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The Visitation: The Discipline of Patience

“Today’s Eucharistic Gospel (Lk 1:39-49) tells of two women, one young and one old, both pregnant for the first time. Danger to both their lives in a world where losing a baby was as common as the death of a mother after a successful live birth. And social shame overhanging both women. Mary, hardly married, although they had found a nice solid devout local craftsman for her. Who didn’t know what he was getting himself into, but had faith in his dreams. Because sometimes dealing with God is like that. And Elizabeth, her shameful barrenness finally overcome, but with a priestly husband struck dumb at the altar of the Holy One of Israel. “And what was that all about?” her neighbors whispered amongst themselves.”

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Crossing the Jordan: Learning the Joy of Obeying God

“Peter’s mother-in-law understands. She gets up to fulfill her role as one who cares for those under her roof, be it with soup or a clean bed for these friends of her family. A role which gives her pride and satisfaction. Or perhaps she sees in Jesus much more, and the call to serve him leaps beyond a social role. She wants to serve him, as Jesus himself is called to serve her as the doctor of her body and her soul. As he himself serves his Father, for his Father’s glory.”

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To Filioque or not to Filioque

“Many theologians and mystics have taught ways to separate the two. A classic textbook is St. Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, with its daily examination of conscience (Examen) to stay on track. But actually learning how to live in this messy world full of messy people, and to hear God’s voice within you, takes practice, prayer, and trusted teachers and companions. “

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How Real is the Spiritual?

“First, Jesus does not come back as a ghost. That is what all those eating-with-Jesus stories are about. The dead don’t eat. That he is often not recognized points to the metaphysical change which we are to expect at the End Time. The second point is that only believers can see Jesus.”

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The Golden Calf, or Change is Hard

“Two moments in our Salvation history. Moses who brings the Law which says, “The Lord is our God, the Lord is One,” God will provide everything you need. Break it at your peril. Jesus shifts to a new way of sanctification, one which we reach through Jesus. He is our sin offering. We are forgiven, even as we are ever tempted to cast Golden Calves.”

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Another Hard Word: Obedience

“Salvation history is based on submission. Abraham is ready to sacrifice his son. Mary allows herself to be impregnated by a powerful stranger. Jesus allows himself to be ordered to his death. And before that, even Jesus submits to to be half drowned in a river by his crazy fanatic cousin John. And the call of the prophets is no better, and few of them die in bed, happy and old.”

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Must We Suffer?

“Let us learn to embrace those words we chose to throw away. Suffering. Sin. The Evil One. And at the same time let us learn to embrace those prettified words for their true meanings, their hard and real meanings. Faith. Obedience. Love. Healed. Because without walking through the shadow of death, can there be the support, love, and gifts of our Shepherd?”

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He is risen. Have We?

“But one thing I will miss when this is over. The dozens, hundreds, of broadcasts of services from all over, from all the people I know and follow, the very visual and visceral proof that we are all praying together. Sunday. Daily Prayer. Sermons and meditations. The Word of God proclaimed everywhere. For a few short weeks we were thrust out of My Parish, My Church, My Priest, Our Customary. For a few short weeks we were forced to be part of God’s Holy Church everywhere.”

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A Broken and Contrite Heart (Psalm 51:17)

“Notice what we have gained. A recognition that God has not abandoned us. We have nothing to fear. We are never alone. Once famine meant death. Drought meant death. But we still have food, and water, and power. But now we have joined the rest of humanity throughout history who knew that death was always hovering right behind us.”

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Fear Not

“Most of us are doing fine, learning to live with uncertainty. I feel content. Attentive to others’ needs, but not feeling lonely or abandoned. I have enough to eat, my cats, the Prayer Book, Scripture, and a library full of books. My neighbors keep an eye on each other in a low-key and unstressed way. I even use social media some.”

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The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

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