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Spiritual Reflections

Unlike anyone else

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Since the Council of Nicaea’s definition of the Trinity in 325 -- three persons in one God -- isn’t spelled out as such in Scripture, it’s challenging to give a biblical homily on this day. Perhaps we should begin with the commandment: “You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them” (Deuteronomy 5:8).

Reading the river

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From the time he was a young boy, Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemens) wanted to pilot a steamboat up and down the mighty Mississippi river. In his book Life on the Mississippi, first published in 1883, Twain tells of his struggle to do so. After he ran away from his home in Hannibal, Mo., Twain boarded a steamboat in Cincinnati. On the New Orleans-bound Paul Jones, Twain promised the captain $500 (after he graduated from school) if only Mr. Bixby would mentor him.

Away from the cliff

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Unless you have been living in absolute isolation for the past year, you know about the “fiscal cliff.” The term is popular shorthand for the financial conundrum that the U.S. government faced at the end of 2012, when the Budget Control Act of 2011 was scheduled to take effect. Hyped incessantly by the media, the so-called fiscal cliff was purported to be an economic Armageddon whose effects would be grave and far-reaching.

All things new

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I believe each human being has a vision of a new world, a world different from the one in which we’re actually living, a world free from the pain and frustrations we’re daily forced to endure. Such dreaming seems to be an essential trait of human nature.

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Responding to his voice

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Practically none of our Scripture writers take pen to papyrus unless there are problems in the communities for whom they write. Surfacing these problems is one of the main tasks of biblical exegetes. There never was a “golden age” of faith; each generation of believers had difficulties putting their faith into their everyday lives, difficulties that continue to pop up generations and centuries later. That’s why people of faith eventually saved these particular writings. They helped them understand the implications and pitfalls of their own faith.

An evolving church

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A week has passed since our annual celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, the central tenet that informs and inspires our worship together for the remainder of the Easter season -- and always. Although it may not be clearly evident at first glance, we have made our way from one period of our salvation history into another. We have turned the page from the time of Jesus of Nazareth, who came as one of us, who went about doing good, who suffered for his goodness and for the truth and justice of his teaching, who died innocently for the sake of sinners and who rose to live eternally in glory.

A new perspective

On Easter morn we naturally expect to hear Christ’s disciples leading us in an alleluia chorus, filled with joy at the Resurrection. For that, we would have done better to attend the Easter Vigil with its history of salvation, the singing of the Exultet and the angels’ announcement that Christ had been raised. What a comedown to hear this morning’s Gospel proclamation of the disciples’ disconcerted confusion!

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In This Issue

September 26-October 9, 2014

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