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The Second Sunday after Christmas, 3 January 2016

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The Second Sunday after Christmas, 3 January 2016 Jeremiah 31:7-14 Psalm 84 Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19a St. Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 St. Luke 2:41-52 St. Matthew 2:1-12 see The Epiphany of Our Lord


Background: A Rant (Of Sorts)
The Lectionary for today represents the demise of the traditional holy days in our time. And this has been with us for some time. For example the Gospel readings for this day offer three options: The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23), Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52), and finally, The Visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12).I wish that the framers of the lectionary had stuck to the three-year cycle even on these days. That way we could have devoted ourselves to Luke in this cycle, and left Matthew for year A. The anticipatory reading of the Visit of the Magi discourages the celebration of the Epiphany, and diminishes the richness of the Christmas Season, to my way of thinking. In the Lutheran Lectionary (slavishly following the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), Christma…

The First Sunday after Christmas, 27 December 2015

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The First Sunday after Christmas, 27 December 2015 Isaiah 61:10 – 62:3 Psalm 147 Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7 St. John 1:1-18

Background: What makes for Christmas?
Christmas has become so entangled with ancient cultural expressions (Saturnalia, the birth of Mithra, and other cultural/mythological connections) and with current consumerism and mass culture that may or may not have anything to do with the birth of Christ. I can recall one visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in which I wandered into a room that was inhabited by a solitary image of the Buddha. I remember my thoughts as I saw it. "This is what Christmas should be like”, I thought to myself. Our minds are crowded with so many images at this time of the year that it is difficult to focus. And, we do little to challenge our mental collection. After as sermon on Christ the King at Saint Mark’s Church in Berkeley, when I tried to explain my sense of loss about the lack of a crucifix anywhere in the church, I was met at the door o…