The spirit of Christmas often lends itself to the cry of loneliness. During this season more than any other, thoughts long hidden cease to remain veiled. Yearning for a place to rest our heads from lurking notions of restlessness or isolation, intuitively, many of us sense that we are not quite at home. Christians often speak of this truth expectantly. We are waiting, waiting for all of creation to be made new, even as we catch glimpses now: “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”(1) But on honest nights, we might confess that the waiting is wearying, the silence at times daunting. We are homesick, like children lost in a crowd, not quite at home nor capable of getting there. Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – What Child Is This?
The four lines of what is commonly known as the Doxology have been sung for more than three hundred years:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
It has been said that the Doxology, which literally means words or saying of glory, has done more to teach the doctrine of the Trinity than all the theological books ever written. To this day, when I sing those powerful lines, I recall the colorful lesson of my first grade Sunday school teacher. With something like cookie dough and bologna magically falling down on the table before us, she read us the story of a God who made the heavens rain bread and quail so that God’s grumbling people might live and know that God is God. I was impressed. And when we sang the Doxology at the end of the service, I thought it immensely helpful that I knew a little more of what it means when we sing that God is a God from whom all blessings flow. Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – From Whom?
I was on hold the other day trying to schedule an appointment for a haircut. As I waited for the receptionist, I half-listened to the obligatory recordings. The announcer asked me to consider scheduling a make-over with my upcoming appointment and to make sure I leave with the products that will keep up my new look. (Apparently, when you have a captive audience of customers “muzak” is hardly strategic.) But then I was caught off guard by a question: “What do the local communities of Chad, Africa, mean to you?” The answer he offered was as immediate as my inability to think of one: “Chad is a leading producer of organic acacia gum, the vital ingredient in a new line of products exclusively produced for and available at our salon.” Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – Images of Things
Winston Churchill was responsible for some of the most striking and memorable speeches ever delivered. The strong rhetoric he often deployed during the Second World War was of course partly out of necessity, as the country desperately needed inspiration, at a time when the conflict was very much in the balance. One of the most famous messages he ever gave was in 1940, as he sought to prepare the British citizens for the looming Battle of Britain. During it, he stressed that the very future of Christian civilization was at stake and that the country needed to be ready to face the ‘fury and might’ of an enemy that wanted to sink the world into the ‘abyss of a new dark age.’ Whether or not they would succeed was uncertain, but he reiterated that if they succeeded it would be judged by history as ‘their finest hour.’ Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – Our Finest Hour?
May 8, 2016 – Congregational Meeting
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am happy to announce that we are continuing to move ahead with the candidate that has been recommended by the Call Committee, Pastor Susan Gaeta. Both the Call Committee and Council have unanimously voted to bring Pastor Gaeta to the congregation for a call vote. The congregational meeting will convene at 11:30 on May 22nd after the 10:15 worship service with one agenda item, to discuss and vote on extending a call to Pastor Gaeta. A quorum is required to vote on extending a call, so please check your calendar and plan on attending. Continue reading SOV – Call Committee – Congregational Meeting
My high school band director was adamant about many things, but none so much as what he called the obligatory rule of good musicianship. That is, the two most important notes in any musical composition are the first and the last. “The audience might forgive you for a bad note that comes in the middle,” he would say, “but they will forget neither your very first impression nor your final remark.” Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – Akolutos
The well-read collection of essays written by C.S. Lewis and compiled posthumously in the book God in the Dock was originally published in England under a different title. The book was titled Undeceptions.
“Undeception” was the word Lewis used to describe a startling experience of awareness—moments when deception is uncovered and the cause is seen clearly from within, moments when blind spots are replaced with reality. He was taken with these awakenings or undeceptions in many of the characters of Jane Austen. In much of Austen’s work, he observes, “[T]he undeception…is the very pivot or watershed of the story.”(1) Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – The Undeception of the Story
Before coming to the narrative of Christ’s birth, there is a dramatic conversation which takes place between a priest called Zechariah and the angel Gabriel. One day Zechariah was serving in the temple when the angel Gabriel appeared to him. Zechariah was very afraid but Gabriel spoke to him saying, ‘Do not be afraid. Your prayer has been heard.’ Gabriel continued to tell Zechariah that he and his wife would have a son and they were to name him John. Ultimately, John would be the one to prepare people for the Lord Jesus. Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – The Silence of God
Wherever one might be in declarations of belief, God is so often not the God these declarations expect, and often it is shocking to discover it. God comes near and offends our sense of understanding; God affronts our categories and overturns our sense of familiarity. Jesus of Nazareth does the same; quite particularly so in the language of the parables. With his stories, he offends the believing and unbelieving, disciples, scribes, and crowds alike. With the same stories, he continues to jar hearers awake and move followers near. Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – Minds Upset
“Faith is believing what you want to believe, yet cannot prove.”
Sadly, many people, including some Christians, live with this definition of faith. For some it feels liberating. It means being able to believe in anything you want to believe. No explanation is required, indeed, no explanation can be given; it is just a matter of faith. For others, such a definition is sickening. Embracing faith means you stop thinking. As faith increases, reason and meaning eventually disappear. No explanations can be given, and none can be expected. Thus, living in faith is living in the dark. Continue reading A Slice of Infinity – What Is Faith?