Friday, December 05, 2003

Some (very) random notes:

I have long suspected that advent calendars as a whole are being drained of their relationship to the church year. This was confirmed for me when I saw an ad for an advent calendar for pets in the New Yorker the other day.... That same dayI saw a bumper sticker I liked outside my church . From a distance it looked like you standard I heart NY, but underneath in small print it read "but Jerusalem is home." This was no doubt refering to Jerusalem the present city and may have socio-political connotations I don't want to get into. If you read it as heavenly/metaphorical Jerusalem, though, its a great way of expressing our longing for that promised new creation described in the less scary parts of Revelation 21:

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
and there was no longer any sea.

2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

4He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away."

Reading this now makes me wonder if I wasn't a little harsh in denying the pets their liturgical observance. After all creation as a whole suffers from the fall and will as a whole be created new. Let fido have his rawhide in the meantime.....

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Its been a long time since I last posted and we have already rolled over into a new church year with the beginning of Advent. Since I last posted we had a Halloween party in the graveyard near the high school and got to chat with some great kids. Other then that we have finished Life Together and are now looking at the Confession of St. Patrick. What an amazing treasure. You can read it for free on Christian Classics Ethereal Library

here's a bit that really struck us last night about ministry in Christ's name::

How much more should we earnestly strive to do this, we, who are, so Scripture says, a letter of Christ for salvation unto the utmost part of the earth, and, though not an eloquent one, yet...written in your hearts, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God! And again the Spirit witnesses that even rusticity was created by the Highest.

Whence I, once rustic, exiled, unlearned, who does not know how to provide for the future, this at least I know most certainly that before I was humiliated I was like a stone Lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came and in His mercy lifted me up, and raised me aloft, and placed me on the top of the wall. And therefore I ought to cry out aloud and so also render something to the Lord for His great benefits here and in eternity---benefits which the mind of men is unable to appraise.

Wherefore, then, be astonished, ye great and little that fear God, and you men of letters on your estates, listen and pore over this. Who was it that roused up me, the fool that I am, from the midst of those who in the eyes of men are wise, and expert in law, and powerful in word and in everything? And He inspired me---me, the outcast of this world---before others, to be the man (if only I could!) who, with fear and reverence and without blame, should faithfully serve the people to whom the love of Christ conveyed and gave me for the duration of my life, if I should be worthy; yes indeed, to serve them humbly and sincerely. "

This struck us as a great description of ministering out of ones brokenness, which while a cliche, is a cliche for a reason.

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