Friday, December 2, 2016

Joyful Noise

As I type this reflection in my study at the church, I'm listening to Charles Gounod's Symphony No. 1 in D Major, which is streaming on WQXR, New York  City's classical radio station.
I remember listening to WQXR when I was a kid growing up outside of New York.  Back then, the only way to listen to the radio was with a radio, and one within transmitting distance of midtown Manhattan.  Now, I can listen to this station anywhere in the world as long as I have internet access.  Of course, as I reflect on this marvel of technology, it's worth taking a moment to consider the fact that this music could actually be recorded!  When I was a kid, people listened to LPs (and now seem to be doing so again!), then tapes (including flash in the pan 8 tracks), followed by CDs and MP3 files. Now it's just a bunch of data streaming from the cloud.  But all of that marked a sea change from the experience of most people through history, who could only enjoy music performed live.

Though live performances are still best in my opinion, I give thanks for the wonder of technology that allows me to listen to music at all hours of the day and night.  And as I celebrate this blessing, I remember its ultimate source: the One who has made the universe and all in it, including men and women who discover and invent all of the things that contribute to the richness of daily life.

Advent is a time to step back, to peel back the layers, to see the mundane anew, and in so doing, reorient ourselves to the mystery and wonder that is coming our way in the form of the Christ child.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

All Over The Place

I find I'm writing a lot about the weather lately.  I don't mean to, but it seems to be so unpredictable as of late.  Warm, cold, rain, sleet, sunshine.  Today, for instance, it's been all over the board, oh so random.  Our lives can take on that feeling too, lending to a sense that things might spiral out of control and that we're at the mercy of an unfeeling, uncaring cosmos.  Advent reminds us otherwise.
During this season, we tread a well worn path, one blazed by our forebears in faith as we make our way to Christmas.  We read Scripture and participate in worship to maintain our bearings, engage in service and fellowship to remind ourselves that we are not alone.  We know that we will arrive in Bethlehem and that there God will be waiting for us.  Along the way we may make a wrong turn, take a detour, get caught up in traffic, maybe even want to head back from whence we came.  But if we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit, we will make it to our destination and in doing so, not be all over the place, but in the one place we are meant to be: with God.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


It was unusually foggy this morning, even warranting a weather service alert.  Pea soupish, to be exact.  There's something mysterious about fog, the way things are hidden, and what is visible is often softened, even made to seem intangible.  I like it.
But too much fog for too long isn't a good thing.  We need to see.  We need clarity.  And just as this is true in the natural world, so it is in our spiritual lives.  Things can become foggy, occluded, vague.  We can become comfortable with this state of affairs and forget what spiritual clarity is like.  Advent is a time when we can focus on the world around us and open ourselves to God, praying that the Spirit will come a lift the fog around us.  When that happens, we will be amazed at what God has in store for us to see!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Giving Tuesday

A few years ago, some clever soul cooked up the idea of Giving Tuesday.  The idea is simple: after Americans have binged shopped from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, they could shift gears and give, rather than get.  It's a nice idea, but it also begs a question: shouldn't every day be Giving Tuesday?
During Advent, we prepare for the greatest gift every given: Jesus.  That central claim of the Christian faith can sound maudlin, but when we take time to think about what it is we confess God has done in coming to us, to be one of us, we should be awed by the epic magnanimity of our Creator.  What a gift!  Freely given, at no cost to us, God gives us love, grace, hope, redemption, new beginnings, new life.  Wow.

This Advent, let's pray over and discern how we as individuals and as a community might respond to God's profligate daily generosity.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunny Skies

A few days ago, the forecast for the start of this week was for dirty weather.  But as  I look out the window of my study right now, the sun is breaking through the clouds.  It's not what was expected, but is a welcome development.  Surprises need not be a bad thing.
Advent, the season of anticipation, is a time when we can work on appreciating the beautiful surprises that God springs upon us.  Some of these are great, some of them are small; all of them are blessings that we need to be alert to.  If we're not in the habit of looking for these gifts, we will miss them.  Over the coming weeks, let's join together in looking and listening for the unexpected.  Let's look for sunny skies, even when we're expecting foul weather.  Who knows what might happen?  Who knows what we might experience?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hurry Up And Wait

Hurry Up And Wait

Today we begin Advent.  Today we begin to wait.

But for what?  What is it we await during this season?  What do we anticipate?  What do we hope we will encounter at the end of this time?

We have just four weeks to come up with answers to these questions.  During this Advent I invite you to join me in praying on these questions, in adopting a discipline of listening and looking, of trying to more aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

So let's hurry up ... and wait.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Road Begins Here!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

On this Easter Sunday we are delighted to discover that the journey did not end on Good Friday.  Rather, this morning we find that God is taking us in new and surprising ways.  Let us give thanks to God for the wondrous thing he has done and is doing in and through Jesus.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen today!