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Blessed Darkness

Talk Given at Our Advent Mini Retreat, 2011

For the sake of Jacob, my servant,
of Israel my chosen one,
I have called you by name,
giving you a title, though you do not know me.
I am the LORD, there is no other,
there is no God besides me.
It is I who arm you, though you do not know me,
so that all may know, from the rising of the sun
to its setting, that there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, there is no other.   Read More…

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The Power of Hope

Talk Given at our Advent Mini Retreat, 2010

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.  For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.  For in hope we were saved.  Now hope that sees for itself is not hope.  For who hopes for what one sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.   Read More…

When Eyes are Opened

Talk Given at Our Advent Mini Retreat, 2009

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:

“Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” 

So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD’S bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it.  Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,” when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.    Read More…

Still to Come, Yet Already Here

Talk Given at Our Advent Mini Retreat, 2008

Advent Gathering Hymn:

Here in the world where darkness surrounds us,
We seek a sign that you are among us.
Where is the peace you promised the widow?
Where is the home you promised the orphan?
Where is the road you promised the exile?
Where is the good news preached to the lowly?
Where is the heart whose “yes” is salvation?
Where is the child whose life is our future?
Show us your face, O promise of dawn.
Show us your face, O Lord Jesus come.

Come, O hope of your people.
Come among us and stay.
Lead us in mercy up from the shadows,
Shine in our darkness, be here today.
Come, O hope of your people.
Come among us and stay.

Let’s take a moment to consider what we do every year at this time.  For one thing, we complain. We grouse about the fact that we’re “here in the world where darkness surrounds us.”  Now, it’s not as if we wring our hands every moment of every day.  After all, we’re quick to let God know that we think it’s wonderful to be alive.  We regularly thank God for our lives and the lives of those we love; and yet there’s something we call darkness – something that isn’t so wonderful and we let God know what we think about that as well.  We’re happy, and yet we’re not happy.   Read More…

A Sense of Urgency

Talk Given at Our Advent Mini Retreat, 2007

“No one knows the day nor the hour of the coming of the Son of Man, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark.  They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.

 Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.   Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

 Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.  So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. 

Matt 24, 36-44   Read More…

Demonstrating Power through Weakness

Talk Given at Our Advent Mini Retreat, 2006

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said,

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.   Read More…