Texts: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28
The long light of morning sent shafts of light into the synagogue of Galilee on the Sabbath. The congregants hurried to take their places, jostling for a good view. No one wanted to miss the guest teacher. As with other synagogues, they frequently drew from the wisdom of travelling rabbis, skillful teachers trained in the tradition of one of several prominent rabbinical schools.
Pastoral Reflections, The Third Week of Epiphany, the Umpteenth Week of Official Pandemic Status — January 29, 2021
I just recalibrated how many weeks of official pandemic status we’ve endured so far. Counting from the third week of March last year, it should be forty-six. I think. Somewhere my numbers got off. Your calculations may differ from mine, but as most of you know public math is not one of my strengths. Perhaps we all agree however that it’s just been way too long.
Texts: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
It may be winter still, and cold, but have you noticed the light coming back? The mornings dawn just a breath earlier and the afternoon light leans longer into eventide. As the light gently grows, so does optimism seem to take hold in our hearts.
Pastoral Reflection, the Second Week of Epiphany, the 57th Week of Official Pandemic Status - January 22, 2021
Years ago as a tour guide and bus driver in Alaska I had a co-worker who was exceedingly outspoken about the uniforms we wore. It’s true they were awful, medium-blue pure polyester slacks, white shirt, blue tie, and suit jacket. Yes, for both the men and the women.
Texts: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20]; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51
Most of us were probably asleep and unaware when the power went out in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Except, perhaps, for a few wide-eyed night owls, sufferers of insomnia, or those awakened by the sound of the storm’s fury. Some awakened in the night realizing either the absence of familiar lights and sounds, or the presence of unusual ones.
Texts: Genesis 1:1-5; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11
Have you ever had one of those conversations where you’re not sure who you’re talking to? An unrecognized person on the phone or a mysterious email? It happened to me this week. I got an email from someone who I didn’t recognize, signed only with a nickname. The note was brief and polite - Please call me to let me know when you have some time to help. Thanks so much.
You’d never know it by any measure of the length of day or month of the year, but on January 6th a new season begins. It’s called Epiphany which means “appearance” or “manifestation.” The main image of this season is the star which led the magi to find Jesus. So the Epiphany is all about God coming in and through Jesus to bring light and hope to the world.
Texts: Jeremiah 31:7-14; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:[1-9] 10-18
It’s whole new year. And who knows what will happen, right? Few of us could have imagined the events that came to pass last year in every aspect of social life. Let the record show that we have a long road ahead in matters of racism, elections, and public health. But that should not deter us from looking for new images; better still, God-inspired images, for what will yet be.
Pastoral Reflections, The Second Week of Christmas, The Fiftieth Week of Official Pandemic Status - January 1, 2021
On the edge of a year that has lasted, it seems, far longer than anyone wished, my thoughts are already turned toward new possibilities. In the coming year I looked forward to our borders being open again. I pray that people will be employed as fully as they wish to be. I hope that first responders and essential workers will find the relief from their hard labors that they most surely need and deserve. May shops and restaurants be filled with happy people. And more than anything else, may we all cherish one another as God’s beloved children and re-commit ourselves to the world that Jesus calls us to bring into reality. The twentieth century luminary Howard Thurman (scholar, theologian, educator and civil rights leader) said it so well in this poem that has also inspired several songs:
When the song of the angels is still,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flocks, The work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among people,
to make music in the heart.
A very happy and blessed New Year to you all. Pr. Beth
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.