An Irresistible and Radiant Humanity – Br. Keith Nelson

Br. Keith Nelson

Isaiah 52:7-10
John 1:1-14

Merry Christmas. As is true of every holy feast of the church, each of us brings a different collection of needs, hungers, questions, and reasons to give thanks. You are here, probably, to listen – for the first or the five-thousandth time, to “hear the good news of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation,” in the words of Isaiah. But, probably, you are also drawn to see. To see and exclaim, even before hearing, even in the midst of many cares and sorrows: How beautiful. How beautiful: the messenger’s feet upon the mountains. How beautiful: the holy arm which the Lord has bared. My God, how beautiful: this Child we have sought with the eyes of our hearts for so long.

Christmas, for Christians in the West, is the foremost opportunity to re-embrace the Medieval impulse to look and to touch; to show things of great meaning first, then to tell as commentary on the showing. So for the next hour, and the next eleven days of Christmas after that: Look! Touch! Taste! Smell! Clap and point and jump up and down at every shiny, lovely thing. We need to engage these impulses in acts of worship. It is easy in this world to forget the path to this holy ecstasy, this self-spending in the pursuit of meaning rather than luxury and waste. Read More

Accepting Joy – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Luke 15:1-10

What does repentance look like? A lost sheep. The shepherd leaves ninety-nine sheep to search for the one lost. The shepherd seeks, finds, lifts onto shoulders, and walks back carrying the sheep. What does the sheep do? It accepts. Kenneth Bailey wrote: “Repentance is not a work which earns our rescue. Rather, the sinner accepts being found.”[i]

Remember what it feels like to be lost. Separated from a parent or friend. Not knowing where you are. Caught up in pride through pleasures or resentments like the lost sons later in this parable. Hungry for love.

Remember what it feels like to be found. Reunited. Knowing where you are. Being seen, witnessed, accepted, and loved as you are for who you are. Welcomed and fed.

Remember what it feels like to share joy. “Come celebrate with me!” they say with a big smile and rising voice. Their countenance sparks heart-pumping energy in us. We smile and laugh or clap together. Read More

Relax Trusting – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

John 8:51-59

“Are you greater than our father Abraham?” They were confused and upset. How could those who kept Jesus’ word not see death? They clung to what they knew, to being Abraham’s children, so much that they could not see and understand Jesus who was with them.

In our own confusion and pain, it can be hard to hear, hard to see God with us. What might you be clinging to so tightly that you’re not seeing? What’s getting in the way of receiving Jesus?

Sometimes we cling to who we are or what we have: heritage, group-identity, connections. We cling to the people we love or who love us best, our meaningful relationships. We cling to comfort or privilege, standard of living, status, or success. We cling to abilities, gifts, how we serve, what we do well, including for God. Read More