Fear and Peace: Advent 2

Bethlehem wallBethlehem wall 2

Israel made me nervous.  In all my international travels, I had never been anywhere that I felt so unsafe.  Before entering any of the shops in downtown Jerusalem, we had to have our bags searched for weapons, and it seemed every shopkeeper had a story to tell about a bombing that his or her business had managed to survive.  One of my friends said that she felt protected because everywhere we went, there were teenage Israeli soldiers with guns.  Their presence made me feel just the opposite.  And yet every day, we heard “Peace.”  Shalom, the Hebrew word for “peace,” is the common greeting there, and it was in our ears and on our lips at each stop along our journey.  Shalom.  Peace. Continue reading “Fear and Peace: Advent 2”

Grief and Hope: Advent 1

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Last night, I was chaplain to a family dealing with a sudden loss.  In their grief, they asked over and over, as so many of us do, “Why?”  I didn’t even attempt an answer.  Anything would have been just noise at that point.  No matter what I said, their loved one would still be dead.  The closest I can come to a reason why is that the world is not what it should be.  In this season of the liturgical calendar, the lectionary readings remind Christians of just that. Continue reading “Grief and Hope: Advent 1”