Good Friday

Good Friday

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent Reflection

This past weekend, wedged between the hype and indulgence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the first Sunday of Advent quietly arrived.

The days surrounding this Sunday and the Sunday itself have at least one similarity: all are forward-looking, steeped in anticipation. But that is where the similarities end.

The consumer holidays look forward to increasing the amount of stuff we or others have purportedly to increase one’s happiness quotient. Advent looks forward to the coming of Christ, the only one whose coming will deliver true happiness once and for all.

The consumer holidays look forward to parties and food and family gathered together in all of their imperfect relationships. Advent looks forward to the wedding feast with the Lamb, the ultimate party where broken relationships will finally be healed.

The consumer holidays look forward to symbols of abundant life that moths and rust most surely will destroy at some point. Advent looks forward to the abundant life promised by God that nothing – not even death – can destroy. In fact, Advent points us forward to the day when death itself will be destroyed.

After an election year filled with strife, where insults and promises filled the air, Advent reminds us yet again that the Prince of Peace came not with power and prestige and wealth, but as a tiny baby of unknown, poor parents. The promises of this Prince are the only truly trustworthy promises and they come to us in a power that is displayed as weakness.

God – the Creator and Sustainer of all there is – taking on human flesh, indeed that of a baby born of a woman just like you and I. The great theological reflections of Chalcedon barely scratch the surface of this mystery.

And so we enter this season once again. Filled with hope we pray “O come O come Emmanuel.” Indeed, come quickly.

Friday, November 11, 2016

5,539 Miles

13 days, 13 states, 5,539 miles, Hoover Dam, 3 National Parks, and 1 wedding with family = an awesome vacation!
A few weeks ago, on the day we returned, I posted this line on my Facebook page. I’m still high on the trip my husband and I took. We drove and camped our way to California, stopping along the way at a few places we had not been before and revisiting others.
We are not landscape snobs. Our family has generally driven cross-country to our destination. We have learned to ignore people’s remarks about places like Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. We have camped in all of those places, stopped along the road, and found that if one takes a little time in this “fly-over zone,” there is much to be appreciated. Each area of the country has its own peculiar beauty.
I admit that we were not exactly thrilled with the idea of driving through Nevada on our way home. But it turns out that beginning with the peculiar salt formations at Mono Lake all the way up to the northeast corner where it meets Utah, Nevada is a strangely beautiful place.


I am also not particularly fond of the dry southwest. I brought plenty of lotion on this trip! But there too, the stunning colors that layer the land and the odd vegetation that is able to survive there have a beauty that is unmatched.


It is not uncommon to hear people quote Psalm 19 when thinking about the creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God.” Or Psalm 8: “When I consider the heavens, the moon and the stars that you put in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them?” The direction of the gaze is always up.
But while the night sky at Homolovi State Park and Death Valley National Park was stunning, so were the rocks, one of which is represented below.

If we did not praise God for the beauty of this world and his glory that was so evident in every place we traveled, I am certain that the very rocks would cry out, as Jesus indicated at his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.

Just Kidding

So, just in case you were all excited about my move to the WordPress address and format that I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to put that off for a while. 

It turns out that it is difficult for folks to get notices that I have posted. I am also not familiar enough with the mechanics of the pages to have it work the way I would like it to. I have to ask a colleague to help with background and other issues.

In other words, for now, I am remaining here so any of you who follow (I know there are a few) can continue to get notices when I write. I do plan to put up two recent posts in the next day or two. 

Thanks for hanging in there with me as I explore other options. For now, the more familiar is better for me. If I change my mind again, I will let you know :)