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Showing posts from 2012

Christmas and You: "God with a skin face."

Christmas Eve, 2012
The Rev. John Ohmer
Rector, The Falls Church Episcopal
Falls Church, Virginia

“And the angel said [to the shepherds] “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy...”

I bring you good news of a great joy: to us Christ was born – made real – that first Christmas;and to us Christ is born – made real – this Christmas.

A colleague of mine tells the story of a man putting his 3 year old daughter to bed for the night. The family was visiting out-of-town relatives for the weekend, and when it came time for bedtime, he could tell right away that his little girl did not like the idea of sleeping in a strange room all alone.

He leaned down, and kissed his daughter, and told her not to worry,

he told her she was not alone…

that God was with her…

not to worry, the Spirit of God was all around her.

But the 3-year-old reached up grabbed her father by the chin and said,

“But Daddy, I want a God with a skin face.”

That little girl, afraid in a strange room, a…

Confessions of a Recovering Advent Purist

Is that a "feeling of gratitude" or an "action of Thanks-giving"?

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I'd again like to share some thoughts about the difference between "feelings of gratitude" on the one hand, and "actions of thanksgiving" on the other.

There's no better Bible story for making the distinction between "gratitude" and "thanksgiving" than the Gospel story of Jesus curing ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19).
In that passage, Jesus heals ten lepers of their disease.
But only one of those cured lepers turns back to give thanks.  
Now again, remember: ten lepers - ten different people - are cured of a dread disease, a disease that excluded them from society and reduced them to miserable lives as beggars.
Can you imagine? - one minute they are suffering from deteriorating skin and are social outcasts, and the next minute, at the healing word of Jesus, all of a sudden their skin is smooth and they are on their way to the temple to be restored to society.
The possibilities! The excitement! The feeli…