Who Are you NOT to be Beautiful?

In 2004, I was asked to be the chaplain to a group of pilgrims from my parish in Dallas traveling to Bolivia on mission to an orphanage there. It was one of those “follow me” moments in my life—the kind we’ve been hearing about lately in the call stories of the disciples. And like so much of my life in ministry, I found myself saying yes, without one thought or moment’s hesitation.

Feast of the Presentation

Three characters in different places in their spiritual journey and a startling prophecy made by one of them make the story of the Presentation a defining moment in the arc of the Gospel narrative.

You have made us for your own, O Lord, and we are restless until we find our rest in You. Amen.

“Just beyond yourself. It’s where you need to be.

Half a step into self-forgetting and the rest restored by what you’ll meet.

There is a road, always beckoning. When you see the two sides of it,

closing together at that far horizon and deep in the foundations

of your own heart, at exactly the same time…..

That’s how you know it’s the road you have to follow.

That’s how you know it’s where you have to go.

That’s how you know you have to go. That’s how you know.

Just beyond yourself—it’s where you need to be.”

Hard to believe that today is the second Sunday after Christmas day. Almost two weeks since we welcomed, again, the birth of Love into the world: in an ordinary baby boy, born probably in the ordinary stall of a cave with animals standing around, placed maybe into a stone trough used as a manger. In the biblical account of this birth, the lowliest of pastoral workers—the shepherds—witness the miracle, along with a couple of angels and probably a couple of exhausted, amazed parents.

From the Letter to Titus: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all.”

The grace of God has appeared. The Creator of the universe, the source of our life and our being, has come into the world. It is Christmas, again.