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Archive for December, 2013

Christmas Day, 2013

Image

Most of us are not too familiar or even comfortable with religious paintings known as icons.  They look very strange perhaps with their distinctive style and golden details.  They are not very contemporary and accessible; they look very old and super-religious.  Not something we’d probably hang in our living rooms.

Icons have a long history in some traditions in Christianity.  Some believe that the icon is a sacred connection between God and humanity. In Eastern Orthodox churches, the icons are honored as a way of worshiping Christ himself.  Some believe that in a mysterious, almost sacramental way, God is communicating and fellowshipping with the believer through the image of the icon.  Some have even claimed that icons have performed miracles!  (more…)

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Christmas Eve 2013

Timing is everything.  The funniest joke in the world can fall flat if the person telling it gets the timing wrong.  A well planned menu can be a disaster if cooking times are off.  The earlier you catch a medical problem the better you’ll be able to treat it. And people who succeed at finances know the best time to buy and sell.

Even the timing of Christmas Eve worship is important . . . and tricky.  Some like it earlier; some prefer a late night service.  I’m glad it worked out that we could be together at THIS TIME, this year. (more…)

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We drove through Las Vegas a few years ago on a family vacation — our first time in the famous city.  I’m guessing the approach into Las Vegas from the road is much different than from an airplane.  This man-made oasis is in the middle of the desert; it just springs out of sand.  Kind of weird.  The desert is generally a dry, unproductive and dreary place. But here in the middle of one, lights flash, there is a constant flow of food and drink and the party never ends.

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ADVENT 2, December 8, 2013

 

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 

 

stump

 

The prophet Isaiah gives us a wonderful Advent image in our Old Testament reading today.  “A shoot from the stump of Jesse.”   Imagine a big thick stump – with hundreds of growth rings indicating a long life for the tree that once proudly grew there.  And out of that dead rotting stump a little green shoot manages to find the nutrients to grow.  Only a keen observer would take notice of it.  But there it is pushing its way forward – it’s inner life force reaching for the sun – it’s roots sinking deep into whatever soil it can find – like the summer weed that breaks through rock and concrete.  This happens all the time in nature and there are scientific explanations for it, but it still seems like a miracle. (more…)

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LISTENING FOR A PROPHET (12/4)

JACOB:           Are we there yet?

BEN:                I told you, son, Bethlehem is a 3 day journey from our home.  We just started out this morning.

JACOB:           I know.  But my feet are so tired.  I just thought . . (more…)

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ADVENT 1 December 1, 2013

independence-day4

Global disaster is a popular theme for blockbuster movies.  And with computer generated imagery, some of these scenes look pretty realistic!  Armegeddon showed us what an asteroid impact on New York City might look like.  The movie 2012 showed Los Angeles underwater because of gigantic tidal waves. Giant monsters stomped out New York City in Cloverfield. And aliens destroyed the White House in Independence Day.  And SPOLIER ALERT if you haven’t seen Gravity yet, but we get to see the international space station being destroyed!

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