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December 11, 2019

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Barth’s Advent Message

Karl Barth

On December 22, 1918, Karl Barth preached a sermon entitled “A Sermon for the Third Sunday in Advent,” proclaimed in an era when supposedly Christian Europeans draped flags over their Bibles and traded their faith for nationalism. Millions were gassed, burned, and shot. The full sermon can be found at the Theology Forum, but the following paragraph seems especially appropriate now:

The message of Advent about the coming of the light requires that we become people of Advent; people who persistently await the victorious light. Where there are such people, Christmas can happen. Christ waits for people who will not compromise the light with darkness, neither in themselves nor in anything else, but who are moved by the serious need for the light of Christ and who are aware of whence the help comes. May God give that we may go forth to the festival of Christmas as moved and motivated people. Then we will experience Christmas with the gifts of grace and blessing.

With that in mind, let’s have a blessed Advent and a merry Christmas.

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December 10, 2019

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Walking Toward Christ With Christ

Believers in Christianity’s first centuries used the Advent season, in part, to zero-in on Christ’s second coming, which seems to render Advent irrelevant for the present day. But it turns out that the eschaton, or last days, barges in on our lives now. Followers of Christ already participate in the Second Coming’s blessings. They’re just not yet complete. Theologians in the Second Vatican Council wrote all about it in the following paragraphs, entitled “The eschatological character of the pilgrim Church.” Most Protestants, of course, will sift out some of the sacramental lingo inevitable in a Catholic document, but there’s still much food for thought for all. Read and ponder.  

The Church, to which we are all called in Christ Jesus and in which we acquire holiness through the grace of God, will reach its perfection only in the glory of heaven, when the time comes for the renewal of all things, and the whole world, which is intimately bound up with man and reaches its perfection through him, will, along with the human race, be perfectly restored in Christ.
     Lifted above the earth, Christ drew all things to himself. Rising from the dead, he sent his life-giving Spirit upon his disciples, and through the Spirit established his Body, which is the Church, as the universal sacrament of salvation. Seated at the right hand of the Father, he works unceasingly in the world, to draw men into the Church and through it to join them more closely to himself, nourishing them with his own body and blood, and so making them share in his life of glory.
      The promised renewal that we look for has already begun in Christ. It is continued in the mission of the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit it goes on developing in the Church: there we are taught by faith about the meaning also of our life on earth as we bring to fulfilment – with hope in the blessings that are to come – the work that has been entrusted to us in the world by the Father, and so work out our salvation.
     The end of the ages is already with us. The renewal of the world has been established, and cannot be revoked. In our era it is in a true sense anticipated: the Church on earth is already sealed by genuine, if imperfect, holiness. Yet, until a new heaven and a new earth are built as the dwelling place of justice, the pilgrim Church, in its sacraments and institutions belonging to this world of time, bears the likeness of this passing world. It lives in the midst of a creation still groaning and in travail as it waits for the sons of God to be revealed in glory.
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December 7, 2019

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“A Date Which Will Live In …”

I still pause and think of the events on December 7, 1941, 78 years ago on this day.

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December 3, 2019

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A History of Advent

Our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters published a helpful video on Advent’s history. View and enjoy.

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November 27, 2019

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Climate Change & Temple Destruction

Think of this as theological pondering in the shadow of a behemoth.

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November 16, 2019

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A Cause Worth Forgetting

“My enthusiasm for this cause cannot be measured.”

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November 12, 2019

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Yet another presidential tweet

Our president tweeted the following the morning attorneys gathered before the US Supreme Court to plead in behalf of undocumented immigrants who’ve lived in America almost their entire lives.

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November 9, 2019

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“This foolish action will go down in infamy”

“… this foolish action will go down in infamy as one of the greatest failures of leadership in American history.”

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November 1, 2019

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Saints To Remember Amid Flames

Two supposedly unrelated news items join hands today.

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October 31, 2019

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Wisdom from an ex-prez

Former President Barak Obama paid no compliments to the burgeoning call-out culture.

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