Isaiah 43:1-7; Ephesians 4:1-6, 25-5:2

So where are we now?

We have come, at last, to the end of one of the most bitterly contested national elections this country has ever seen.  For many of us, finally naming a winner doesn’t bring the resolution we hoped it would; it feels like we’re all on the losing side in this contest.  We are like two battered and weary fighters standing in the middle of the ring, faces bruised and bleeding, bent over with exhaustion, waiting for the referee to raise the arm of one of us.  Our country is as divided as ever.  Our political leaders are locked in seemingly irresolveable conflict that limits their effectiveness at home and diminishes our influence abroad.  We are facing the largest public health crisis the world has ever known, with the numbers of new cases soaring to unprecedented heights in half of our states.  We’re tired – of this pandemic, its restrictions, and all the pain and loss it has brought.  We’re weary – of this toxic political deadlock, of the vilifying that characterizes election campaigns, of the threat of violence and lawsuits, of the seeming intractability of systemic racism, and of so much more.

What message of hope can the Church possibly offer?

Our answer begins with a reminder of who we are.  We are human beings, created in the image of God, knowing ourselves to be loved by God in all our diversity.  We are people who belong to God, who have been invited to live in a relationship with love with our Creator, who have been forgiven and redeemed by Christ, and who can reflect God’s glory in the world.  The prophet tells us that God has called us by name, and we are precious and honored in God’s sight: every one of us.  There is not a single human being that God does not love. Read More

Br. James Koester

Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord: The First Sunday after the Epiphany

Isaiah 43: 1 – 7
Psalm 29
Acts 8: 14 – 17
Luke 3: 15 – 17, 21 – 22

Grandmothers are some of the most important people in the world, at least in my world. I adored my two grandmothers, and I think it is safe to say that they adored me and my siblings. Both of my grandmothers were knitters. One of my grandmothers, whom we all called Grandma, kept us well supplied with mittens. I am proud to say that a red pair Grandma made for me while I was at university, complete with idiot string, became a fashion trend setter as over the winter more and more of my fellow students, seeing me with mine,began showing up on campus with homemade mittens and idiot strings. My other grandmother, whom we all called Nanny, made a series of Cowichan sweaters; a heavy, patterned, zippered sweater made popular by the Cowichans, a First Nations people of Vancouver Island. We wore these sweaters in the late fall and early spring before the winter coats came out or after they were put away. Nanny made several of these sweaters, and as we outgrew one, another larger one, would be passed down by an older sibling who had outgrown the next one up. Read More

Br. James KoesterFeast of the Baptism of Our Lord: The First Sunday after the Epiphany

Isaiah 43: 1 – 7; Psalm 29; Acts 8: 14 – 17; Luke 3: 15 – 17, 21 – 22

Did you notice it? Did you notice something different this past Christmas? There was something palpably different with our Christmas celebrations this year and I believe it had to do with the crèche.

It’s not, I think, that the crèche itself that was especially unusual. We have had unusual and thought provoking crèches in Christmases past. Some of you may remember the year we had the Holy Family as street people seeking shelter from the wind in the back corner of the chapel with Mary looking like one of the bag ladies we often see in Harvard Square. There was also the year that Mary was faceless, and in place of her face was a mirror so that when you gazed at her you saw your own reflection and somehow you knew that you too were meant to bear, and carry and give birth to the Incarnate Son of God in our world today. You may remember the year we had the almost life sized iconographic depictions of the Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child with the ox and ass peering over the stall. And last year we had that wonderful shadow-box Nativity scene carved from a single piece of wood. No, we’ve had unusual crèche scenes before, and oddly enough the crèche we had displayed this year was not all that unusual. No, what was unusual about this year was not the crèche itself, but rather how it demanded you to encounter it. Read More