Soundings

Want to learn more from different perspectives about our lessons? Soundings is a an opportunity for our Clergy to provide different insights into our readings and scripture. You may not always agree with the Clergy's interpretations. But that is why Soundings was created. To invite thoughtful discussion. You are welcome to email the author of each article to provide your comments. Welcome to Soundings!

The Work of Christmas

By Father David Fisher

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When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
-- Howard Thurman

Story of Mary

By Father David Fisher

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In our readings for today, we hear the story of the annunciation to Mary as told by Luke – “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary” - followed by her hymn of praise and thanksgiving we know as the Magnificat. It is difficult to know how to imagine this scene! None of the New Testament texts gives any information about Mary’s appearance; we are informed about her actions, not about how she may have looked to others. Faith has tried to fill this gap in a number of ways.

Read more: Story of Mary

Respond in Love to All in Captivity

By Father David Fisher

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The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

Read more: Respond in Love to All in Captivity

Missionaries Facing Conflict and Violence: Problems and Prospects

By Father David Fisher

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In “Missionaries Facing Conflict and Violence: Problems and Prospects” John Paul Lederach develops a model of reconciliation, based on experiences of clergy and lay leaders in war-torn Nicaragua.

The four elements meet in the concept of reconciliation. He describes the elements as follows:

  • truth with concepts such as transparency, revelation and clarity,
  • mercy with concepts such as acceptance, forgiveness, support, compassion and healing,
  • justice as equality, right relationships, making things right and restitution, and
  • peace as harmony, unity, well-being, security and respect. He points out that while there can be a contradiction between these four elements, they are in fact interconnected.

Resisting the Apocalyptic Temptation

By Father David Fisher

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”Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
”I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”- James Baldwin
The apocalyptic temptation is a temptation to hate; in the words of Psalm 139: “Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?/ And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?/ I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.”

Apocalyptic texts such as Mark 13 convey a particular theological mind set and a symbolic world that can be found in all religions, both Christian and non-Christian. In apocalyptic, the world is seen as a vast battlefield on which a war of cosmic dimensions between good and evil is being waged, and the committed believer seen as a divine warrior on the side of light and good. This cosmic dualism of good versus evil, light versus darkness, and truth versus falsehood etches a deep imprint on the religious imagination, and encourages the idealization of one’s own group and demonization of the other.

Read more: Resisting the Apocalyptic Temptation