God With Us

Icon of the Nativity

So you don't meet a lot of people with good old-fashioned biblical names anymore. I mean, there are a bunch of Matthews and Marks, Johns and Pauls, and Peters, Joshuas and Josephs, and Marys, but there are not a lot of Isaiahs, Jeremiahs, Ezekiels, or Zechariahs, and certainly not a lot of Zerubbabels, Jehoiakins, Jedediahs,…

A King Like No Other

King Arthur and his knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

There is some embarrassment in the modern church about Christ the King Sunday. It’s viewed as patriarchal, monarchist, and imperialist: all the things that a good modern-day Christian should oppose. And we should. But there’s something missing from that understanding, and that’s that proclaiming Christ as King has always been a subversive act. 

A God of the Living

Icon of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Jesus responds to the Sadducees’ ingenuous question with solid legal analysis, theological understanding, and linguistic analysis. But even more than the deftness with which he deals with the Sadducees’ hypothetical, he teaches us a powerful lesson about God’s nature.

Making a Home in Exile

Tissot: The flight of the prisoners from Jerusalem

What if the church, were not a place that promised that everything was okay, but that acknowledged that everything was not? What if the church were a place where people could be broken without feeling like they were somehow being terrible Christians because they still feel broken? Even after coming to church and singing hymns about how everything is great.

In the Hands of a Few

Fresco of Lazarus and the Rich Man at the Rila Monastery

The chasm in the afterlife is erased when we fill in the chasm in life, when we take care of the poor, when we ensure that no one has to worry about where their next meal is coming from, no one has to worry whether they'll be able to afford life-giving treatment.

Babel

The power of Pentecost is that it creates a new definition of community: not defined by any one national or ethnic tradition, but as something universal, available to all people, as they are, and in their language.

They Know Not What They Do

We are hardly ill-informed innocents stumbling along in spiritual ignorance.  We would be better off if we were.  But no... we had to know good and evil.  It was precisely that knowledge that was so seductive to us in the Garden.  We wanted to know.  And we certainly have done so.

Speaking of His Departure

The Exodus led a people out of bondage into a new land where they were called to establish an alternative social model to those of the kingdoms around them. In the same way, the Gospel calls us out of our bondage to power and injustice, to create an alternative community grounded in justice, love, service, and fellowship. These are not things that we can do alone.

Grace and Scarcity

Jesus in the Nazareth Synagogue

It’s not easy to overcome millions of years of adaptation to an environment where things were just not plentiful. It’s not easy to imagine now the world we live in, how much food there is, and how bad we are at sharing it. How much wealth there is—and how bad we are at sharing it. Because somewhere in our mind, we’re hoarding these things because we think we’re going to run out.

Ahead of Them Went the Star

Star of Bethlehem

And so, it’s interesting to me to read this story and see how it was that the magi found the Christ child. Though they consulted with the scribes and got the answer from the scriptures, the scribes and scriptures were not enough to help them find Jesus. To do that, they had to follow the star. They had to follow the light. In times of overwhelming darkness, we look to these stars in our firmament and follow these until we encounter the Christ child who waits for us at the end.

In a Dream

Armenian Manuscript Illustration of Joseph's Dream

or us this Advent and Christmastide, let it be that we have been given a dream: a vision of a world of peace, justice, love, and hope. A world in which the love of God reigns. God’s angel comes to us with this dream and bids us to wake and claim the Christ child as our own.

Thanksgiving

brown and yellow maple leaves

I. BEGINNING Thanksgiving is a great holiday. And not just because of the food. Though, I’m not going to lie—that is a big part of it. And not just because it marks the beginning of the Christmas season. Though, that is a big part of it, too. Rev. Mark SchaeferCongregation of St. Thomas the DoubterNovember…

Out of Our Poverty

Painting of the Story of the Widow's Mite

But the witness of Mark’s gospel is clear: self-sacrifice, commitment, and perhaps even suffering are part of discipleship. They are what it means to be a Christian—to follow in the footsteps of the one who sacrificed everything for the sake of God’s kingdom. This is not a faith of privilege or benefit; it’s not a faith of status and honor. After all, in its early days, it was a faith popular with slaves and second-class citizens, like women.