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Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles (1308-11)
Whatever Happens/Happened on November 8
"By your endurance you will save your souls."
This is a message that has different goals
Than if one thinks some strong and outside force,
Some revolution, soon will change the course
Of history. Not anger, shouts or hate
Can ever bring God's kingdom, make us great;
No, just the opposite: Forsaking fear,
And giving hope - and blood - and sweat - and tears.
It's giving of yourself, with constancy
For neighbor, yes, whoever that might be -
All this is what it means to follow he
Who calmed the wind, with love, and stilled the sea.
Scott L. Barton
When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.
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Lion and Lamb
Every Advent my wife and I send
A lion and lamb Christmas card;
We carry on the tradition
of my Reformation professor,
Charlie Nielsen, and his wife, Eloïse;
It's nice to have a theme,
But it's not always easy.
Sometimes I almost despair
of finding the card with
The right amount of preposterousness!
I don't want it to be "religious;"
Surprise, even comedy, is the key.
For isn't this what we mean by
God's vision for the world?
Unexpected? Brand new?
And then, as in answer to prayer,
A new lion and lamb appears,
A new take on an old theme, and
A witness, we hope,
To those who will receive it,
So that they might be glad,
And rejoice forever
In what God is creating
- and be a delight, too!
Scott L. Barton
For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord— and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.