Monday, December 28, 2009
Last week I brought communion to a homebound parishioner. She could not get over the idea that the PASTOR came to her home. She was so honored to have the PASTOR visit her. I felt unworthly of such adulation but was uplifted by it. That evening my associate told me that a parish teen told him that he did not like when I preached, because I was too long. I have never been told that before but perhaps that is the grace given to pastors -- long preaching. Talk about being exaulted only to be humbled.
These two experiences got me thinking about the role of the family in the human experience. Families should build us up and validate us. Families also keep us honest and challenge us when we miss the mark. As a pastor, I pray that I may receive both the validation and the correction that will help me to serve this family well. And as the father of this family I hope I will be granted to wisdom and courage to validate and correct with love.
Happy Feast Day Holy Family
Friday, December 25, 2009
Not too long ago, I saw a headline for a story online that grabbed my attention. I cannot remember the specific wording but the headline called attention to an article about an atheist who was promoting the telling of the Christmas story in public schools. This intrigued me so I clinked on the link to the article and found that the woman’s premise for teaching the Christmas story was that children should be taught the fables of various cultures so that they might have a deeper appreciation of literature. I thought to myself, “No thank you.” The Christmas story does not begin, once upon a time, in a land far, far away. The Christmas story as it is presented in the scriptures is presented within the framework of human history. Matthew’s Gospel begins with the genealogy of Joseph’s family relating it to the various epochs of the Jewish people. Luke’s gospel sets the scene by noting the political and social milieu of the Roman world. There is also the tradition of chanting the Proclamation of the Birth of Christ, which sets the birth of the Lord in both its political and religious context. These historical references not only make the birth of Christ more tangible but help us to understand that real events change the course of history. With the birth of Jesus we acknowledge that something has changed, it was not always this way.