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Month: December 2017

Fifth Business

Simeon and Anna have been called what folks familiar with plays and drama call, ‘fifth business”.  They are not the tar of the show or the lead or even major players, but they appear at a place and time that make the drama move forward.  Simeon’s song, the Nunc Dimittis, has been apart of our worship since at least the 4th century.  Simeon means “God has heard”.  Waiting for the consolation of Israel and filled with Holy Spirit He preaches. According to Luther – The patriarch Simeon steps up, even though by virtue of age he can scarcely see his way, and with penetrating clarity of discernment recognizes and praises this child as the Savior and Light of the World. All emperors, kings, and sovereigns are mere darkness, but this child is the Light of the World. All the world is subjugated under death and damnation, but through this child the world will obtain salvation. This child, in short, is the one whom the prophets foretold. The words of the Evangelist are very apt, but Simeon, no doubt, has fine-etched them. It was a sermon, says the Evangelist, that caused the child’s father and mother to marvel about the child. The thought that he was to be a light unto the Gentiles was not understood clearly from the words of the angels until Simeon spoke. The other people who...

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The Old Canard

Every few years the old story is given a political twist and used to manipulate something or someone.  The story of Mary and Joseph and the a baby born in a stable is used to push some agenda or another usually about the homeless and the hungry.  The Pope dragged it out again and identified The Holy Family with the migrant waves that are moving across the globe and that they arrived in a land that had no room for them.  There are enough Biblical mandates to care for the hungry and homeless and the alien that we don’t have to make up stories and about Mary and Joseph.  Once again we have to set the record straight.  A radio announcer talked about this the other day and he made more sense.  If the Pope was talking about the journey to Bethlehem, the Holy Family were not migrants, they were the victims of bad timing and overarching government.  They had to leave the town of Nazareth and travel to their home town because they were being taxed.  The King James is at least honest.  Other translations call it a census.  The only reason a government takes a census is for taxation.  The arrived and had no place to stay because Joseph probably forgot a reservation.  They were not poor and homeless.  Joseph had a job that he had to leave for...

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There Might Be Grinches…

  There are twelves days of Christmas and I am not sure which day this is but Christmas is still going on.  I have never paid much attention to the Grinch from the old Dr. Suess book but there might be Grinches; real ones.  I have recently heard about a Congressman who I believe has either lost his mind or is a real life Grinch.  After the announcement of the passage of the Tax Bill, AT&T announced that it would be given all of it’s employees a $1000 bonus.  The congressman was so incensed that he called for a boycott of AT&T and it’s products. Why would a so called servant of the people do something that a few years ago would be political suicide?  Has the idea that all money belongs to the Government and they will dole it out the way they see fit taken over to a point that a good thing, like a raise for ordinary folk is considered a problem, or treason?   What kind of political philosophy must you have to be angry when people either get more money, of get to keep more of the money they have. Part of the idea might be that like the Grinch, there is a distain for folks who need to make due with what they have while the government can never do without.  Do we really need 17...

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Christmas Memories

  A rogue toddler reportedly stole the baby Jesus at a Christmas Program in Tennessee. I remembered something on the way to one of my churches for the Christmas Eve Service.  I happened long ago and I was probably in the 5th grade.  We were worshipping in an old Baptist church we rented in Leadville CO.  It was old and cold and heated by a coal oil stove.  It had the baptistery open pool for dunking and that is where our Christmas pageant was held.  Mary and Joseph and the baby in the manger were down in front of me.  Shepherds with wooly sheep and crooks were below me to the right and I was an angel standing on the pool side looking down saying the Gospel from Luke (we had to memorize in those days).  As the pageant progressed I noticed Mary was getting tired.  She started out strong and was starting to fade.  Soon she took her blanket headscarf off and stood up and kind of stumbled down the steps toward the congregation and her mother.  Joseph looked like he might bolt too, but the mother kept speaking in a loud stage whisper for Mary to “get back to the manger”.  Half way down the aisle she flounced around and went back to the manger, grabbed baby Jesus by the arm, and dragged Him bumping down the steps and the...

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Christmas Morning 2017

It was 17 below zero Christmas morning when I got up to go to church. The only other human being on the road as near as I could tell was the snowplow operator who drove by me on a quiet street. It’s kind of fun to drive through a dark town with the Christmas trees and the lights turned on.  I run a 60 mile course on Sunday’s and I never know what to expect.  It could be like a herd of deer (8 0f them) who nonchalanted across the road in front of me in a rather thick snow cloud, or folks in the ditch because of ice.   This is what I messaged to myself since there had been 6 services on Sunday. I have three services today, Christmas Day, and of course I’m wondering how many people will be there. Christmas Eve services are usually pretty well attended, the Christmas day not so much. One of the advice givers over the last few weeks said,  “why don’t you just cancel the Sunday morning services and just have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, or cancel the Christmas day services?”  17 below at 6:30 in the morning and that sounds now like good advice. The problem with that is I’m not in the habit of canceling services. Jesus words, where two or three are gathered together in my name ring out, but there...

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