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Jesus does not belong in a manger.

Perhaps this seems obvious.  I mean NO BABY belongs in animal feeding trough.  It’s disgusting and unsanitary.  And this detail in the Christmas story, provided by Luke’s Gospel, is there not to set the stage for Jesus’ birth or to inspire beautiful Renaissance style crèche figures like these, but to describe the abject poverty into which Jesus was born.  Mary laid her newborn son in a manger because as a homeless refugee, she had no other choice. Continue Reading »

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I don’t know how long it’s been since you played “Hide and Seek,” but I bet you remember what the seeker announces after hiding his face and counting to ten and before he begins to look for his hidden friends.  He says:  “Ready or not, HERE I COME!”

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Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, director of such blockbuster hits as ET and Raiders of the Lost has his own distinctive and very influential style.  One of the features of his movies is what many observers have named, “The Spielberg Face.”  This is where he shows us the expression on the faces of actors who are seeing something amazing for the first time without actually showing us the amazing thing they are seeing. Continue Reading »

Where would you look for God?

 

You might go into a church – perhaps a beautiful sanctuary, like the St. Paul Cathedral.  Maybe you would find God in nature, but the scenery would probably be something spectacular – a beautiful sunset, the Grand Canyon, a mountain top view, the stillness of a Minnesota lake with the call of a loon in the background.  You could look for God in a book, but it would have to be an exceptional book unlike any other.  You might find him in a person, probably someone with extraordinary wisdom and insight.  We expect to see him in the grand and glorious – in the best of everything.

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I don’t know about you but I feel a lot of pressure when I hear today’s Gospel.

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The-Parable-of-the-10-Bridesmaids

Not long ago we needed new license tabs for one of our vehicles.  So I headed on down to the Woodbury License center to pay the fees and get the new stickers.  I figure I’m going to be in and out of there in 2-3 minutes.  But when I walk in the door, I see the place is packed!  I mean, why did everyone have to wait until the last day of the month???? Like I did??  I take a number.  94.  I check the digital sign that displays the number of the current person being served.  12.  OK.  So this is not going to be 2-3 minutes.  It’s going to be HOURS!  And I have not prepared for this.  I have no provisions!  Not even a Snickers bar!  I certainly did not bring pajamas or an air mattress to stay the night and it looks like it could be a while.

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Before one attends a family reunion or a get together with relatives, it’s always a good idea to review who everyone is.  I remember my mom doing this with me when I was little.  And I’ve done the same with my kids.  “You remember Uncle Fred?  Aunt Irene?”  “I think so . . . who are they again?”  I think we always assume the next generation knows and remembers more than they do.  So we have to sketch out a little family tree, connect the branches and try to retrieve names and understand the relationships.

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