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Epiphany II

Tomorrow is the second Sunday in Epiphany.* Many churches will read and hear the story of Jesus’ baptism. Some churches will invite worshippers to remember their own baptisms. I want to remember mine with you for a moment . . . I was baptized on Easter Sunday, 1973. I know because the date and occasion are written in a Living Bible (very popular in the 1970s) that my parents gave me on that day. What I remember vividly is the little white dress I wore that Sunday.

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Epiphany I

A wing and a prayer . . . This morning I prayed in darkness. And then I saw a great light. It was the sun. Filling up the all of the cold morning. My husband called me into the kitchen. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sparrow breathe,” he said. Not taken to fits of poetry or even flowery prose, he had to be speaking literally. He began to explain. It seems that the sun is at just the right mid-winter angle to fill our backyard bird feeder with light. If they perched just right the birds at the breakfast buffet were silhouetted by the rising sun. As they took their turns and tilted their heads just so, puff, their tiny warm breath exhaled in a little cloud.

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Christmas II

Pastors don’t pray much it seems. They are busy. But they are not filling their time with prayer, meditation or personal devotion. At least a study that came out this week says this is the case. Seems to me that more than families are likely hurting if pastoral leaders are spending so little time attending to their own spiritual lives. But lest I sound too judgmental, I remember well the struggle to care for my own spiritual well-being while also attending to the spiritual well-being of those I served in the years when I was full-time on a church staff. Even when I was doing what I knew to do to care for my own soul, it was not always the most effective or spiritually nourishing thing I could be doing.

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Christmas I

Christmas has finally come and gone and the night is deepening around me. Silent but for the tapping of keys on my computer and the distant whine of a train whistle. A few cracks and pops say that my in-laws’ house is still settling in for a long winter’s nap. Family Christmas celebrations are complete. Scraps of wrapping paper litter the floor and the bare-bottom tree seems a little spent.

Christmastide, being one of the shortest seasons of the liturgical year, celebrates the revealing of God in the world, the inbreaking of a Living Word into the mundane and daily routines of our lives. But how does the season live on through the year? Or should it?

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Advent VIII

Unhinged and upended . . .

In my first Advent post I wrote about opening the little doors on an Advent calendar [link]. Today I’ve been thinking about a different set of doors.

It was 1993. (Don’t tell me, please, if you were in kindergarten that year.) I was just graduating from seminary. And I attended a worship service in Birmingham at the annual Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) meeting. Nancy Hastings Sehested was the preacher that day. The occasion was a ten-year anniversary of BWIM.

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