Sunday Thoughts – 1/2 – Epiphany

From the Greek, meaning to shine out. It celebrates the Incarnation of Christ and is symbolized by some with the image of the Wise Men. Today is the day in which many in the West celebrate it. It is, for many as well, the end of the Christmas season. Of course, it may be better manifested that we celebrate always the Incarnation and always the Resurrection, if, that is, we are able to live in such a way.

It has been a long holiday season and we are now preparing to return to the routine of work and daily activities which accompany our every breath. I am hopeful that this year will end differently, on a higher note, than it is beginning on. Our business is starting to take off, and them moment it gets to a certain level… well, I’ll suddenly have more time to read and blog. Of course, my second semester at United Theological Seminary will be starting in February, so I’ll post more on that as the time approaches. Plus, a few things moving at work to increase the workload there. We’ll see. I intend to start on my year-long exploration of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This might actually fit into something else, but I’ll let you know more about that later.

I hope that each of you have a great 2011, that it is better than 2010, and not as good as 2012. I hope that each of us increases in our service to God and to one another in this year.

Sunday Thoughts – 12/19 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

A mother plays the guitar while her two daught...
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Finally… able to return to church. We missed only a Sunday morning, and a few activities, but it felt like we had been gone a month! It is good, again, to have a place that is a part of your lives – that you miss when you aren’t there.

I have LOTS of posts written. Okay, so actually, they are reposts from the last several years. I do that, you know. It makes it easier.

By the way, read this post.

This past week, a body of a man was found under a bridge. He had died of exposure. In the wealthiest nation on earth, a man can still die in such a way. Merry Christmas.

I have essentially taken the week or so off, although, I’ve still got a few things left to do at the office and so I’ll have to pop in. The Semester at school is over as of the moment I turn in my last paper which will happen tonight.

Also, I’ve got to check into how do I pay for a course at one school while attending mine. You know, with financial aid. But, we’ll see. I am cranking down on my MTS and intend to go full steam ahead into it.

So far, this year, we’ve kept our children from ruining the myth of Santa Claus for others. So far.

How have you been? Good, I hope.

As I said, I have a few posts lined up, and will eventually move into the ‘year end reflections’ mood, but most likely, next week.

I hope that you are each staying warm. God bless and see you soon.

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Sunday Thoughts – 12/5

Advent Sunday
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These next two weeks are going to be rather busy, but to make happy the arbiter of the bibilobloggersphere, I have several posts already written which will post throughout the week. Further, I am going to ‘machine gun‘ a topic this week. So, be ready. I intend to finish several books this week, but I am not holding my breath.

It is Advent, and our first real one. As I reflect over our year outside of a church community, I find myself in preparation for some of the things we are participating in now. But, more on that later.

We have had our first serious snow fall of the season, and it most likely will not end until the middle of the week. The good thing is that the major part of it is over, with the subsequent fall only replacing what has melts during the day. It is not as enjoyable as the previous years, mainly because of the snow from last year. I guess that I wasn’t ready for it this year, and have been too busy to keep a look out for it. It snuck up me.

The sermon today was rather good and I enjoyed it. When it becomes available for download, I’ll let you know. It was Advent related, of course, but it was on something that I’ve been wrestling with for a while as well. Peace. How can you get peace, which most of us want, if we are wanting to hold on to something else?

Anyway, it was one that you need to hear, I reckon. But, at the end of the service, the pastor asked Abigael and Landon to participating in lighting the Advent candles. This was a shocker, but that is most likely the best way to get them to not be nervous! I was pretty proud of it!

One of the songs this morning was O Come Emmanuel, a very old song, possibly dating from the 8th century. One of the stanza’s stood out to me, especially given my exclusionary attitude to the Book of Wisdom, although, I suspect that Proverbs 8 plays a large part in this portion of the hymn.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

No matter, Wisdom (f.) = Jesus (m.)

Work that one out, why don’t you…

Oh, and don’t forget to remember your favorite bibliobloggers if you are going to shop at Amazon.com this holiday season or any day of the year.

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Sunday Thoughts – 11/28 – First Sunday of Advent

"The certain mark by which a Christian co...
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It has been a very, very long week for me. I got back from Atlanta on Tuesday, only to spend a few hours working on our first contract proposal which I had to rush, with 15 minutes to spare, to FedEx. Wednesday, of course, was recovering from SBL and well, you get the picture for the rest of the week and weekend.

This morning’s service was an especially welcoming one. I don’t know why – maybe because I missed last Sunday. Maybe it was the sermon (which I suspect had a lot to do with it). The sanctuary was packed, and there was, to use a completely non-academic term, or Baptist term, but a wonderful, wonderful spirit there this morning. It was rather cozy. I hope to post on the sermon and the challenge of the sermon later this week.

Of course, this is the first Sunday of Advent, and the topic of today was Hope. One of the readings today is from Isaiah,

This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all– the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”

For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.

Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD! (Isa 2:1-5 NLT)

The Church is a Community – not an individual relationship with God. As we join the throngs of Saints here and not here in the celebration of the Advent of the Christ-child, I would encourage you to lay aside some of those differences which keep us away from the Other, the Stranger. Remember the Incarnation and what we have come to understand it as, and live incarnationally. If you must, dare I say, condescend to those who are lower than you in some way. That’s polite – if I was to be frank, I would say to get off your high horse and become what others need to see from God, but I want to be polite.

I have a busy two days, with papers to write and two meetings, but over all, this month isn’t too terribly busy. As a matter of fact, I plan on taking some time off to recoup and to read a lot before the start of the next year. I cannot believe that it has already been a year since last Christmas… whew…

But, this year has seen a lot of changes for me. A lot. I mean, leaving a faith tradition which I had for 32 years, into another one. And other stuff. Of course, like all bloggers, I am sure that I will get around to reflecting on some of the changes which I have seen this year.

I have a few posts planned for this week. But. Not. Much.

I hope that each of you have a great and wonderful week.

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Sunday Thoughts – 11/21

I’m in Atlanta. Pictures will follow. I am surrounded by¬† a great atmosphere, good food, lots of conversations, and better, I am surrounded by great people. Some of them don’t believe like I do, or you do. No doubt. Truly Great People.

I am tired, after driving since 3am this morning and constantly moving all day today. So, enjoy the song, and I will update later.

God bless!