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News & Resources: Spiritual Spot

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

You'll find here occasional writings, a few rants, and hopefully some insights too, about Christian discipleship, the Episcopal Church, and on faith community's life at the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Massachusetts. At the Epiphany we understand ourselves to be "a welcoming Episcopal community, united in God, called to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to transform the world with love and generosity."


  • February 23, 2018 12:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    During a recent Genesis middle school meeting, I asked the kids about what they look for in an ideal pastor. On the off chance Thomas needed to go on a quick impromptu theological mission to Barcelona and we needed a short-term replacement, what would you look for in a candidate?

    There was a moment’s hesitation and then the qualifications came flying in. “They need to be nice.” “They should be a dog person.” “They should show us how to be Christian.” “I wanna be happy to see them.” “They should wear bow-ties.” “They should remember people’s names.”

    Later, I mentioned to Carolyn that one of the girls pointed out that everyone had just ended up describing Thomas.

    After a little dip in the conversation, one of them said “I guess, they just need to be a good Christian.”

    “What’s a good Christian?”

    “If you come to church, if you pray, and if you’re nice to everyone. You also have to do nice things.”

    “Do you feel like you’re a good Christian?”

    *Laughs* “I don’t know. Sometimes, I guess.”

    I find middle schoolers are an easier puzzle to solve than high schoolers. Middle schoolers look for role models in their lives and are quick to point out hypocrisy and inconsistencies.

    In an atmosphere like that, it is of the utmost importance than we as a community raise our own standards of stewardship, acceptance, and love to the heights our young ones expect in us.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen short (well, I can but Sarah says this has to come in under 20,000 words) but I do my utmost to scramble back because there’s a small group of children who think I’m better than I am. And they feel that way about us.

    So I’m going to try to be the most Christ-like versions of myself. Even if I don’t feel it all the time, I’m going to put my best foot forward. I hope you’ll join me. Because young eyes are watching.




  • February 16, 2018 10:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The liturgical season of Lent is meant to be a journey. Like all journeys, it has a beginning (Ash Wednesday) and an end (Holy Saturday). Along the way, there are points of rest. In the western Church, these typically occur on Sundays (days not actually counted toward the 40). This journey does not require us to pack very much, just a prayerful heart and a penitent spirit. The main thing is to be sure to pack enough prayer and penance for the entire journey, for each spiritual discipline should get used every day.

    I realize that making the commitment to prayer every day may seem daunting. I can’t say that I have the best track record in this practice. Still prayer gives nourishment on this journey, allowing us to persevere through long stretches and static moments. Prayer is as simple as being fully honest with God. It is not speaking with an enlightened eloquence or succinct theological language, let alone a posture of kneeling a certain way. When we pray, we share our hearts with God. Ultimately, the purpose of Christian faith is a closer union with the Creator. Lent gives us a direct opportunity in prayer to know God more deeply.  

    The deepening of our relationship with God can simultaneously happen when we open our minds and spirits to being penitent. While it is true that the briefest of surveys of Christian history reveals that the word penance brings some hefty baggage (i.e. self-flagellation), the mistakes of our past should not make us so intransigent to embracing the truths of offering genuine penance. In doing so, we acknowledge that we are NOT God. Moreover, an act of penance demonstrates an awareness that we are part of a larger world that suffers when we fail to live out our baptismal covenant. Finally, showing penance points to a most fundamental truth of the human condition – we rely on each other. As we journey through Lent, disposing ourselves in humility can surely launch us into profound communion with others and/or God.

    I hope that you set out on a Lenten journey this year. Invite a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger. If you feel like you might need some guidance on this trek, Parish of the Epiphany provides multiple opportunities for you to journey in community with other members of the Parish during the Lenten Home Series or the Lenten on-line course. Regardless of how you approach the season of Lent, may you find peace and joy and renewal. May you marvel at the awesome blessing of walking this earth just like our Savior!

    Paul Shoaf Kozak
    Intern



  • February 09, 2018 12:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    All the Lord’s followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it. Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.     Acts 2:43-47 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

    I don’t often seek out this passage for inspiration. Up until recently whenever I read it, all I could envision in this description of our early Church is a vision of a hippie hideaway commune. I can see people hanging out with no plan, doing whatever they felt like, wasting time – did I say no plan? Where did they think they were going? How did this early Church ever become worldwide with this model? Where was the programming and meetings and structure? Where was the children’s formation curriculum with craft included?

    As I search for how to help rebuild our Church and struggle with how to share my faith with others in this secular world, I now read this passage with a new lens. What strikes me is that these early Christians didn’t do much as a Church in the beginning except hang out, share belongings and stories, worship, and eat together. There was no curriculum with a craft, there were no classes! They were together building relationships around the good news of Jesus; they learned that they were loved, that they belonged to each other and took care of each other and when they messed up (which they did if you happen to keep reading into Acts and the Epistles), they were forgiven. They were committed to be in these relationships. Church grew from this beginning. The Holy Spirit was with them.

    Building and remaining in community is hard work, harder today than 2000 years ago. People are busy and there are many things that compete with Sunday morning worship time, never mind with the time it takes to get to know people beyond saying “Hello” on Sunday and entering into deeper, committed friendships. Many of us work long hours, there are commitments to events, parties, and often by the weekend we are just tired – coming to church can be overwhelming. It is hard to build a deep community of followers of Jesus in this environment, but it is so needed. We all need a place to feel safe and vulnerable, where we are known and loved and where we can practice being Christians. We need a community that will show up when we need help and will show up when we have something to celebrate, that will check in with us and that will hold us accountable.

    So what should we do? How do commit to each other, to worship each Sunday and to serve each other? We need to hang out together, we need to hang out together long enough to disagree, be disappointed, and get angry with each other and know each other well enough to feel safe, to say sorry, and to forgive one another. This takes time and commitment.

    As some of you know, I love talking about the Church by meditating on the parable of the True Vine. I enjoy any opportunity to pull out my vine and read this Scripture passage. This past Sunday, I had this opportunity with a class of second graders who are participating in this year’s Communion Enrichment class. In this parable Jesus says that he is the True Vine and we are the branches. Jesus says, “Abide in me and I in you and you will bear much fruit.” I asked the children to look at the vine and in one word describe what it would be like to abide in the True Vine. “Peaceful, tangled, messy, wild” were some of the words they used. We noted that there is sap running throughout the vine and wondered what sap we needed in order to abide in the True Vine. Right away, they said, “Love”. They got it. Then I got it. I am part of the Church because it is a place where I can learn and practice how to love and then go out into the world and spread this love. This is what it means to be the Body of Christ. I am thankful to these wise children and hopeful that they will keep their sense of wonder with them as they grow into adults and they continue to commit to being Church.


    This is what it is all about, we are the Body of Christ on this earth, and the Holy Spirit is with us. Those early Christians were right.

    The craft is optional. See you on Sunday.

    Love,


  • February 02, 2018 4:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Worship is What Grounds Us 

    I recently read a wonderful article in the Royal School of Church Music quarterly magazine entitled “Singing with one Voice - The Choir as Embodied Theology.” In it, author Victoria Johnson says, “Singing is very much at the heart of a living faith and presents an opportunity for participation in Christian community through the imagination (when listening), or through the voice and body (when singing), and is therefore central to the worship experience. In the context of worship, song can literally unify the people of God, helping them become the body of Christ and the community of the resurrection.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Planning music for worship is one of my favorite parts of this job. Believe it or not, it doesn’t involve picking my favorite hymns and music. I start by taking a considerable amount of time reading through the appointed scriptures for a service, thinking about the themes and ideas in them, and then looking for hymns and anthems that illustrate these themes. I think about texts in the music, the mood that the music conveys, how long it will take the choir to learn an anthem, all while trying to vary styles from week to week so that we have some variety. On a good Sunday, I hope that the music reflects what we hear as the lectors read, what we pray in our prayers, and what is proclaimed from the pulpit. If the music moves you, makes you think, or pops into your head after you leave worship, I have achieved my goal.

    Sunday mornings are really the focus of what we do here at Epiphany. They are certainly not all that we do, but worship is what grounds us, inspires us, and makes us want to go out the doors and into the world to make a difference. Worship is where we learn about our faith and are challenged to be more Christ like in our daily lives. It is where we all gather as a family. For this reason, I purposely focus most of our resources on Sunday mornings.

    Epiphany also has a wonderful tradition of sung services like Evensong and Lessons and Carols. I love these services as I believe music has a unique way of letting us experience the Holy. Sung services allow us to worship and be inspired in new ways. You may have noticed that we have not been having Evensong services monthly as has been the tradition in the past few years. I want you to know that this a conscious decision on my part. Rest assured, Evensong will not be going away! It will however be occurring a little less frequently as it demands a great deal of the choir’s rehearsal time. I want to be sure that we have time to make Sunday mornings the best that they can be. In light of that, we will be having three Evensong services during this half of the program year. Please plan to join us at 5:00pm on February 11th, April 29th, and June 3rd for this uniquely Anglican form of worship.

    If you are inspired to be a leader in worship by singing in the choir for Sunday mornings, Evensong services or both, please know that you are very welcome. If you can’t make a regular commitment, think about joining us for Lent through Easter Sunday, or plan to join us for a few weeks of rehearsals before an Evensong service. I can promise a welcoming community, wonderful music, and even an example of how we are supposed to live in Christian community. As Ms Johnson says in her article, “To successfully sing together as one requires each individual to be aware of their own voice and the voices of others around them. A truly beautiful voice sings not of itself but lifts the ear to God. There is a need for attentive listening and even a willingness sometimes to sacrifice individual virtuosity for the benefit of the whole. This is true in choir and Christian community.”




  • January 26, 2018 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Beloved Community,

    The Annual Meeting that some of us just attended could be viewed as just another business meeting with churchy overtones. Nothing could be farther from the truth! While we elected new Vestry members and approved the budget for 2018, our time together yesterday was really about taking stock in the last year and noticing where God was present in our common life and ministry.

    God shows up in the seemingly mundane tasks of counting the collection from Sunday morning, or helping a newcomer find the Chapel, the bathroom, or the classrooms for children and youth. God shows up when we smile and invite others to join us in our ministry. God shows up when we visit someone who is lonely, or we take someone to a doctor’s appointment, or pray the intercessory prayer list.

    What strikes me every time we gather, as we did yesterday, is your willingness to engage, your willingness to pitch in and help, and your willingness to consider doing things differently than they may have been done in the past.

    There is a convergence of thought and passion here. Our staff configuration is really beginning to gel and we are finding an excitement as we dream together of what God has in store for us at Epiphany. That dream and vision comes from building trust and finding a common purpose. Each one of us on the Staff is passionate about our work and we depend on one another for guidance and feedback. The excitement and creativity that we feel comes not only from our love for the work at hand but from the love we feel for each one of you. So many of you give so generously of your time and talent to the many ministries of this Parish. Your energy and commitment fuels the Staff and equips us to do the work that God calls us to do.

    It is important to look back on 2017 and give thanks for the many gifts given to us and celebrate faithful parishioners who give so much to further the work of God here and in the wider world. Now we look forward to 2018 with all of its challenges and joys. We may fumble at times or even fail when we try something new, but we will learn together and the Spirit will draw us closer together for having tried.

    One of the many wonderful hymns in The Hymnal 1982 is number 528, Lord, you give the great commission. I commend all the verses to you as a way to pray our calling as members of this Parish and as Christians. The second verse is particularly apropos given the year ahead of us:

    Lord, You call us to Your service:
    In My name baptize and teach.
    That the world may trust Your promise,
    Life abundant meant for each,
    Give us all new fervor, draw us
    Closer in community.
    With the Spirit’s gifts empower us
    For the work of ministry.   (words: Jeffrey Rowthorn)

    I am full of gratitude to be serving beside Thomas, the rest of the Staff, and with all of you. You are a joy and a blessing.

    Faithfully,




  • January 19, 2018 9:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Waiting out the Cold 

    I have always enjoyed winter. I remember spending hours outside with friends having snowball fights, digging tunnels through snow mounds, playing football, and going sled riding (the colloquial term for anyone from western PA). Then and now, I also take pleasure in feeling the cold. The brisk chill can invigorate and the crisp air can seem fresher to the lungs. For these reasons, I was never one who wanted to rush through winter to get to spring. If I did not get a full three months of winter, I felt cheated. As I reflect back now, I suppose that my embrace of winter was rooted in playfulness and youthful joy.

    Subzero temperatures aside, as an adult I still find myself appreciating winter. Here we are in the dead of this polarizing season. While it is true that I am still one to bundle up (with or without my children) and frolic outside in the cold or snow, I recognize that I now approach these months with a particular spirituality. The naked trees, frozen tundra, and long, frigid nights give a rather convincing impression that life is stagnant. All we can do is wait for the earth to orbit and the spring thaw to come in order for us to see and believe that creation will, in fact, happen anew.

    Although we might be inclined to simply “hold on” and survive the winter, we have to be careful to not let our hearts hibernate. As people of faith, how can we stay engaged and attuned to what is happening in our fractured world that is need of redemption? To refrain the question according to the Prophet Micah, how can we do justice, love kindness and mercy, and walk humbly with God?

    As we were reminded this past week, this year marks 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. We have yet to establish a society and culture where black lives matter equally. Moreover, last week people from all faiths gathered in DC to witness against torture and cry out to the awful reality of Guantanamo Bay where our country still detains dozens of people in violation of habeas corpus. Finally, I would be remiss not to mention that President Trump just revoked the temporary protection status for one quarter of a million Salvadoran immigrants many of whom belong to the Episcopal Church.

    A part of us may simply want to wait out the cold. One hopes the spiritual part of us overcomes and inspires us to respond with urgency to the social and moral evils that impede the forming of the Beloved Community. Beneath snow covered ground and within the roots of the exposed, brittle trees, life is happening. Divine grace continues to be at work and in motion. May our hearts, minds, and spirits stay active in this time of winter. May we discern how God is calling us to be Disciples of Christ in our ever changing and broken world!

    Paul Shoaf Kozak,
    Intern



  • January 06, 2018 6:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On this national holiday when we remember and honor Martin Luther King, Jr., I am reminded once again how much we yearn for light.

    When we’re children we wake our parents in the night to say, “I had a bad dream,” and they respond, lovingly, “go back to sleep, it was just a dream.” My parents would leave the hallway light on, and for some reason that little crack of light underneath the door gave me sufficient assurance to fall back asleep. That might be a great technique for children, but I’m not sure it works for adolescents or adults.

    In fact, there’s a psychic and social cost to going back to sleep because when we avoid grappling with darkness our moral conscience doesn’t get strengthened, and before long, our ethics devolve into rules instead of cultivated wisdom and compassion.

    Today Dr. King’s “I have a dream speech” will reverberate in our ears. I love that speech, and like many of you, I can quote entire lines. Yet, I must confess that I’ve relegated it to a precious shelf on the archives of my heart and mind, unintentionally giving it due reverence without incorporating it. I feel a renewed call to make those words and the sentiment with which Dr. King said them, the inspiration I need to change the way I think, act, and feel. I yearn for the light, and I yearn to be the light.

    On Christmas Eve afternoon I was walking from church to home and was joined by Nina Cronan, a twenty-something Parishioner who lives in Boston (and who grew up across the street from Epiphany). Nina is the principal of a school in East Boston, where more than 70% of her students are people of color. While most of her students are American citizens, most of the student body’s parents are not. From my comfortable perch of privilege it’s hard to imagine what life at home is like for these families, and, when I asked about that Nina said, “it’s really hard to learn when you’re constantly afraid.”

    But there was a beam of light in Nina’s story. A really, really big beam of light. In addition to a large Spanish speaking community who find safety and solace at school, a growing number of Moroccans, most of whom are Muslim, do too. Guess what part of the school building the Muslim kids use to say their prayers? The principal’s office! Just before Christmas Nina received lovely notes from the Moroccan community thanking her for opening her office to be a place of prayer. In my mind’s eye I can see Nina and her students singing today, “this little light of mine.”

    Maybe the invitation for today is to ask God to use us, so that something of Dr. King’s witness and words will so fill our minds and hearts that we will be a beam of light. Here’s a prayer for today:

    Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last: Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

    Faithfully in Christ,




  • January 06, 2018 6:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.                 1 Samuel 3:7-10 (NRSV) 

    The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying, ‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’ So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD."                           Jonah 3:1-3 (NRSV)

    As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18 (NRSV)

    My sister gave me a puzzle for Christmas this year. A 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle. Daunting. I haven’t done a puzzle in years. I haven’t had the time and besides, 1000 piece puzzles are my limit. When I was a little girl, I loved doing puzzles. For two weeks each summer my family would rent a cottage on a lake in Maine and we would flop around all day swimming, rowing, reading and on a rainy day, make a pilgrimage to L.L. Bean. I would always work on a puzzle in between all of these activities. My family knew it was my thing and I had a certain place in the cottage to spread out the pieces where I would spend hours during the day and even late into the night work on it. I so enjoyed seeing it come together and fixated on completing it. I am wondering if any of you enjoy doing puzzles, also. There are many ways to go about working on a puzzle. Some people are more organized doing a puzzle than others. I myself am a haphazard, unsystematic puzzle person. I begin a new puzzle looking at the pieces all jumbled and messy and spend hours sifting through the box of pieces, becoming familiar with them, pulling out the interesting ones and edge pieces. My strategy is to find and connect all of the outer pieces first and then work on the rest as it slowly goes together. Most of my puzzles consist of a large amount blue sky and if you have ever worked on a puzzle, at the beginning, all of these blue pieces seem the same. But after spending time staring at these pieces, I begin to notice subtle nuances between the blues. At some point it becomes easily apparent how the pieces fit together into blocks. I love thinking about where blocks of pieces might go, and am often surprised when they end up in a totally different part of the puzzle from what's expected.

    When I was a girl, I would give into the flow of how the puzzle was fitting together, sifting and connecting, and at some point, my mind would wander and wonder. I thought about people and relationships in my own life at the time, especially people with whom I wasn’t connecting very well, as time with my puzzle went by, I started to understand why these relationships weren’t working. Slowly, it would become apparent as to what I could do to heal them. I would take stock in the things that I was doing that were and weren’t life giving for me and make note to let go or focus in new directions. As the puzzle connected, I made connections in my own life. When I finally finished and placed the last piece into the puzzle, I felt re-centered and reconnected, refreshed with new hope to go back into the world with clarity about who I was, where I fit in and what I was meant to be doing. Looking back, I realize now that this puzzle meditation quieted me so that the “word of the Lord was revealed to me,” God was calling me, and doing a puzzle helped me be still enough to hear the call. This past week, I have spent time on my puzzle, rediscovering this meditation that gave me so much joy years ago. My girls stop by to help find a piece or two before getting bored; I pray they find their own ways of quieting themselves. As I finish writing this article, the border of my puzzle is complete and I am grappling with the blue sky. There is much wandering and wondering to go. I am grateful that God will call for me not just two times or four times but 100 times if needed, because 1500 piece puzzles take a long time and I will probably miss the call a few times. I thank my sister for reminding me of the joy of doing a puzzle.

    May you each find your own way of quieting yourselves so that the word of the Lord will be revealed to you.

    And may you be ready to answer God’s call with, “Here I am, for your servant is listening.”

    Love,


  • December 14, 2017 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Beloved Community,

    We hear many stories during this season of Advent, this season of waiting and anticipation. We know some of the stories by heart. The passages of scriptures that many of us heard last night at our Lessons and Carols service are etched on our hearts, as are many of the carols that we sing during this beautiful and holy season.

    Recently, I stumbled upon a book in my library at home that made me pause to pick it up again. It is called, Tracks in the Straw: Tales Spun from the Manger by Ted Loader. Ted is a Methodist Minister and prolific writer of poems and prayers. One of the chapters in his book entitled "Trillia Minor," is about a swallow that happened to fly into an ancient barn on the night that Jesus born. This common bird describes the scene:

    "That's how it was that night for me, an ordinary swallow. He saw me, Trillia, the only Trillia that ever was or will be. And when he did, there was a rush of fire and wonder in me that, ever since, I've poured out in a song that I taught other birds to sing. To me, it was as though that was why he was born. It was to see me; and to see everyone else in that stable, every other creature on the earth, to see us so we would forever know we are seen."

    We would forever know we are seen. The Christ that is in the world, that dwells in each one of us, see us in all our glory and brokenness, our joys and our grief, and our struggles. And in turn, Christ invites us to see each other - to see beyond our well-put-together selves, our "Sunday best" selves. Christ invites us to see those who are invisible in our culture: the unhoused person on the street, the hourly wage workers who serve us politely at restaurants, the gas station, the grocery, and so many other places of our privileged lives. Christ invites us to see those who are incarcerated, those whose religious and political practices differ from ours.

    And so, as we approach the Feast of the Incarnation in one short week, I wonder how we will prepare our hearts and minds for Emmanuel - God with us. How will our lives change? I pray that God will give us the eyes of Christ - that we will see one another and the stranger with compassionate and loving eyes, that when we greet one another and look into others' eyes, we will be as the Christ Child was to that little bird, Trillia, on the first Christmas. May we say to everyone we meet, "I see you, just as the tender, loving Christ does, I see you."

    Faithfully,


  • December 08, 2017 11:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25.

    During the sabbatical I explored reading poetry. For those of you who are lovers of poetry, or actual poets, I hope you’ll receive that statement as a confession, for I intend an amendment of life. The plain truth is that my formal education didn’t include much in the way of poetry. It’s only been in the last few years, and really the past few months, that I’ve taught myself to read and appreciate poetry. 

    The American poet, Edwin Markham, in his poem, How the Great Guest Came might initially seem a little trite for this season, but it wasn’t—it isn’t—for me. We all know the season of Advent is the time to celebrate God’s coming to us, as well as the time to celebrate his coming at the end of the age; we also know that Jesus is coming to us all the time, not just during Advent, but in the day-to-day ordinary, everydayness of life. This is where How the Great Guest Came comes to life and light for me.

    The poem introduces the reader to Conrad, a kind German cobbler who lives alone. Early one morning the Lord appeared in a dream and promised, “I’m coming your Guest to be!” Conrad sprang to his day to prepare for the coming of the Great Guest. He washed the floor, shined the shelf, and spread his table. The whole while Conrad watched his door for the Great Guest’s coming:

                    And his face grew still
                    As we he watched for the shadow across the sill.
                    He lived all the moments o’er and o’er,
                    When the Lord should enter the lowly door
                    The knock, the call, the latch pulled up,
                    The lighted faced, the offered cup.

    Even though Conrad was busy preparing, he wasn’t so busy that he did not care for three strangers who had come to the door. First a cold beggar, then a hungry woman, and finally a homeless child. As the day came to a close Conrad’s Great Guest had not come. He was confused, and disappointed, and prayed:

                    What is it Lord, that your feet delay?
                    Did you forget that this was the day?

    Then in the stillness of his heart Conrad heard the Great Guest speak:

                    Three times I came to your friendly door;
                    Three times my shadow was on your floor.
                    I was a beggar with bruised feet;
                    I was the woman you have to eat;
                    I was the child on the homeless street!

    Until the Lord Christ comes at the end of the ages we have to keep watch—every day—for him to come to us in other people. It was Jesus himself who said, “as you did it” to the least of his sisters and brothers, we are doing it to him. 

    I wish you a holy and beautiful Advent.


    Faithfully in Christ,



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