Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silent Night

This year, for our 11:00p.m. Christmas Eve Service, I chose for us to sing Hark, the Herald Angels Sing and not, as is tradition, Silent Night. Just at the thought of it people questioned, pondered, and even rebuked the change.

My thoughts on this change are two-fold.

1. We were using the service of Nine Lessons and Carols as developed and presented by King's College. If you look on the King's College website,, you will find they traditionally end with O Come, All Ye Faithful followed by Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. I figure if it is good enough for King's College Cambridge, it is probably good enough for us.

2. There is a theological bend to this question as well. If we listen to the Christmas story as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we find that the angels tell the shepherds the shepherds tell someone for "all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them." The star tells the Gentiles, who in turn tell King Herod (ok, so that wasn't the best person to tell).

So what do we do when we hear this story again? That's right, light a little candle, sing a song about being silent, and warm up in our own personal glow space. We are not called to be silent with the news that a child has been born. We are to be heralds, bearers of the news. We have a gift to share and it did not come from Jared's.

We need the good news of a savior, who brings peace, to cover the face of the earth. And we, the people who worship this child born in Bethlehem, are the ones who need to share the message with the world in turmoil.

Monday, December 22, 2008

22nd of December

Ok, so I am in the office three days before Christmas (the ONLY religious holiday that is also a full Federal Holiday). I was thinking about the covenant that is to come when the Kingdom of God is fully established on earth. That is what we are hoping for on the 25th of December, right? The Kingdom of God on Earth?

Are we looking for the time when our kingdoms, our positions of power, our goals are worthless? Are we hoping for the day when the only one who leaders is Christ? Many of us are looking forward to Christmas. We cannot wait until we sing Silent Night with candles all aglow. (Look for something on Silent Night tomorrow.) Are we as anxiously awaiting the coming of Christ who will separate the wheat from the chaff? Are we living out our salvation is such a way that the world sees in us an indwelling of the kingdom of God?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


This is something that has been percolating in my mind for a while now and I am just beginning to be able to formulate it into sentences. This is not a final thought by any means, rather this is a getting it out to be seen and tested. Please throw darts at it. Poke holes in it. Help me see what I am blind to see.

It seems to me that many good and faithful Christians spend a great amont of time trying to find a good set of ethics, a set of rules by which to live their lives.

Once upon a time the rules were pretty simple, "Don't drink. Don't smoke. (Don't dance.) And don't go with girls who do." If you did or did not do these things as the case may be, you were in pretty good standing with the Big Guy.

Wesley gave the people called Methodists three rules. 1. Do no harm. 2. Do good. 3. Tend to the ordiances of God. In other words, avoid evil and sin, love your neighbor in every form possible, and maintain the spiritual disciples of prayer, the reading of scripture, and community worship. He said that living out these rules was evidence of a persons desire to recieve salvation that comes in grace through Christ.

Moses gave us the BIG TEN (no this is not a NCAA football conference). This is the Law literally written in stone and given to the people Israel. You know it says stuff like, have no other gods before the LORD God, keep the sabbath, honor your parents, do not want for your neighbors things.

Jesus narrowed it down to two. Love the LORD your God and love your neighbor.

Mother Teresa gave the sisters two keys, which having learned directly from a sister who worked with the Blessed Mother and not finding them elsewhere I feel I should not share in a blog but am more than willing to share with anyone in the personally sharing of faith.

The Gospel according to Matthew in the the Sermon on the Mount (Chapters 5-7 for those of you who want to read along at home) gives us a synopsis of Jesus' ethic and teaching. Instructions on being salt and light. Teachings on those who are called blessed. Reminders to turn the other cheek. Commands to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

The prophet Micah tells us do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.

Then you can pull rules, ethics, and guidelines on life from any of the epistles, from the teachings of Luther, the instructions of St. Francis, the works of St. Augustine of Hippo, the rules of St. Benedict.

And still, good and faithful Christians spend hours trying to find an ethic, a rule, a way to live their life. Do we really believe we need a new teaching on these things? Or are we searching for an ethic that is less intrussive? Here is my proposal in short form. Follow any ONE of these ethics in the name of Christ and you will find yourself working as a servant in the kingdom of God. Live out any of these simple instructions and you will be light and salt. Stop searching for the right answer and say to Christ, "Today. Today, I am yours. And I will do my best to faithful walk in your ways." Then follow to the best of your ability one of these rules of grace and submission.

If even half of us who call ourselves by the name of Christ would find our simple rule and live under the rule the One who is light and life the power of the gospel and good news of Christ would quickly cover the face of the earth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Forgive Me, Father

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been almost two months since my last blog.
I almost thought I had given it up. Do I need to blog? Does anyone care if I blog? Really? Then, almost out of the blue at a Christmas party, a friend of mine said, "Hey, do you blog?"

I said, "Well, I have posted a few times, but not really."

He said, "If you start blogging, let me know. I like your take on things."

Someone wants to know my opinion? About things? Why? I am not all that smart. In fact, I think the more I study and listen and prayer, the more I realize I know very little at all.
So, forgive me, father for not having blogged in almost two months. Forgive me, again, for thinking I know something when in reality I know very litte. Forgive me for sometimes sharing more than is necessary when what you are wanting me to do is listen and be present. Forgive me.