Friday, December 14, 2012

Slaughter of the Innocents

Dec. 28... the fourth day of Christmas is not a day many preachers want to fall on a Sunday so they can avoid preaching on the Slaughter of the Innocents, the tale from Matthew that tells of Herod's slaughter of all children two and under in the hopes that he destroys Jesus.

And the real world comes and throws the story in our face exactly two weeks before the commemoration. Eighteen children and eight adults are shot to death in Connecticut.

Many who read the account in Matthew have wondered if Jesus' birth brings such violence. It appears not. In fact Jesus' birth comes in direct opposition to such heedless and wanton violence. As we approach the day of the Incarnation, we are left to remember the brokenness of the world and the promise that all will be made right and whole.

In the meantime, may we continue to point to that day by seeking justice, practicing forgiveness, and praying for the great day of the Lord to hasten. Amen, come Lord Jesus.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Immensity Cloistered in Thy Dear Womb

Last night I read three poems by John Donne at Evening Prayer following the Isaiah 6 reading in the lectionary. I started with the classic "Batter my heart three person'd God" and then moved to two of his holy sonnets, "Annunciation" and "Nativitie." These two are part of a seven-sonnet set. They are second and third. The first line of each sonnet is the last line of the previous one, except the first line of the first sonnet is the last line of the last, giving a wonderful circularity to the whole collection.