Friday, December 23rd, 2011


We were asked, at the clergy writing group, to give the opening sentence of a seasonal sermon we would probably never give in our congregations.  Here are my two entries:

It might surprise you to learn that our ideal person of faith is an expectant, unwed twelve year old …

and

Having the magi recognize Jesus’ birth is like having palm reading astrologers give him their seal of approval …

This is my sermon for the Vigil tomorrow night:

My father named me Jacob, after the patriarch — for all the good that does!  What good is a name like that to a shepherd?  People today forget that Jacob himself really was a shepherd.  They refer to their leaders as shepherds.  But they mean it figuratively.

They look at real shepherds with contempt, and go out of their way to avoid contact with us.  They call us thieves behind our backs — and even sometimes to our faces.  But they wear our wool and eat our meat all the same.

Shepherds live hard lives in some ways, exposed to the hot summer sun and the cold winter winds, fighting off wild animals, working throughout the day and night when necessary.  I’m told we also smell.  I wouldn’t know.  But they say we pick up the odor of our charges, and people of breeding turn their noses up when we are near. (more…)