Being the Light of the World

light-through-snow-for-blogBy Laura Courter

At the beginning of December, I read the Benedictine Oblate Newsletter from Sister Ruth. I had been wondering how I could focus on serving God wholeheartedly during the Advent season and beyond when I had so many “regular” duties that keep me quite busy? Sister Ruth advised we consider doing four simple things so that “we might light up the way for others, and, in the process be enlightened ourselves.” Continue Reading

On Temples and Our Hospitality toward God

templeBy Amy Carr

When praying the psalms, what images are conjured for you by the frequent mention of the Temple at Mt. Zion? I know I’ve written about this before, but as I’ve had this question in the background over the years, sometimes the kaleidoscope shifts into a new pattern of seeing. Continue Reading

Advent and Pregnant Waiting

lighting-advent-candle-for-fbBy Benedictine Oblate Amy Carr

We associate Advent with the lighting of candles; with prophetic and apocalyptic readings about the past and present and future comings of Christ; with an orientation to the Light who arises in every darkness. But unlike Catholics, in the Lutheran tradition in which I was raised, we ritually remember Jesus’ mother Mary mostly when telling the story of Christmas night itself. Continue Reading

Christmas as a Communal Celebration?

Growing up in a small town in the UP, I thought almost everyone was Finnish or Ojibwe (or both: Finndian). And at Christmas, I liked feeling that our whole town was coming together as a community. I would hop from playing the piano for a Christmas Eve service at my Lutheran church to joining a friend at a Methodist service, and would find myself thinking of everyone else in town worshipping that night in celebration of the Christ Child’s birth. I’d picture everyone’s carols rising straight up to the stars amid the wood smoke of our houses. Continue Reading

Advent as a Special Sabbath

While light emerging in darkness is perhaps the most familiar Advent motif, Mary’s pregnancy in preparation for giving birth is a part of Advent I ponder often, too — even as a woman who has never given birth. At this moment draws near, Mary must drop everything to give her attention to act of giving birth, of bringing forth a being who is not herself (though she too now has a mission which has caught up her own life in ways she cannot fathom). Continue Reading