Psalm 80:1-17, 17-19
By Lanni Lantto
Isaiah was a prophet in times of kings. In the lectionary passage, God sends him to Ahaz, a king defending his earthy kingdom, to say that God will send a sign: a young child named Immanuel meaning God is with us. This child, from a very young age, will know how to, “refuse the evil and choose the good.” For Ahaz, who may have felt powerless in his situation, this message was meant to give him hope for a time of peace and restoration.
Rembrandt, Dream of Joseph, 1645, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
By Ken Sehested
consigned to the margins
of Incarnation narrative.
now shield the shame
of sagging face, drooping, disgraced.
Chiseled lines prematurely sculpting
age in youthful countenance.
Thoughts of Mary smudge the heart
as tears smear the face.
Mary. Beloved. Betrothed. Betrayed?
Mary. With child. Whose? How, and why?
Joseph, companion in confusion
over God’s intention.
No multi-colored coat for you as for
your scoundrel namesake of old.
But who dares answer, much less complain? Continue reading
By Tommy Airey, from Listening in the Dark: Daily Advent Reflections for Radical Discipleship Communities (2017)
We script & sing this Bethlehem Dream
Of Life reflecting divine Reality,
Light illuminating every dark cavity,
When the lion and the lamb
Dance to a silent tune sung by all humanity.
Addiction assaults an
Caught in counterfeit dramas spun on cable channels. Continue reading
Springtime by Alex Kladnik, Creative Commons
Seeking the True Joy of Advent
Matthew 11: 2-11
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at?” Matt 11:7
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus, it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.
by Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson
Amid the shadowed darkness of impending winter, our Advent lection from Isaiah envisions springtime joy. We might at first wonder, “What does Isaiah’s imagery have to do with the celebration of the birth of Jesus?” This questions leads to another query: What exactly are we hoping for with the coming of the one we call “messiah” and “lord”? Or as John the Baptist puts it in this week’s gospel, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” (Matt 11:3) Continue reading
By Jim Perkinson, on Matthew 24:36-44, performed on 12.01.19 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit, MI
b & e lifted up as priority
an outlaw god on a mission of
correction, convection, currents
of floods, burned by fire-storms
of trees, california today,
new york city tomorrow, but don’t
worry, just party, drink up your
hot toddy, be snotty, like a donald
trump wanna be, your head in the
potty, doing karate on the future,
the scripture is naughty, sirening
night as the right time, for the
break-in to let the bodies out,
immigrants like abraham finding
oak branches prophesying like
a reckoning for sodom, collapsing Continue reading
By Will O’Brien
For several years, the Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia has offered an annual Advent program called “Peace on Earth and The Politics of Christmas” Alternative Seminary coordinator and frequent contributor to the Radical Discipleship blog Will O’Brien leads the discussion on how we reclaim the domesticated biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth with their powerful message of challenge to worldly powers. Folks in the Philadelphia area are encouraged to join this year’s program on Saturday, December 7. You can also spread the word via the Facebook page.
Can we liberate Christmas from its cultural captivity and rediscover the truly prophetic story that speaks to the crises of our world today? Continue reading
By Mark Van Steenwyk, the executive director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination
Part of what makes contemplation important, both as a a regular practice and an overall posture of life is noticing inner thoughts, images, ideas, and stories that lead us away from deep connection to the Spirit, each other, and the rest of creation.
However, in a society where we have learned to disconnect mind from body and spirit from politics, there is a danger in contemplative practice. I’ve begun to increasingly suspect that many engage in spiritual practice in a way that is disassociative—they use spirituality to disconnect from anxiety and pain, rather than to allow them to give attention to suffering. Continue reading