Weekly Grace General Blog
This blog contains lead articles in the Weekly Grace columns.

Lent 4 – 03142021

Download the worship bulletin for this service here;


Will they come back?

We have lost a lot of people as this little church in this little town. Some left before the pandemic in disputes with the rector, in disappointment that Grace couldn’t regain its glory years, in addictions, in family disputes, and in broken marriages. People quit coming until the view of the church on Sunday mornings was painful to see. Then the pandemic hit. There was no church to attend anywhere. Now we are reopening with social distancing, and people ask, “Will the ones who fell away come back?”
 

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Fact, Reason, and Human Decency

A professor of constitutional law in Minnesota has developed an Instagram following of 400,000 people dedicated to the idea of substantiated facts and the truth, even if it is not what her followers want to hear. In the era of outrageous lies and conspiracy theories, this one woman and her non-partisan crusade for facts and truth gives me hope.
 
Is there room for fact, reason, and human decency in the church I wonder?
 

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What is Truth?

The question Pilate asked Jesus (John 18:38) before sentencing him to a brutal execution is as valid today as it was then. Not only is this a great question to ponder, but we might do well to review some of the “top 40” of Jesus’ teaching. In Matthew, Chapter 5 and 6, Jesus teaches us.


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An Epiphany

The word “epiphany” literally means the “out shining” of light. In English, it has come to mean an experience of God which is often mystical and powerful. It can also mean a sudden perception of the meaning of something or an intuitive grasp, an insight.  In church usage, the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany today (January 6) commemorates the visit of the three kings or magi to present their gifts to the Christ child. It marks the first appearance of Jesus to the Gentile world. It is the manifestation (out shining) of God to the world.


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The Christmas Funk

First responders, soldiers, and ER docs train for this. In high-stress, emergency, life threatening situations (it doesn’t matter whose life is threatened), they shut down their emotional response to the situation at hand and become coldly analytical. This is a learned skill although some people are unable to do it. You want the ER doctor to get that way when your blood pressure is crashing, and your eyes start to roll up like a slot machine. Soldiers must do this on the battlefield to stay alive. Emotional detachment can be a good thing in some situations.


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Two Kinds of Callings

I grew up in that “Leave it to Beaver” era of the late 1950s. It seems so long ago now, but kids are kids, and they will do things in the summer to have fun, beat the heat and expand their resourcefulness. Since we lived on a corner, one thing I tried for a few summers was the corner lemonade stand. My friends a few blocks away tried to convince me of making lemonade from this powdery stuff. If you added it to cold water, not everything would dissolve, and you would end up with this cool, weak, gritty concoction that tasted like you opened your mouth in a sandstorm. I ended up using frozen concentrate in a blender.


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Seasonal Spirituality and Roman Speculations

I love fall and spring. Winter and summer, I can do without, especially summer. I look out my window at a slate-grey, drizzly sky. Here we are on the cusp of winter, a time when for almost a thousand years, the Romans celebrated their festival of Saturnalia from 17-23 December. In a kind of Roman mythological-cultural memory, Saturn ruled during a time of bounty when everyone could eat from the land and no one had to work. I wonder if this golden age idea might be related to earlier, Jewish, Garden of Eden accounts.


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Harmony

Following our recent, raucous national election and similar developments worldwide, I decided to look at the issue of harmony and how it is handled under Confucian, Asian cultures versus mostly Christian, western cultures. As a caveat here, this is a Cliff-notes kind of gloss and generalization of two very complex and distinct cultures. With that in mind, we may learn something in comparing the two.


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I am Thankful for…

  • Life, in all its varied mysteries and forms. That each of us has a time to live.
  • Beauty, in the natural world that touches all our senses. In human relationships. In art and music. And in mathematics.
  • Reconciliation, because it enables new lives to go forward.

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