Building on the Rock of God’s Love – Br. Todd Blackham

Br. Todd Blackham

Isaiah 26:1-6
Matthew 7:21-27

We have been ushered into the season of Advent with the customary apocalyptic readings.  Gazing not at Christ’s first coming in our midst but straining toward the horizon for his second coming we enter into this season of preparation.  But, Advent preparation is not just about planning a party towards the end of December.  The expectant waiting and preparation of Advent is time to do the soul’s work of conditioning for ultimate things, because eternity is on the horizon.

Jesus occasionally entered into a mode of teaching that, unlike other uplifting passages, embodies a foreboding sense of coming trial.  Indeed, we have such a reading today.  Jesus points to a day when there will be an accounting; when the souls of humankind will be laid bare and truth will be made known.

If I let myself actually hear Jesus, I tremble.  I know that God’s mercy and grace are aboundingly sufficient and I know that there are some things, some ways of being, some little pet sins of mine that simply cannot endure in the Kingdom of God.  But I know how much I depend on them when I try to let them go. Read More

A Turning Point – Br. Keith Nelson

Br. Keith NelsonMatthew 7:21-27

In her short story Revelation, published in 1965, Flannery O’ Connor offers the reader a detailed psychological and spiritual portrait of a character named Ruby Turpin. Mrs. Turpin is a “respectable, hard-working, church-going woman,” white, middle class, and Southern. The story is set in the cramped squalor of a doctor’s waiting room, where an array of white characters – elderly and young, well-to-do and poor – are waiting to see the doctor. The omniscient narrator gives us a particularly intimate portrait of the thoughts that run through Mrs. Turpin’s head and heart, revealing an elaborate, personal hierarchy of class, race, and social status. As the story unfolds, Mrs. Turpin’s interior judgments roil and seethe. The casual conversation she makes with other patients slowly reveals the painful web of classism and racism in which they are all unconsciously enmeshed. And Mrs. Turpin’s running, interior dialogue with Jesus reveals the ways that she uses prayer to validate her prejudice, thanking Jesus for placing her exactly where she is and making her who she is and not like the others she has deemed inferior. Read More

God’s Key Terms – Br. David Allen

Isa. 26:1-6; Mt. 7:21-27

In our first reading for today from Isaiah we can find some of the major themes of the Advent season.  The first of these is a reward for patient waiting of the righteous nation that keeps faith in the victory of a strong city that will be set up like walls and bulwarks.  Next is the hope for peace for those of steadfast mind, who trust in God who is our steadfast rock.  Finally there is the promise that the haughty and proud, that is those who are the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city, will be laid low to the ground and cast into the dust, trampled under the feet of the poor, by the steps of the needy.  (Cf. Isa. 26:1-26) Read More