A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Scriptures and Prayer for the Third Sunday of Advent

Old Testament: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

Psalter: Psalm 126 or Luke 1:46b-55

Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Merciful God of peace, your work, spoken by the prophets, restores your people's life and hope.  Fill our hearts with the joy of your saving grace, that we may hold fast to your great goodness and in our lives proclaim your justice in all the world. Amen.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday at the Cinema: Has Jesus' House in Nazareth Been Discovered?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Captured and Compelled by the Wonder of the Manger

No priest, no theologian stood at the manger of Bethlehem. And yet all Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders: that God became human. Holy theology arises from knees bent before the mystery of the divine child in the stable.

Without the holy night, there is no theology. "God is revealed in flesh," the God-human Jesus Christ—that is the holy mystery that theology came into being to protect and preserve. How we fail to understand when we think that the task of theology is to solve the mystery of God, to drag it down to the flat, ordinary wisdom of human experience and reason! Its sole office is to preserve the miracle as miracle, to comprehend, defend, and glorify God's mystery precisely as mystery. This and nothing else, therefore, is what the early church meant when, with never flagging zeal, it dealt with the mystery of the Trinity and the person of Jesus Christ…. If Christmas time cannot ignite within us again something like a love for holy theology, so that we—captured and compelled by the wonder of the manger of the Son of God—must reverently reflect on the mysteries of God, then it must be that the glow of the divine mysteries has also been extinguished in our heart and has died out. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

It's Never Too Late to Repent of Compromised Politics

Now that the special Senate election in Alabama is over, it is time for some Christians on both sides of the political aisle to repent of selling their souls in exchange for temporal political power.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christ "Contradiction"

He began his ministry by being hungry, yet he is the Bread of Life.

Jesus ended his earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet he is the Living Water.

Jesus was weary, yet he is our Rest. Jesus paid tribute, yet he is the King.

Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet he cast out demons.

Jesus wept, yet he wipes away our tears.

Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet he redeemed the world.

Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet he is the Good Shepherd.

Jesus died, yet by his death he destroyed the power of death.

Gregory of Nazianzus, bishop and theologian (circa 325-389)

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Great Christological Moment

In Galatians 4:4, Paul writes,

"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law..."

Paul does not speak of just any time, but God's time. He does not state that Jesus was born to Mary at a random time, a kind of "dumb-luck" moment as an accident of history, but rather at a time of God's own choosing, a time when human history, and more particularly, the history of Israel had reached its zenith, a certain divine-human moment, when God would begin his great act of salvation. The birth of Jesus began the great christological moment that would bring the salvation of the world. Advent is a reminder to us that God acts on our behalf in his own time. We have not been abandoned and left to our own devices.

In the midst of a world seemingly out of control, God has made it clear that, when all is said and done, God will have his way and the entire world will see the salvation made possible in Jesus. God has seen to this deliverance by raising his Son from the dead. Jesus was born, crucified, and raised in the fullness of God's time. We live in the time of God's fullness as well, and God will use us if we are willing.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Scriptures and Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent

Old Testament: Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalter: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

Epistle: 2 Peter 3:8-15a

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
God of hope, you call us from the exile of our sin  with the good news of restoration;  you build a highway through the wilderness;  you come to us and bring us home. Comfort us with the expectation of your saving power, made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.