Wednesday, December 26, 2012

e-vo for week of December 26

Dearest e-votees-

Blessings on your on-going celebration of Christmas.

Christ has come into the world. We are blessed when we remember this and live into this truth. The world is blessed when we remember to show this message and live in such a way that others are wooed into this truth.

Peace to you and yours. Have a blessed 2013.



12 As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:12-17, NRSV

These words to the Colossian church with just a little tweaking could be the words spoken within the Trinity as Jesus prepared for his earthly ministry:

As God’s chosen one, holy and beloved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Bear with them and, if any needs forgiveness, grant it; you must forgive. Above all, clothe yourself with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let your peace remain in you and them, as they are called to be one body. And be thankful. Let your word dwell in them richly; teach and admonish them in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do in your name give thanks to God your Father.

Jesus came covered in attributes of care and long-suffering, humble service. He suffered fools and arrogance and returned grace and forgiveness. Jesus came as love bringing unity and reconciliation where we had sown hatred, discord and factions. Jesus comes bringing peace to a war-torn, combat-weary world. Jesus taught and lived thankfulness. His words are recorded to teach us and admonish us and grow us up into wisdom. And so, having been saved by love, we are drawn into the same sorts of works as Jesus. We sing praises and we give thanks to God for that high and holy calling.

We are chosen by God. God’s love is for us and for all. In baptism we are clothed in Christ and made holy. We are called along with the Colossians saints to put on the ways of Jesus. Letting forgiveness, love, thankfulness and joy win the day. This may take many shapes and forms as all of us have different bodily functions to which we have been called. But thankfully and with praise we are able to go about the tasks and ministries God has set before us. We do this in Jesus’ name and we thank God.

God, continue to draw us up into you. Help us to be shaped and reshaped by the deep truths and abundant life found in this Colossians text. All to your glory. Amen.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

e-vo for week of December 19

Dearest e-votees-

Blessings on you and yours as you draw near to celebrating Christmas. We rejoice that Jesus comes into the world to accomplish the will of God.

Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father who art in heaven, Thy will be done…” What exactly are we praying for when we pray the Lord’s Prayer? Our appointed epistle text for this Sunday perhaps sheds some light on that question.




5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, "See, God, I have come to do your will, O God' (in the scroll of the book it is written of me)." 8 When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, "See, I have come to do your will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10 And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:5-10, NRSV

According to the author of Hebrews Jesus came into the world to do God’s will. God’s will was not fully accomplished in sacrifices and sin offerings and burnt offerings. God had commanded such things in the Law given to Moses but the Law didn’t fully accomplish God’s purposes. Jesus came into the world and through his life, death and life again he abolishes the requirements of the Law. Some see the destruction in 70 AD and persistent non-reconstructing of the Temple as a sign that such sacrifices really have become a thing of the past. Jesus’ sacrifice an sin offering are sufficient and fulfill the forms established by the Law as given to Moses.

So what is God’s will for us? (which we pray for whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer) It is to be sanctified through Jesus’ offering once and for all. God wills that we are made clean and made holy by what Jesus did. God wills that we remain sanctified forever.

If we truly want to live out the Lord’s Prayer we will trust that God has saved us, made us clean and made us holy. We abide in God’s will when we trust. We are saved. We are made well. And so we rejoice. And that joy might beckon others to, with us, taste and see that the Lord is good.

Lord, teach us to continue to pray that Your will be done. Help us trust that you give us what you say—forgiveness, adoption and an abiding forever love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

e-vo for week of December 12

Dearest e-votees-

On this 12th day of the 12th month of 2012 we have 12 days left until Christmas Eve (or still fewer days left of the world at all if you buy into the hype about the Mayan calendar).

How shall we be as we wait for Jesus to come to us again in the manger or as we wait for Jesus to come to us anew at the end of the world as we know it?



2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. 6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 12:2-6, NRSV

Our appointed Old Testament text for this coming Sunday has some insights into how we might be during this time for waiting.

1. Fearlessly trusting in the salvation from the Lord God
2. Joyfully drinking in salvation of our Lord God
3. Thankfully making our Lord God’s deeds known
4. Musically praising the glories of our Lord God
5. Enthusiastically extolling the Lord God

We are saved. God has done this. We could not do it. Even if we could we could not do it reliably. If our salvation rested on our shoulders we would have every reason to be fearful. If we were in this world without God we would have good reason to be afraid. We are saved by grace, accepted by faith, through the work, life, ministry, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Jesus’ promises of salvation and deliverance are sure. Therefore we are sure and free from fear.

We are saved by the promises attached to the waters of baptism. Our spiritual thirsts and our parched souls are slaked by the living waters that are our Lord Jesus. It is cause for great joy that we have been saved. We can daily revisit the waters of our baptism and drink from the well of salvation. We are free to approach and be made new. We are called to bring others to these waters as well. We are called to invite others to “Drink and see that the Lord is good.” We are called to beckon them to rejoice with us.

We are witnesses to the deeds that the Lord has done. We are not to grudgingly hoard the goodness that the Lord has done but rather to thankfully share that good news with all. We are called to evangelize (to “good news”) people about what God has done. We are to be thankful in spite of the challenges that have beset us. We are to be thankful in a world that cultivates envy and dissatisfaction. We are to be thankful and call on the Lord God’s name. We are to be thankful to Jesus and proclaim his name.

With music and voice we are to praise the Lord God. Our praising transcends purely the spoken and written word. With rhythm and notes, harmony and crescendo we remember how the Lord God has treated us gloriously even when we treated him with shame and scorn. God’s glory trumps our tragedy. God’s love trumps our contempt. And so we sing and praise and glorify and exalt so all the earth--neighbor, enemy, those far away, creatures, plants and all others--might be aware of our praises to the Lord God.

With shouts and joyful song we extol the Lord God. More than writhing, adoring crowds in the largest of athletic venues we proclaim the greatness of our Lord. Overwhelming the stadia full of lighters and cell phones paying homage to earthly idols we let our lights so shine before humanity that our good works might be seen and glory given to God. With all that we are and have we pour ourselves into extolling the Lord God. The Lord of our salvation.

God, we wait for Jesus to be born again. Draw us to that silent night. We wait for Jesus to come again. Temper our fears, renew and inspire our faiths and receive our praise. Amen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

e-vo for week of December 5

Dearest e-votees-

Advent is a time of gathering and waiting trusting that God will make good on the promises God has made.

Our appointed lesson from the New Testament this week, Philippians 1:3-11, is a powerful reminder of how we can gather as community, partner in the gospel, trust in the Lord and patiently wait until the day of Jesus Christ.



3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:3-11, NRSV

There are really two strands of Advent.

We wait for God to bring Jesus into the world in the manger in our liturgical cycle. The essence of the gospel is that God comes into the world to restore a broken relationship with creation and to bring salvation. God longs for us with compassion. God does whatever is required. God comes into the world as a frail and susceptible mortal. This is a profound saving move of God. It is so important that commemorate this time-splitting event every year. In order to best commemorate it we slow down and take time to recall the promises that are coming into being in Jesus. This is a deep and important strand of Advent.

We wait, too, for Jesus to usher in the end of all times. The essence of the gospel is that God who began this good work of salvation will bring it to completion. It is God who does the work—not us—which is how we can rest secure. God longs for us with compassion. God continues to do whatever is required. God is coming back into the world to save us frail and susceptible mortals. This is the most profound saving move of God. It is so important that we ritually wait for this time ending event every year. In order to fully appreciate this coming fulfillment we slow down and take time to recall the promises that will be fulfilled in Jesus. This, too, is a deep and important strand of Advent.

We wait collectively. We partner in the gospel. We gather and pray and sing and trust. We know that God began this good work in creation. We know that God began this good work of salvation in Jesus Christ and the incarnation. We know that God will bring this work to completion in the day of Jesus Christ. This is God’s plan. This is our hope. Thanks be to God.

God shape us as we wait. Help us receive Jesus in the manger again and prepare to be received by Jesus at the end of all time. Help us be thankful and faithful in the meantime. Amen.