don't have to know everything you're supposed to know. You don't have to be everything you're supposed to be. Paul says that we know only in part, and we see in a mirror dimly. [I Cor 13:9,12] So we see Jesus only intermittently. But that doesn't mean we can't see him at all. So, rejoice in the Christ you know. Celebrate the little bit of God you see. Share any scrap of Good News that you hear, no matter what's going on in your life, no matter what time of year.

From Fear to Joy

Call it hormones or call it sisterhood or call it the Holy Spirit, but somehow they have found an inner strength that enables them to en-joy, to enter into joy, despite the fear their pregnancies have caused them, despite the heart-ache those boys will bring them. Mothers of healthy babies are lucky; they get to carry joy around in their bodies. But all of us—men, too—carry the potential for joy inside of us, even if we don't know it or can't feel it. Even if no brain scan or ultrasound will reveal it.

Songs and Stories to Welcome the Christ Child

We listened to Mary’s Magnificat this morning. That’s the first word of the Latin translation of Mary’s song in the Gospel of Luke. So I thought we’d share some stories about some of our favorite songs for the season and then sing them to welcome Mary’s child.

Sining Mary's Song

Though their circumstances were very different, all these women—Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, and Mary—sang about their struggles with the forces of evil. For Miriam, it was Pharoah's army. For Deborah, it was the Canaanite king. For Hannah, it was all the women who ridiculed her for not having children. For the unwed Mary, it was everyone who was going to question her story. Here is my question: how could these women do battle every day with the evil and injustice of life and still sing for joy?

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