First Coming - Madeline L'Engle God did not wait till the world was ready, till...nations were at peace. God came when the Heavens were unsteady, and prisoners cried out for release. God did not wait for the perfect time. God came when the need was deep and great. God dined with siners in all their grim, turned water into wine. God did not wait. till hearts were pure. In joy God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt. To a world like ours, of anguish shame God cae, and
Luke 1:39-45 and 46-55 In this scene tw pregnant women - one poor and one too old to have a child - meet. This story is joyful, surprising, earthy and even fleshy. It is certainly an appropriate forerunner to the incarnation! The two women have turned upside down all expectations - the poor and the old have the position that is usually reserved for the rich and the young. In the incarnation the surprising good news is that Love has taken on flesh, walked among us and put
Hebrews 10:5-10 Does this seem a strange text so close to Christmas? Perhaps this reading is included to remind us that the babe in the manger becomes Christ on the cross. It is much easier to be excited about the baby than to accept the burden of the cross. But we celebrate Christmas because of the cross and God's crazy, amazing love to reconcile humanity with God's own self by taking on human flesh and dwelling among us and ultimately being faithful to the mission even w
Psalm 80:1-7 This Psalm speaks to those who find little to celebrate - whether it is because of health, financial problems or family heartache. The Psalmist doesn't offer quick or easy answers, but there is an honest expression of sorrow and a stubborn faith. To whom can you offer words of hope or a deed of kindness?
Micah 5:2 Micah is another Old Testament prophet who has seen too many rulers who care only for themselves. He could be bitter or cynical. He could decide that there is no reason to believe that God exists, no reason to believe that God loves humanity. But Micah trusts in God's promises and in the "hesed" (loving kindness) of God for humanity - so much so that the coming ruler will be known to the ends of the earth. Who are the Micahs of today, trusting in God's future? W
I have little patience for the blind joy of those who fail to see the sufferings of the world. I am skeptical of those whose joy seems forced, happy no matter what befalls them. But there is another joy - deeper than the good times and bad times life metes out, stronger than our best attempts and sorest failings - a joy that lifts us when we cannot lift ourselves, a peace that grasps us and returns us renewed. Barbara Gerlach What examples have you noticed of the "blind joy
Luke 3:7-18 As on writer put it "there is no going to Bethlehem and the sweet baby Jesus in the manger without first hearing the rough prophet in the wilderness that calls us to repentance". John the Baptist is abrasive, abrupt. His message captures our attention and probably makes us uncomfortable as well. But we need to pay attention to his words. John knows that faithful living required true commitment. How is joy discovered in repentance and deep commitment? How has
Philippians 4:4-7 It is difficult in our consumer driven society to focus, or even distinguish, the difference between the joy found in Christ from that which is purchased at the Mall, on sale. Our "happiness" can so easily be tied to gifts wrapped under the tree rather than a vibrant spiritual life that sustains us, come what may. What has brought you joy today? How can you share that joy with others - especially a non-material joy?
Isaiah 12:2-6 Today's psalm (or song) is not from Psalms. Many books in the Bible contain songs - often of praise. In this song there are shouts of thanksgiving and exclamations of joy for God's goodness which is glimpsed here in the present and assured to come completely in the future. What are some of your favorite hymns and carols? Think of all those that contain the word joy.
Zephaniah 3:14-20 Zephaniah is an Old Testament prophet. He lived during the reigns of kings who abused power and cared little for justice or for God. The people lived under harsh judgements - corrupt judges awarded their land to the wealthy. Zephaniah expresses the longing for a king who would restore justice and protect the people. The theme for this week is joy. What judgements hang over your head that stifle joy? How can you embrace joy today?