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Surprising Hope

Sunday, December 16, 2012 — Third Sunday in Advent C — Luke 3:7-18

As the days shorten and our culture frantically engages in its annual orgy of nostalgic longing for Christmases past, self-indulgent excess and self-serving charity, an underlying anxiety drives it all. Another year has past. What has mattered? Is there truly hope? The church's season of Advent acknowledges that widespread cultural ache. The crowds flock to the crazy baptizer in the wilderness because they too are looking for hope and want to cover their bases. John's fiery preaching, his call to repentance and his unprecedented demand that all must be baptized touch a sensitive nerve. What if he is right? What if there is a Coming One who is finally going settle the score for everyone?

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Here and Now!

Sunday, December 9, 2012 — Advent 2 C — Luke 3:1-6

Where were you on November 22, 1963, the day President John Kennedy was shot? Or September 11, 2001, the day when those jet planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center? Those events so shocked our country that many of us can still remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the terrible news. We remember dramatic, life-changing events by linking them to the particular places and details of the here and now. Linking memorable events to the specific details of the here and now is typical of the Gospel of Luke. Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus begins by reminding us that Jesus was born during “the reign of Caesar Augustus, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.” Luke does the same thing in today’s Gospel.

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Heads Up!

Sunday, December 2, 2012 — Advent 1 C — Luke 21:25-36

We don’t like surprises for which we are unprepared. Before the inspector shows up, the test is given, the bad weather arrives or Christmas comes, we want. . . . a HEADS UP. In today’s Gospel Jesus is giving the crowd a HEADS UP.

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Who’s in Charge?

Sunday, November 25, 2012 — Christ The King B — John 18:33-37

A king is someone who is in charge. Today, the last day of the church year, we celebrate the fact that Jesus is in charge. In a world where it seems that either no one is in charge or everyone wants to be in charge, the church declares that Jesus is in charge. Jesus has the last word. Christ is King! Thomas G. Long, Whispering the Lyrics, Lima, Ohio: CSS Publishing Co., 1995, pp. 77-78

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Judgment Day

Sunday, November 18, 2012 — Pentecost 25 B Lectionary 33 — Mark 13:1-8

A popular tourist attraction in Washington D. C. is the magnificent National Cathedral. This great structure is indeed a sight to behold. Even though it was damaged in an earthquake a few years ago, it is immense, imposing and enduring. Why do so many come to visit? Maybe because in this world of disposable diapers, non-returnable soft drink bottles, throw-away cartons, biodegradable shopping bags and plastic everything, it is reassuring to encounter something so substantial. So much is transitory, here today and gone tomorrow. Everything changes, decays, and is tossed on the garbage heap of history. But the National Cathedral, eternal-looking, immense and imposing, stone upon stone, arch upon arch—it surely shall last. We assure ourselves, crossing our fingers.

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