Friday, December 28, 2012

Whose Move?

My brother Jim and I play chess online at Every time one of us makes a move the other is notified via email. I just went a couple of weeks without a move by Jim, something unusual. I wondered whether he had so much going on that he hadn’t time to make any moves (we usually play two games simultaneously). Then this morning I happened to be going back through my old emails and guess what? Yep. On December 16 he made two moves, there were the two emails notifying me – it had been my turn to move all this time…and here I was wondering if he wanted to play anymore. I missed the emails – easy to do with the influx of stuff in my inbox.

How many times have I wondered why God hasn’t made a move in my life, when all the time He had done so and was waiting on me?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Didn’t Know

It could have been my last marital kiss, my final embrace, my last walk out the door – I didn’t know; I didn’t know until later as I was listening to the news that yesterday, December 21, 2012, was supposed to be the end of the world. Throughout the day I was engaged in the mundane things of work, a doctor’s appointment, and even planning my work for next week – I was even so pedestrian to be thinking about dinner. And yes, I’ll admit it, I did go to Wal-Mart yesterday to purchase stocking items for Christmas. All the while the world was supposed to be coming to an end. You’d think that at least NPR would have broadcast a warning during the morning news!

Last night I watched the news and saw things many people did to usher in the world’s end or the new age or whatever they thought the Mayan calendar indicated; I’m reminded that as strange as some of the actions were that they were no stranger than some (many?) Christians getting caught-up in this thing – I remember a year ago seeing a book in a Christian bookstore about the world coming to an end in 2012 – what was that all about? And I don’t think that many of the participants in Mayan end-of-the-world inspired activities can match the sustained fascination of many Christians in end-of-the-world scenarios – hopefully most of the Mayan-inspired folks will go back to their day jobs and not adopt the End Times as a fixation as many Christians have done. It’s one thing to don strange attire for a day or two and dance and beat drums, it’s another thing to adopt the End Times as a way of life.

Around 2,000 years ago a new age did begin, it dawned in Bethlehem and its light has been increasing ever since then. Yes, there are times darkness appears to be the weather of the day, but above and beyond the darkness is the Light of the world. Those in relationship with Jesus Christ can live in light in the midst of darkness. Hopefully we learn to desire Him more than speculation about the future. While we do indeed look for new heavens and a new earth, we look for them because then not only will this old world be delivered from its decay (Romans Chapter 8) but because we will see Jesus and the face of God.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Of the Father's Love Begotten

Of the Father's Love Begotten

Prudentius (348–413)

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framèd; He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean in their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun, evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed, righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted none in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive, evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men, thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens, with glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From God Christ's Deity Came Forth

From God Christ's Deity Came Forth
Ephrem (4th century)

From God Christ's deity came forth,
his manhood from humanity;
his priesthood from Melchizedek,
his royalty from David's tree:
praised be his Oneness.

He joined with guests at wedding feast,
yet in the wilderness did fast;
he taught within the temple's gates;
his people saw him die at last:
praised be his teaching.

The dissolute he did not scorn,
nor turn from those who were in sin;
he for the righteous did rejoice
but bade the fallen to come in:
praised be his mercy.

He did not disregard the sick;
to simple ones his word was given;
and he descended to the earth
and, his work done, went up to heaven:
praised be his coming.

Who then, my Lord, compares to you?
The Watcher slept, the Great was small,
the Pure baptized, the Life who died,
the King abased to honor all:
praised be your glory.

by Ephrem of Edessa, translated by John Howard Rhys, adapted and altered by F Bland Tucker, (Episcopal) Hymnbook 1982.

Monday, December 10, 2012



John Donne (1572-1631)

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov'd imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod's jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith's eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.

Friday, December 7, 2012



John Donne (1572-1631)

Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death's force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now
Thy Maker's maker, and thy Father's mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The House of Christmas

The House of Christmas, by GK Chesterton (1874–1936)

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wives' tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.