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Second Sunday of Advent: Peace

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-16
While Simeon watched the sun go down in Jerusalem (remember the story from last week?), little Benjamin huddled close to the fire. As soon as the sun had slipped below the horizon, the wind started. It was a cold, biting wind and Benjamin quickly grabbed his cloak. His father, James, looked across the fire at Benjamin: “Getting cold, son?” he asked.
James was a rugged man. His hair was tossed and his beard tangled. And he smelled like sheep. But Benjamin didn’t notice—his dad always smelled like sheep… or did the sheep smell like his dad? “Benjamin,” his dad called again, “are you dreaming already?”
Benjamin shrugged his shoulders. “Just a little cold,” he said. His father nodded. “It looks as if it will be a cold night tonight. Why don’t you go look for more firewood? We’ll be out here until the sun comes back.”
“Ok.” Benjamin said quietly.
Have you ever been in a dark place where the wind howls and there are no electric lights? Benjamin hated the …

Hoping and Waiting - First Sunday of Advent

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 7:14; 9:2-7; Luke 2:25-26
Simeon was young when the Romans had come. But even now in his old age, he could still hear the pounding of feet on the street, the ringing of the swords; the shouts of the guard;, the groans of the wounded. And the smell of blood--oh how he wished he could forget. His people was a conquered people. For a hundred years they had scratched out freedom, but it was short-lived. Now even as he walked through the city some forty years later, Simeon could feel the eyes of the Roman guard boring into his back.
Simeon loved this city. Once the seat of glory and conquest, now a symbol of resilience and of the faithfulness of God. It refused to be permanently destroyed. They would always keep on rebuilding. 
Oh, his knees. They creaked with every step Why so many stairs? Slowly, one at a time, up, up, up to the temple. When he was a boy he used to run up these steps – sometimes two or three at a time – always with his mother calling for him to slo…

Commencement Speech for Silas, June 11, 2017

“Guard the deposit entrusted to you”
We’re here to celebrate Silas’s graduation. But Silas, you haven’t accomplished much. In a fact, everything we’re celebrating today is a gift that has been given to you. There have been sleepless nights devoted to your arrival at this moment. Thousands and thousands of dollars spent. You love to read. But that didn’t come from you. It came from hours and hours of books upon books being read to you. You love to learn and love knowing things. But that love of knowledge and learning was imparted to you from someone other than yourself.

You have not scaled an impassible wall, nor have you swum the breadth of the ocean. You have actually accomplished little in the grand scheme of things. You were simply given a gift. You have been entrusted with an upbringing and an education that had at its climax, this ceremony: which signifies an end not only to your secondary education, but to your childhood.

But your upbringing and education is not all that has …