Vulnerable in the Manger

Growing up, our porcelain nativity featured an angel with long flowing hair, suspended above the display on a tiny nail over the eave.  She held a banner proclaiming “peace on earth.” I thought about the angel reading Fred Craddock’s Commentary on Luke, which points out that there was no angelic glow around the manger.  The […]

Mary: a wide open and fearless heart

Luke tells us how Zechariah, a lay priest, was leading evening prayers in the courtyard of the temple. Each evening, a single priest entered the sanctuary to light the incense offering. Alone in the sanctuary, suddenly an angel appeared to Zechariah who was overcome with fear.  15 months later in the Jerusalem mountains, shepherds were […]

Iconoclast: Zephaniah’s Advent Album

Has this happened to you? Last week, I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for others to arrive when, through the bustle of clinking plates and spirited conversations at adjoining tables, the lyrics of the loudspeaker’s song slipped through the clatter. Leaning in to hear the lyrics I asked, “Did I just hear that? Is […]

Scrub away everything but Love

In the preindustrial Biblical world, someone in the fuller trade spent hours agitating loosely woven wool fabric for hours in vats of ashes, clay, chalk, or urine. This work chemically treated the fabric making it fuller and knitting the weave tighter. The work was done by hand with the fuller either agitating the fabric with […]