2002 December 29 The Feast of the Holy Family at St Mark Church in Norman, OK

The Feast of the Holy Family at St Mark the Evangelist Church in Norman, OK

December 29, 2002

Genesis 15:1-6; 1:1-3 + Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19 + Luke 2:22-40

One look at the families in the Bible, and you discover there’s hope for us all. Dysfunction is not a social phenomenon of the late twentieth century. That age just gave it a clever name that markets a lot of self-help books. We would like to think that all was well with Abraham and Sarah. After all, they were favored by God, open to God’s plans, and more or less happy to co-operate. Abraham tried to kill his son, Isaac! God had to intervene. Then Isaac had his own problems with his two sons who fought among themselves and tricked each other out of their inheritance. … more »

2002 December 25 Christmas at St Mark Church in Norman, OK

The Solemnity of Christmas at St Mark the Evangelist Church in Norman, OK

December 25, 2002

Most of what goes on in this Gospel story happens at night. So, there is good reason for us to gather here in the night, while it is dark. As the Gospel unfolds the story, night is best time to find Christ the Lord. The darkness is where he is to be found. The darkness is the best time to see. It would seem that our God prefers the night. While thinking of this and praying about it this week, I recalled what we are told happened when Christ died: how the day became as night, how the sun was darkened at the third hour. … more »

2002 December 22 The 4th Sunday of Advent at St Mark Church in Norman, OK

The 4th Sunday of Advent at St Mark the Evangelist Church in Norman, OK

December 22, 2002

2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8-12, 14-16 + Romans 16: 25-27 + Luke 1:26-38

The prophet and the evangelist combine on Advent’s last Sunday to lead us at last to Christmas. Nathan, the prophet mediates a conversation between God and David through which we may consider the mysterious divine purpose that has been operative since David was taken as shepherd boy to be commander of God’s people. It will climax in keeping Israel safe from its enemies and in the establishment of a lasting house for the line of David. All is now well for Israel. The enemies have been defeated – Goliath has fallen. … more »

2002 December 15 The 3rd Sunday of Advent at St Mark Church in Norman, OK

The 3rd Sunday of Advent at St Mark the Evangelist Church in Norman, OK

December 15, 2002

Isaiah 61: 1-2, 10-11 + 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24 + John 1: 6-8, 19-28

Our last Sunday with Isaiah provides a powerful and familiar text known and used by Jesus in his own synagogue. The condition of Israel when Isaiah writes these lyrical / poetical words provides no apparent reason for Joy. They come back from Babylon with nothing but memories. What was not torn down was left neglected. What the Romans did not destroy, neglect, wind, sun, and rain ruined. Cultivated fields were overgrown. Flocks not taken away had run wild. There were times when life looked better in slavery and some looked back with mixed emotions. … more »

2002 December 8 The 2nd Sunday of Advent at St Mark Church in Norman, OK

The 2nd Sunday of Advent at St Mark the Evangelist Church in Norman, OK

December 8, 2002

Isaiah 40: 1-5, 9-11 + 2 Peter 3:8-14 + Mark 1: 1-8

Our guide Isaiah takes us to Babylon today. The glory of David’s Kingdom and its mighty capital with palace and temple are no more. The once proud and mighty Israel broken into two Kingdoms first by its own internal conflicts over religious right and privilege both are finally reduced to dim memories as the able bodied are marched away from home as slaves of the victors. There in Babylon, some scholars suggest, many were forced to work on the building of a Persian road through the desert east of the Jordan. This one whose words still have the power to inspire great music, lift the discouraged, and restore broken dreams speaks in this place today. … more »

2002 December 1 The 1st Sunday of Advent at St Mark Church in Norman, OK

The 1st Sunday of Advent at St Mark the Evangelist Church in Norman, OK

December 1, 2002

Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7 + 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 + Mark 13:33-37

We have a remarkable guide through most of this season of Advent. Editors of the sacred texts call him “Isaiah”, but the book of the Bible using that name covers more than a single lifetime. “Isaiah” then is a collection of texts not a person. This anonymous writer of chapter 63 will lead us for Advent’s first three Sundays, and then we shall turn to the work called Samuel to prepare ourselves for the coming feast and celebration of God’s Holy Incarnation. Not knowing his name does not mean that we shall not come to know a lot about him. … more »