“Blessed Virgin Mary, I’m coming full circle
and I want to be your…what is it I want?
I want to be your child and friend again.
Advent is about waiting and watching: waiting and watching for the coming of Christ. We wait for just the right time to celebrate the birth of Christ in our midst and we watch for Christ’s promised return. But how do we wait and where do we watch?read more
Mary, Joseph, Jesus,
The characters remain.
Shepherds and the angels,
Truth travellers’ contain
Shaped in ancient story’s
Sweet mystical refrain.
When the child is at the center,
When the babe is in the stall,
When the adult nurtures wonder,
When the carols warm us all,
Then the fragments come together
And the vision shines as one
The way you tell the Christmas story, it all sounds so simple. So simple. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I really like it. It’s just that for so long now people have been telling my story and the way they tell it, it all sounds so simple and easy, so neat and tidy, that I hardly recognize myself in the story. It’s not your fault. It all started a long time ago. Luke and that other fellow Matthew, they started it all. They wrote my story down and wouldn’t you know it they cleaned it all up. But who can blame them. Nobody likes messy birth stories. And as birth stories go, my baby’s birth was a really messy one.read more
Mary, this enigmatic woman has remained in the shadows for centuries. All too often the epithet “virgin” has been applied to the young woman who fell pregnant so long ago. As her Advent appearance approaches, I this re-post this sermon which I preached a couple of years ago in which I asked some questions about Mary. At the time I was reading Jane Schalberg’s “The Illegitimacy of Jesus”, John Shelby Spong’s “Born of a Woman” and “Jesus for the Non Religious” along with John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s “The First Christmas” and this sermon is laced with their scholarship.read more
Whenever we enter into a conversation about God and prayer, it’s helpful to remind ourselves that despite what some religion’s would have us believe, the Creator or Initiating Consciousness that created of our universe, the Ground of Being we refer to as God, is in fact, Ultimate Mystery. Thus, the concepts in this article are my thoughts and ideas, not absolute truth.read more
Matthew and Luke tell completely different (and contradictory) accounts of the birth of Jesus. Neither are meant to be taken literally. They were writing a theological message (sermon) to introduce their gospels. Where the two agree is that the Jesus they were going to describe was a messenger who would turn the world upside down, casting down the rich and powerful in favor of the weak and poor. There is our real Christmas story, a story of liberation and justice.read more
As Christmas draws near, we turn to stories to express the inexpressible. Like the Gospel writers we are at a loss to explain the activity of our God in the world and so we too resort to story telling. Families gather and the reliable old stories are told. And each year new stories are added to our treasure troves as we seek to express the inexpressible and touch the hem of our God who is love. And what better way to touch and be touched by God than to tell stories of God’s love in the world. We all have treasure troves of stories of Christ taking on flesh and dwelling among us. My story took place when I was a young woman determined that my first Christmas living out in the world would be the type of Christmas that dreams are made of.read more
Taste and see how gracious the Christ is,
Taste and see the wonder of life;
Take the bread, the body of Jesus,
Break the bread, the flesh of the world;
Taste and see the wonder of life.
O golden cup of life,
A chalice full of love,
The space beyond all strife
You form our sacred home,
Your ways produce delight,
Your life becomes our own.
With such an expansive awareness of our universe and our place in it, it is necessary to pause and honor the corners we turn, the milestones, the past and the present. But meaning is lost when the words are irrelevant, when language is outdated, and practices are dogmatic and un-evolving. As progressive Christians, we are called to walk into the mystery of change, while at the same time keeping close to our hearts the timeless teachings of our tradition. Our life celebrations and rituals must then reflect this call, this necessary aspect of our path. Sacred community is a space to explore these traditions and to create new ones.read more