Pastoral Series - The Beauty of Advent

The Beauty of Epiphany: Beautiful Commandments

There is a moment in the Cecil B. DeMille marvelous classic film, “The Ten Commandments,” that makes me laugh out loud. Moses has gone up on the mountain, seen the burning bush, spoke with God, and received the commandments. He descends, and is met by Joshua and his wife Zipporah. Her puzzled exclamation, “Moses, your…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: Thirst for Goodness

   In our day, when we have paperback pocket Bibles and Bibles on smartphones and iPads, I am duly impressed by the tender, artistic care that monks applied to the production of Bibles back in the Middle Ages, before mass printing and the internet. Each letter was a colorful, elaborate work of art, and detailed…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: Powerlessness

A couple of months ago, after I shared with her some real darkness I was battling in my soul, my daughter handed me a copy of Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love. I’d read this years earlier… but she fairly sternly told me to read it, and not fast like I usually do. And…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: We Need Each Other

Brené Brown burst on the scene in recent years, and people are rightly gaga over her and her message. But I’ve kept telling people this has been the Church’s message all along. Weakness isn’t a problem to be overcome, an ugliness to be covered up. Vulnerability isn’t a danger to be hidden away. Need isn’t…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: Rage Against the Dying

If we ponder the downright strange way we believe the Beauty of God is unveiled most poignantly in the cross, we tremble, we shudder, we rejoice. Maybe God wanted us to notice the way there is a rhythmic beauty in nature. Leaves are their most beautiful just as they are dying in the Fall. There…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: The Wondrous Cross

   On Monday we spoke of the Beauty of Jesus. His true beauty was nowhere more apparent, and yet nowhere more questionable and even ridiculed, than in his crucifixion. Back then, no one dreamed of singing “When I survey the wondrous cross… See from his head… sorrow and love flow mingled down; did ever such…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: The Face of Jesus

 Last month, I quoted the Russian novelist Dostoevsky, who spoke of Jesus as having “the one absolutely beautiful face.” It’s not that Jesus would be voted the handsomest man, or that he’d land a job as a model. Lots of people detested him, and if Isaiah’s prophecy applies to him, his beauty must have been…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: The Shining

   Light is a constant, powerful image throughout Scripture, from the first light of Creation in Genesis, through Jesus as the Light of the World, to the heavenly city of eternity where there is no night at all. Children learn to sing “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Just what is…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: Old Shoes

   Thinking of Everyday Beauty – and the Beauty we discover at Home: I love to visit the homes of my heroes. In Montgomery, Alabama, I’ve been to the Dexter Avenue Baptist parsonage, where you see the home in which Martin Luther King, Jr., and his family lived and grew during the earliest days of…

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The Beauty of Epiphany: Home

   I had a rush of delight when I was reading Roger Scruton’s book on Beauty – a philosophical approach to great paintings, sculptures, architectural wonders, grand vistas in nature – when he began to reflect on “everyday beauty.” Simple things, in your home, like a place setting on the table, a knickknack you picked…

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