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I Must Stop Christmas From Coming ... But How?

The UCC Advent Devotional for December 18, 2014:

"You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matthew 3:1-12

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Recovering the Birth: A Christmas Reflection

The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem’s stable is a wonderfully celebrative event. That is as it should be. It is what Christmas is all about. But I fear we have domesticated it and sanitized it way too much. We celebrate the Nativity with angels singing, shepherds kneeling, cattle lowing, Magi coming, Handel’s music playing, and on and on. One of my favorite hymns has a verse: ‘The cattle were lowing, the poor baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.’ What kind of a baby is that? Thus Jesus was born? Or so we think.

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A Season of Reversals

December brings us the season of Advent, when we are invited for four weeks before Christmas to live into a pregnant waiting, a time of reversals, an anticipation of the unknown, and a joyful preparation for the coming of the One who offers us a new perspective on life, a new way of being. Madeline L’Engle reminds us:

“It is the irrational season, When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason, There’d have been no room for the child.”

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HIV/AIDS and the Path of Discipleship

First appeared in November/December 2012 issue of Open Door magazine.

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Maranatha

The UCC Advent Devotional for November 30, 2014:

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Prayers for Thanksgiving

As we gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, a prayer for the feast, for the gathering, for life itself, undergirded by God’s mercy and grace, is certainly appropriate … yea even required! Here are some prayers, gleaned from several sources, that might be helpful.

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Gratitude: The Foundation of Our Spiritual Life

November ushers in a season of bright orange pumpkins, steaming cups of tea, brisk frosty mornings, and cozy evenings by the fire. It is the month we celebrate our American tradition of Thanksgiving, which has its roots in Hebrew scriptural practices offering God the “first fruits” of our harvests. We honor God whose creativity and grace has given us these gifts. We are to remember with gratitude that life itself is a gift from God. Gratitude is at the center of a healthy spiritual life, growing out of the awareness that we are all the offspring of God’s wellspring.

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A Spiritual Practice for Autumn

Here in New England, October offers us great beauty—the brilliant colors of the autumn leaves, the crisp morning air, the scent of apple cider, the sound of geese overhead as they fly to a winter destination. We are reminded in a compelling way that change is a way of life, that a truly engaged life includes countless endings and beginnings, letting go to make room for new experience.

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Letter to Christ the King UCC

On August 24, 2014, Old South Church's Youth Leader, seminarian Kate Rogers, traveled to Missouri to hand deliver 1000 peace cranes to our our sister UCC congregation near Ferguson which has been ministering so amazingly in the midst of chaos, tensions, and grief. The cranes were given to Old South Church last year by Newtown Congregational Church following the Marathon tragedies. As of August, they have traveled over 2200 miles over the last two years.

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A Sabbath Challenge for the Summer

As we enter summer, most of us hope to find a more spacious life in which we can take time for recreation or release from patterns of overwork and over scheduling that have become habitual in our lives. Yet unless we create this reality, that hope will have passed us by when September arrives. Might we create time for Sabbath somewhere in our week during these summer months?

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