Skip to main content

Advent Snowglobes (Day 18)

This is a Norman Rockwell scene. Santa is writing in his book. I don't know what he is recording: is this his naughty/nice list, or is he checking off completed projects from his workshop? His handwriting is worse than mine, so it is impossible to tell. At any rate, sometimes things do not go our way. We end up on the naughty list. We find coal in our stocking. Or we do not receive the gift we most wanted at Christmas. Or things turn much more serious for us: mourning the absence of a loved one at Christmas, a challenging medical diagnosis, loss of a job, uncertainty about the future. Given the rash of violence we see in our country and around the world, we worry about the safety of our loved ones. "God's plan" is a nebulous cliche folk like to offer as a response to whatever bad news we hear. God may, or may not, have every single detail of your life spelled out like Santa's book here. But we know there is an ultimate plan for all of humanity-- even the world-- it's the most important theme of Advent. This prophetic text assigned for today notes the difficulty of the current environment, but focuses on promised hope and renewal: "Now why do you cry out so loudly? Isn't the king in you? Or has your counselor perished, so that pain has seized you like that of a woman in labor? Writhe and scream, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor! Now you will leave the city and dwell in the open field; you will go to Babylon. There you will be rescued; there the Lord will redeem you from the power of your enemies. Now many nations may gather against you; they say, 'Let her be defiled,' or 'Let our eyes look with desire at Zion.' But they don't know the plans of the Lord; they can't understand the scheme, namely that he will bring them like grain to the threshing floor! Arise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will make your horn out of iron; your hooves I will make out of bronze" (Micah 4:9-12). So I invite you to writhe and scream to God whatever is on your heart today. God can handle our honesty! And then hear this promise: You are a beloved daughter/son of God. God will fashion out of iron and bronze whatever you need to endure your current struggles. And God will deliver and rescue you. Rest in that hope and promise.


Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…