A sword will pierce your soul. Luke 2.25 NRSV
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, our new CD received quite a bit of media attention, for which we were very grateful – it was a boon to sales! Not surprisingly, the hook for most of the press coverage was the distinctive nature of Christmas in a monastery. Those of you who worship with us regularly will have some sense of what that means. It includes the absence, for instance, of Christmas decorations until December 24 th . Continue reading
What do we celebrate on Christmas morning? Some might say Santa Claus. For others, it’s the birth of a baby. Br. James Koester suggests that what we really celebrate on Christmas morning is “God’s very self-revelation to humanity in the person of the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ: and the Word was made flesh and lived among us! We gather here today, not as children at a birthday party but as people to whom God has been made known, in the person of Jesus Christ.”
If you have paid close attention you may have noticed that something is missing this morning, or perhaps I should say, someone is missing, and you would be right. We have all been waiting a long time for his arrival, and suddenly the day has come, and there is no sign of him.
At least there is no sign of him in the way we might expect. In a flash, the stable and manger have disappeared, and with them the donkey and cow and sheep. Everything has been swept clean and there is no sign of star or shepherds or angels or even of Mary and Joseph. Except for passing references in the hymns this morning, and the shrine at the back of the chapel, the baby is gone.
So here we find ourselves on Christmas morning and the very thing we have all come to see, a baby in a manger, is missing. Only the vague memory of his birth lingers like those baby pictures we have seen of our parents and grandparents. Like them, we know he must have been a baby at one time, but even on the day we celebrate his birth the memory of the baby is fleeting at best. Continue reading
In the beginning, for all of us, we were enwombed in darkness. And though some children, as they grow up – perhaps even some of us here – learned to be afraid of the dark and of “things that go bump in the night,” our experience of life begins in the safety and security of the darkness of our mother’s womb. Continue reading
“My soul doth magnify the Lord – my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden. From henceforth, shall all generations call me blessed.”
The great song of praise which Mary poured forth, which we know as the Magnificat. Mary says all generations shall call me blessed – and so today on this last Sunday of Advent, we honor the Virgin Mary, and we call her blessed. Continue reading
Gabriel said, “The Lord is with you…do not be afraid.”
Most of you will have noticed from your order of service that this evening we are observing the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s not a feast that you will find on most Anglican calendars. We’ve borrowed it from the Romans, who call it by a slightly different name, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which makes it least a little confusing, since we’ve just read a gospel story that describes not Mary’s conception but Jesus’. Mary’s conception, so the 19 th century dogma goes, was miraculously immaculate; Jesus’ was merely miraculous. Continue reading
The Feast of Christ the King
Most of you are aware that Saturday was the 40 th anniversary of one of our great national tragedies, the assassination of President Kennedy. Memorial events were held across the country, including Cambridge , with modest observances of the day at the JFK School of Government and in the JFK Memorial Park , both adjacent to our monastery. Continue reading
The Feast of Saint Andrew
Matthew 4:18-22, John 1:35-42
“The trouble with the idea of vocation,” writes Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, “is that most of us, if we are honest, have a rather dramatic idea of it.” We tend to think of it as God finding us a part to play in the ongoing work of God in the world. We look at it as a role that God chooses for us to play in the grand scheme of things, a part for which we have been uniquely selected and set apart. Continue reading