Dec 20 2014

Wrestled With Angels: Live to Serve (Guest Post: Isaac Grundy)

Isaac Grundy Canton, GA What exactly does Christmas mean to me?…..well besides getting off work and school which is always fun, it means everything to me! Growing up, Christmas was always my favorite time of the year. When I was a little kid, I used to love sitting by my grandparents fire place and watching […]

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Dec 20 2014

Seedbed: What Was the First Christmas Like?

What was the first Christmas really like? When did the Magi visit Jesus, and how about the shepherds? In this video, Dr. Craig Keener shares historical background that illumines the Christmas story found in the Gospels. He reveals how the Gospels choose to contrast the powerful with the weak and the illuminating parallels between Jesus and Caesar Augustus.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/what-was-the-first-christmas-like/

Dec 20 2014

ClergySpirit: Psalms of Advent: Magnificat, Joy, and Loss of Control

    The wonder of a late fall sunrise, Jesuit Retreat Center,
    Wernersville, Pa.
    
    With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God.
    He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones  and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed. He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever. Luke 1: 46-55
     
    In just the first chapter of Luke, we have the only birth psalm of the third Gospel that is spoken by a woman. Mary, who is “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit earlier in the chapter becomes the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy of “maidservants” receiving the Holy Spirit in Acts 1. Mary, who waits with apostles for the Holy Spirit, becomes one of Luke’s hinges, thematically.  
     
    But when it comes to the words of this psalm, which takes as its title, Mary’s soul which in other versions, MAGNIFIES the Lord, like mother, like son. Researchers in faith development once concluded that most enduring faith is the kind a child gets from a mother, even more than as father. It is all about what is actually believe and lived.  
     
    It shouldn’t surprise us that Mary had the key role in Jesus’ faith. (Luke 2:58) So much that Jesus, again in Luke, will teach Magnificat values in Luke 6, where he says, almost antiphonally:
    Happy are you who are poor,
        because God’s kingdom is yours.
        Happy are you who hunger now,
        because you will be satisfied.
     Happy are you who weep now,
        because you will laugh… 
    But how terrible for you who are rich,
        because you have already received your comfort.
      How terrible for you who have plenty now,
        because you will be hungry.
    How terrible for you who laugh now,
        because you will mourn and weep.

     

    In both places, the poor and hungry are filled, the rich and filled are emptied. The lowly are lifted up, the powerful and comfortable, along with the self-exalted are brought down. The imaginary and false self with all its arrogance and pretense at controlling life, God, and others is “scattered,” like the enemies of God in Maccabees.   
     
    This declaration of praise from Mary is her response to God’s tender mercy and mother love- a joy that  resounds in the “depths” of who she is. And it is enough to overthrow the tight control we think we have on all the stuff we cannot fix the way we want.

    For a second, I think of anything that neither I nor life can guarantee, and I’m freer to rejoice in the one thing that is real – the One who always remembers mercy.   

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    Dec 20 2014

    An uncommon path: Are ‘whites’ South Africa’s problem?

    A good friend of mine, Sanda Fata, posted a quote on his timeline last week that caused me to reflect and think very deeply.  I respect Sanda and so trust his perspective.  Here is the status that Sanda posted:

    Most white South Africans don…

    Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/are-whites-south-africas-problem/

    Dec 19 2014

    Beguine Again: Sabbath is for Life

    Sabbath is for the sake of life. – Rabbi Heschel

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    Dec 19 2014

    Rev. Brent L. White: Billy Graham’s “tree stump prayer” echoes the Virgin Mary’s famous prayer

    In this article from Billy Graham’s website, his grandson Will describes the most important crossroads that Billy Graham faced in his life. It occurred in 1949 at a Christian retreat center in California called Forest Home. Among other things, Graham’s confidence in his calling as an evangelist was shaken by a disastrous recent crusade in Altoona, […]

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