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    Preparing Our Souls for Advent – An Advent Primer

    Anticipating Advent in the midst of the clutter, noise and anxiety of the current cultural pulls is an invitation to shift and prepare our souls for celebrating the coming of Christ—Emmanuel—God with us. The word “advent,” from the Latin adventus (Greek parousia), means “coming” or “arrival.” The Advent Season is focused on the “coming” of Jesus as Messiah (Christ or King). Christian worship, Bible readings, and prayers not only prepare us spiritually for Christmas (His first coming), but also for His eventual second coming. Rich in symbolism, the Advent season allows the church to experience the joy, expectation and complexity surrounding the coming of the Messiah and to ponder its…

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    The Trinity—A Glorious Reality

    “I love the Father. I love His Holy Son. I love the Spirit. I love the three in One. For He created me, redeemed and set me free. Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him." I was unaware, while singing this catchy song in the form of a “round” growing up, that I was singing some very important words about a deep theological reality. Nor did I know that many years later this profound, but simple song would surface as an opening sentence for a blog on The Trinity. In considering the historical development of the Trinity the word trinity is not found in the Bible, but is a theological word…

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    Staying Rooted in the Midst of Rootlessness

    In an ever-changing culture that seems anchorless and chaotic with no moral compass, this rootless tree on Highway #290 en route to our town, grabs my attention. In its rootlessness is a metaphor that speaks of the end result of living without the soul nourishing awareness of God and His Presence. With no anchor or guidance cultural impact is very disconcerting, scary depressing and hopeless, especially if you only focus on the dead tree. God never intended for His children to be rootless – alone, no life within, no access to growth.He provided all we need to be well-rooted and stable in the midst of cultural rootlessness. Roots are important…

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    Celebrating and Remembering our Freedom – July 3, 2019

    On July 4, in 1776 the delegates to the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. With that signing our country was born. Today we celebrate America’s birthday. What are we celebrating and why should we remember? At a time when civil discourse is no longer assumed and disruption of basic rights is prevalent and frequent, it is well to consider and reaffirm the primacy of religious freedom to American democracy and celebrate it. On June 25, 1988, another document was signed, the Williamsburg Charter to celebrate and reaffirm the First Amendment Religious Liberty clause and mark the 200th anniversary of Virginia’s call for the Bill of Rights. It was…

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    Why Silence?

    Silence, like the practices of Sabbath and slowing, offers an exit ramp to get out of the fast lane – a chance to press pause, take deep breath-break, renew, restore, be still and get quiet. On the spur of the moment Friday afternoon, a young mother of three young children, also a teacher of preschool, called me. She blurted out when I answered the phone – “I need some silence!” She then asked if she could come to our guesthouse and just sit in some silence alone. Her husband would keep the children. “I can’t even think; my head is spinning.”   Silence, an across the board need, is necessary to…

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    Ash Wednesday

    Today is Ash Wednesday…what is it and should I participate? This day of repentance and returning, which for many in the Western church marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of fasting before Easter following the example of our Lord who spent 40 days in the desert to fast and pray (Matthew 4:1-11).  It is also known as the “Day of Ashes,” so called because on that day at church the faithful have their foreheads marked with ashes in the shape of a cross. In the Old Testament ashes were used for two purposes: as a sign of humility and mortality and as a sign of sorrow and repentance…

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    Why Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

    According to the market research firm IBIS World, Valentine’s Day sales reached $17.6 billion last year, 2014, and this year’s sales are expected to exceed that figure. February 14 has catapulted into a lucrative opportunity for the sales community. Tangled up in the legends and history of this holiday is a remarkable story. The legend: Saint Valentine was a Roman Priest at the time of the rule of Emperor Claudius- a persecutor of the church. Valentine lived and ministered against the backdrop of a very permissive society where there were no boundaries or strict codes morally. Polygamy would have been more popular than one man and one woman in a…

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    Epiphany and Joseph’s Response – A Life Worth Noting

    Epiphany, in the traditional church calendar, is a festival observed on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to honor and worship the infant Christ. It commemorates the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church it is called Three Kings Day and Twelfth Day. The coming of the Magi to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child precipitated a crisis for Mary and Joseph and the Infant Christ. King Herod’s edict that followed, once he realized he was outwitted by the wise men as they returned home another way, called for all baby boys who…

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    The Angels Of Advent

    You can’t consider Advent without acknowledging the role of angels. Intricately woven into the story of the birth of Christ are these created beings – often pictured by the artists of old with wings, flowing robes and long hair. Consider three of the prominent roles angels played. Preparation was put in place to ready the participants in the nativity story. Can you imagine the orchestration behind the scenes in heaven within the Trinity and with the angels as the drama began to unfold? God was getting His message out – revealing His heart, His plan to the ones He had chosen for this certain invasion into earth. In the exact,…

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    All Saint’s Day and The Cloud of Witnesses

    All Saint’s Day, November 1, observed by Christians in many countries around the world, is traditionally a celebration of all Christian Saints. In some countries cemeteries are crowded with people who come to clean and decorate the family graves and bring flowers and light candles on the graves of their loved ones to remember them. Having experienced this first hand living in Austria, a Catholic country, I was struck by how honoring this was of the families whose loved ones had died. While it was a solemn occasion it was also an impacting experience to walk through the Freidhof (cemetery) in the evening with Austrians who had come to remember.…