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Showing posts from December, 2008

Sermon for First Sunday after Christmas

(Sermon 12/28/08 - Luke 2:22-40) Sing We Now of Christmas: Joy to the World “Joy to the World” was written by Isaac Watts in 1719. Watts was a pastor and theologian, and a prolific writer of hymns. Several of his hymns are still found in our United Methodist Hymnal today, including “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” Watts often borrowed from the scriptures for his hymns, and “Joy to the World” is no exception. If you read Psalm 98:4-9, you will notice that Watts adapts these verses for this, one of the most familiar hymns. “Joy to the World” is, appropriately, one of the most joyous hymns of the Christmas season, but you’ll notice that this carol does not mention shepherds, angelic choruses, or wise men. (1) It emphasizes instead the reverent but ecstatic joy that Christ’s birth has brought to all humanity. For centuries, hearts had yearned for God to come closer, to come in person. And at last it happened – the Messiah proclaimed by t

A little late: My Christmas Eve Sermon

I don't normally post my sermons on my bl0g, since I have a separate website where I keep my archives. But I've been thinking about starting to post them here, and tag them to be easily searchable.'s my Christmas Eve sermon: Sing We Now of Christmas: What Child is This? (Luke 2:1-20, 12/24/08) What Child is This? It’s my very favorite Christmas carol, and has been since I was a child. There’s something about the melody that’s so moving. The melody is much older than they lyrics, actually – it’s a traditional English melody called Greensleeves. But the text and the melody together make the complete package for me. The text was written in 1865 by William Dix. Dix was an insurance agent living and working in Glasgow , Scotland . When he was in his late twenties, he fell extremely ill and struggled with depression because he was bedridden for months. But he was a man of faith, and it is believed that he wrote many hymns during this time, includ

Rick Warren and Barack Obama's Inauguration

Like many in the blogosphere, I've been mulling over President-elect Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration in January. I've read lots of posts about it, with a wide range of views, with the main point of contention being Warren's views on gay and lesbian relationships. Some don't disagree with Warren's views and have no problem with him speaking. Some don't agree with his positions, but don't mind him praying at the inauguration. Some don't like him, and don't want him participating. And so on and so forth. My first reaction was to think that Obama's choice wasn't really a big deal. Where was all this controversy when Obama and McCain were hosted by Warren during the campaign season? Yes, I know that's not the inauguration, but I don't remember everyone being up in arms. Obama and McCain both clearly established some sort of relationship with Warren then, so it doesn't seem surprising for

Review: Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight series, the movie, and The Host

I'm not ashamed to admit that I recently read (and, ok, reread right away) the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, a set of four books about Bella, a young girl who moves into a new town and falls in love with Edward, who happens to be a vampire. Some of my CCYMers had been reading the books and buzzing about them, and I was looking for something light. I picked up the first book, Twilight , and was hooked. And then I found out that a lot of people my ages (especially mothers of teenage girls) had read the books too, and loved them. And then I made my brother read them, so that I could make him go to the movie with me. And even my brother really liked them, although I think he and I appreciated the books in different ways! The books have been criticized by some as being anti-feminist, like this article which seems most ridiculous, where the author actually calls Edward a proto-rapist. (Was she reading a different book than I was?) I can understand where the critique is coming fro

Google's Friend Connect

I read Jeremy's post today about Google FriendConnect and am trying it out here. Note the new boxes in the sidebar. I have no idea if this will prove to be interesting or not, but I don't mind trying it for a while!

Children and Communion

Yesterday we celebrated communion for the First Sunday of Advent. Some parents of young children bring their children forward for a blessing, but don't feel their children are ready to take communion yet. One such father came forward with his little boy on Sunday, and I was ready to give him a blessing as he usually asks for. But this Sunday, he said of his son, "I think he's ready." And his son said, "Yes!" and excitedly took his bread and dipped it into the cup. And that was definitely the high-point of communion for me - the little boy's joy and eagerness to be part of the holy meal he's seen happen so many times. Maybe he can't articulate perfect Eucharistic theology. (Who can?) But he gets something important: It's a meal of joy that you want to take part in.