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December 08 2022 By dvirtue How long, how long O Catiline...

Advent 2022 presents a trifecta of despair: rampant inflation, political stagnation, world conflagration. How is the Lord using us, if He is using us at all? Are we just flies--lower creatures in some order which we cannot see--to be killed for sport?

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December 04 2022 By dvirtue ADVENT

A sermon on praying more or "praying like Daniel" may improve my Christian performance, but it won't lead me to consider the hope that is outside of me in the One who prayed blood drops of anguish as our Ultimate Intercessor. I've heard sermons on love that nearly destroyed me, because, God knows, I don't love him with my whole heart, soul, and mind, and I need God who understands my failure to love.

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November 30 2022 By dvirtue ADVENT - AND MY BIRTHDAY

Seventy-two is also the number of disciples that Jesus sent out to be His "advance men" for His visits to towns throughout Judea. Luke 10: 1-20. Curiously, Mark (6: 7-13) and Matthew (10:1-20) have Jesus sending out only the 12, and it is not clear from the text whether these are separate or the same event. In each, the Disciples are to travel 2 by 2, and in each they were to stay at invited lodgings, and not at any inn. In each they were to call people to repentance and heal the sick.

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October 17 2022 By dvirtue PRODIGAL REDUX

The parable from which Balanchine, a devout Russian Orthodox, drew this dance, and its jumps, leaps, twists and turns has been diluted in its retelling. The son's demand and his profligacy, his desperation and despondency, his realization and return, the father's feast and forgiveness, then remonstrance and invitation to reconciliation are perhaps too much to absorb in four paragraphs. And that is perhaps why the dance has fallen from the repertoire.

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June 09 2022 By dvirtue THE GIFT OF NUMBERS

God chose to have His Holy Spirit descend on the Apostles on the 50th day after the Resurrection. So, 50 has come to be known as the number of the Holy Spirit. But the feast bears a Greek name: Pentecost, and it is the only feast celebrated by both Christians and Jews. Jews celebrate the giving of the Torah on the 50th day after Passover, and it is the most important day in their history.

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May 20 2022 By dvirtue Loss of Direction

Jesus' promise to those who lose their lives for His sake offers some comfort: "Whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matt: 16:26). But where? At the church which has sold the Gospel down the river? At the soup kitchen which provides a steady diet of woke theology? At the homeless shelter where people sleep on beds of diversity, equity and inclusion? This search seems endless and pointless.

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May 09 2022 By dvirtue Deliver Us From Evil

In the movie one of the adventurers kills a backwoodsman sodomizing one of his friends. Evil battling evil has been one of the themes since the Bible. Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery as recompense for Joseph's lording it over them. Elijah killing the prophets of Baal after they failed to implore their god to ignite a pyre. Judith beheading Holofernes rather than have him decimate her town. As old as this theme is, there is no exit. Evil will always raise its ugly head.

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April 18 2022 By dvirtue FORGIVING IGNORANCE

This otherworldly grace and forgiveness challenges us 2000 years after the words were first uttered and 60 years after Ruby repeated them. The ignorance of the powers that nailed Jesus to the cross has been repeated in every generation since. Power never cedes its authority willingly and when melded with evil must be met with defiance–defiance that risks all, even death.

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January 02 2022 By dvirtue The Magi's Perilous Journey

But even in that era, kings were not born. Princes--sons of the monarch--had to survive palace intrigues, sibling rivalries, and foreign invasions to take their thrones. Even a cursory understanding of the Old Testament reveals that the odds of the eldest son taking the throne of his father were not great. Even Herod the Great, the king of Judea at the time of the magi's visit, was placed on the throne by Marc Antony after a deadly civil war.

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December 21 2021 By dvirtue The Light the Shepherds Saw

Through His angels, God chose to announce His Son's birth to shepherds outside Bethlehem. We don't know how far away they were or how they made it to the manger bearing the infant. The heavenly host had lit up the night sky, but by the time of the shepherd's journey, the host had dispersed. Travel by night was perilous. We don't know if the shepherds were led by a dog: the star leading the wise men to the creche had not yet appeared.

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