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Have you ever thought about . . .

What happened to the church in Jerusalem in AD 70 when the city was destroyed by Rome and Jews were banned from the city and the surrounding area?

Well I had never thought much about it till this question kept poking at me – and caused me to choose this to write about for my first church history paper.

I learned a lot of stuff I had never even been curious about. The person of James – as one author says – he may have been more concerned with purity than his older brother.
And I wonder what would have happened if Paul hadn’t fought so hard for freedom from the Torah law for the Gentiles.

History is very interesting as one starts to dig around.

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So is this a place I can connect?

This morning I decided to attend one of the two churches in town. I suspect the are both fairly similar in their theologies but the one I went to is the more “laid back” I guess. The group calls itself “The Gathering” and there were probably 300+ people worshiping this morning. I may have been almost the most senior of the group. It was OK as far as a service went. The music was OK – most of the songs were familiar. The leader did go overboard a bit on her lyrical additions but I guess it wasn’t too much.
I sat by myself. After awhile a young woman and her child joined me and I didn’t feel quite so much by myself. But i did feel as if I would love to have someone notice that I was new, ask me my name, speak to me, welcome me, something. I guess with all the new students maybe there were just too many of us newcomers.
Lessons learned – never ignore a visitor. They may need to feel less alone.
So, I will see if this place is where I fit. I wish I could find someplace welcoming, with just enough liturgy to help me feel the richness of life in the body. Not stuffy but connected to the church universal in a significant way.

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Reflection on Psalm 32

Rejoice in the LORD
Be glad, you pure hearted ones.
This purity is sheer
Gift, not some innate
Character of heart given
To some deserving souls
And not to others
Dammed before they even start.

No, this purity, this gift, pure grace
Undeserved, is free for all.
Even repeat sinners
Like me can take it
With dirty feet ready
For washing, hands open
With nothing to offer back
But thanks.

Rejoice!
Be glad, pure hearted ones!

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Betrayers All

Jesus called his closest friends to share his final meal;
Those twelve beloved friends, a Covenant meal.
The Night of Great Remembrance rebirthed a new and greater one.

The betrayer ate. He was invited too. Loved as deeply.
A traitor among them; treacherous heart turning to stone.
“The one to whom I give the bread…”
Did their hands touch? Did Judas see the love filled eyes?
Body and blood choke his swallow as he cut himself out,
Leaving to do his evil task?

Last night we ate at this same table;
Betrayers all.
Our hands touched the body given;
Lips drank the offered life.
We saw his eyes of love and we remembered.
“Is this New Covenant table not a participation?”

Make us to be your body, Christ.
Pour your life blood ‘to us. Heal us
Of our betrayer hearts.
Raise us to this participation;
Reborn in you to bless the world.

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Palm Sunday

Today I worshipped
Amongst rocks
And shiny glass bits
Washed up on shore.
Green and purple
Glass, edges rounded,
Tossed up by pounding waves.
Child’s treasure. Burnished glass
And pebble stones
Worn smooth at lakes edge.

Today I worshipped.
Palm Sunday;
And the stones
Cried out his praises,
While I hunted treasures
With a little boy.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Advent – Waiting

Seems about time to see if this blog can find new life. I wonder if things have shifted enough in how I use my time to allow me time to do some reflecting in this space.  Not sure anyone reads this anymore but mostly this is for me anyway.

I checked outside first thing this morning.  Snow again in the night.  Quite a lot.

Winter came early this year.  Now here it is, Advent already.

I seem to have expectations about Advent that are out of sync with the culture around me.  I wish I knew if this was a good or bad thing.  I love Christmas but it seems as if for most people Advent is simply a hurtling into Christmas.  As if now we are in for it in earnest so lets start the decorating and presents buying; lets get the latest decorations and put them up quickly before this season passes. 

There is a part of me that wants to do this too but am I just succumbing to the pressure of my consumerist culture? 

The other part of me screams, “WAIT!”  Advent is a time to wait.  But nobody seems to want to wait.  Including Christians.  They want to leave behind the purple of Advent and rush towards decorations – red and green and gold and all the sparkly things, the glitter and lights. 

It seems to me, and I may be wrong – as I usually seem to be – that we need to wait.  We need to consider the reasons for the waiting.  The whole universe waited for millennia till God sent his own son.  Then his presence was among us – he became one of us – was born, grew up in a human family, taught, was misunderstood, died, conquered evil and rose to offer us life too.  And now we wait for him again.  We need to remember that we are waiting people – waiting for our hope of a new creation, new life and freedom.  And while we wait we have his presence with us.  He did not leave us alone to wait in the dark.

There is so much we can learn if we take the time to wait.  A baby will arrive in good time.  Then we will celebrate!

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