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2016 Daily Devotions

Monday, December 19, 2016

by
Brad Syverson
Trained Spiritual Director

Scripture
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:41

A Word of Hope
I remember cowering in the basement when I was ten years old listening to pounding footsteps upstairs. My parents had gone out for the evening and my sister and I were hanging out in the basement “rec room.” Suddenly we became aware of the pounding footsteps upstairs. Hiding behind the couch, we shook with fear. Who was up there and what were they doing? Would they come downstairs? Would they hurt us? Listening was the only way we had to try to figure out what was going on and if they were coming for us. So while we were trembling, we were listening. I had never listened so intently before. Every fiber of my being was listening.

Waiting for something can be difficult. Waiting in the dark, not knowing what’s going on, not knowing when or if healing, resolution or safety will come is far worse. Trembling fear or quiet despair are natural reactions. We know the advent calendar will surely run out of days and December 25 will come one way or another. However In the advent seasons of our lives when we are waiting in the dark, we don’t know when or if the Holy Light will actually break through to us.

And so we wait. In the dark. Not knowing. All we can do is listen and watch. Fear and sadness can motivate our listening but on our best days hope sustain the watchful waiting. All we can do is keep up the watch and try to nourish our hope through community with God and each other. Gradually we see, feel or hear the tiniest tickle of Holy Spirit’s Light inside of us. If we’re not watching closely enough we might miss it. A subtle movement within like a mother’s first sensations of life growing inside her. Or maybe we feel the hard jab of an elbow as Light shifts things around inside us. The Light can suddenly leap within us or steadily rise like a Grand Canyon sunrise over Yaki Point. But while we keep the watch, we must stay in community with our God and each other. It often takes another’s voice to ignite Light within us. Like Elizabeth, a simple greeting from the Mary’s in our lives can make all the difference.

Prayer
In our waiting and not-knowing times, sustain us in our watching, Light of our lives. Amen.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

by
Dan Peeler
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare

Scripture
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it;” -Psalm 96:11

A Word of Hope

This past Sunday was Gaudete Sunday, the day we lit the rose-colored candle on the Advent Wreath. During the otherwise traditionally solemn and reflective season of Advent, the spirit of the third Sunday emphasizes the joyous anticipation of the Lord's birth. “Gaudete” means rejoice and reminds us that the rose colored candle is also called the Shepherd’s Candle, since it was to the shepherds the angel appeared with a message of joy: “But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of a great joy which will come to all people.” - Luke 2.10

The children of our church always look forward to the lighting of the pink candle, the only unique candle among the four that surround the Advent wreath. Children have a way of elevating something adults consider trivial to a level that is almost magical. They appreciate and take wonder in anything that is different, rather than marginalize it or ignore it. They can understand the emotions the shepherds must have felt, people who themselves were the forgotten and least respected among their own community, but still the chosen audience for a miraculous announcement. The angels really didn’t have to say that the good tidings of great joy were for “all people.” Their presence among the lowly shepherds said it to all of us.

The children have taught me, as they often do, that the rose colored candle is actually the candle of inclusion, the candle on the edge, the one representing those who were routinely turned away, forgotten by their established and comfortable community. Graphically, its color disturbs the otherwise monotonous monochromatic balance of the other candles, but its presence completes the perfect picture of what the healthy church ought to be.

Prayer
With joy this week, I give thanks for all the rose colored candles among us.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope devotion, we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

by
Weber Baker
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare

Today is Poinsettia Day
Today is Poinsettia Day

The U.S. House of Representatives established Poinsettia Day. December 12 was the day on which Robert Poinsett, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, died in 1851. It is also celebrated as Dia de La Virgen, celebrating Mary. The poinsettia is known as La Flor de la Nichebuena, the Christmas Flower.

This plant (the red ‘petals’ are actually leaves) comes from Mexico. There are many stories around it. Legend says a young girl, tearful because she had no money for a gift to present to the Christ child in the creche, was visited by an angel. The angel told her that any gift given in love was acceptable to Christ. The girl’s tears fell on some weeds which transformed into the beautiful red plants we know today.

Another story tells of Franciscan friars decorating for Christmas used green poinsettias as decoration around their nativity scene. During mass, a star like the star of Bethlehem, flew overhead and the plants turned red. The friars saw this as representation of the blood of Jesus.

Robert Poinsett, serving in Mexico in the 1820’s, saw the plant, learned it bloomed around Christmas time, and sent samples home. On his return home, he cultivated the plant and gave it to friends.

The modern poinsettia business owes its existence to Albert Ecke and his son Paul Sr. The Eckes were German immigrants. In the early 20th century they sold fruit from a stand in Hollywood. Poinsettias grow wild in that area and the Eckes collected them to sell at Christmas. By 1906 they had bought land and cultivated poinsettias for shipment nationwide. In the 1970’s Paul Ecke Jr. marketed the plants by giving them to the Tonight Show and other national TV shows at Christmas time for set decoration. Paul Ecke III took over in the 1990’s. Now there are over 60 varieties of poinsettias.

A Word of Hope

When I read the story of the poinsettia, I was struck by how much it stands as a symbol of the way things can be. An import from Mexico, brought to the United States by a government official, becomes a major business in the hands of immigrants over four generations. Poinsett was born in 1779, during the American Revolution. Paul Ecke III sold the family ranch in 2012.

So when you see all the poinsettias at Cathedral of Hope this Christmas season, and reflect on the tributes they represent, think also of that humble plant and how it has and will touch so many diverse people. People who may never know each other but are brought together in time and space by the red of the poinsettia and the blood of Christ.

Prayer
Holy One, as we come to the time of celebrating the birth of Jesus, we thank you for the gift of this earth and its beauty. We thank you for our diversity and thank you that we are brought together by your love. Amen.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

by
Patricia R. "Patsy" Bjorling, M.Div.
Director of Development

Scripture
13 Boaz married Ruth. She became his wife. Boaz slept with her. By God’s gracious gift she conceived and had a son. 14-15 The town women said to Naomi, "Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life. May this baby grow up to be famous in Israel! He’ll make you young again! He’ll take care of you in old age. And this daughter-in-law who has brought him into the world and loves you so much, why, she’s worth more to you than seven sons!" 16 Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot. 17 The neighborhood women started calling him "Naomi’s baby boy!" But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David. Ruth 4: 13-17 -- The Message

God's Purpose in Ordinary Lives
This passage comes at the end of the Book of Ruth. If you remember the story, Ruth is a Moabite widow who has chosen to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, an Israelite, who is also a widow. Naomi has traveled back to her childhood home of Bethlehem, because both of her sons have died, and she is now impoverished. Nevertheless, Ruth is devoted to Naomi, and once they arrive, Ruth diligently gleans food for them in the fields, according to the custom of the day.

Naomi in turns hopes to help Ruth find a husband, and lo! and behold, a wealthy and perfectly suited candidate emerges – Boaz. To make a rather complicated story short, everything transpires perfectly. All key parties are in the right places at the right time and everyone says just the right things. Boaz and Ruth become husband and wife. Soon, Ruth gives birth to a son, who turns out to be the grandfather of the one and only King David…and we know that THAT means in terms of the story of Jesus. (In Revelation 22:16, Jesus says, "I am the Root and the Offspring of David.")

But this is more than just a story of the origins of the Davidic line. If you read the entire, short book of Ruth, you’ll find a pretty amazing illustration of how ordinary people are given critical parts in bringing about God’s "big picture." Each person in the story of Ruth had a role to play, and without even one them, the ending might have been different.

In our 2016 present day, our Creator also uses ordinary people – you and me --to breathe life into God’s plan for a here-and-now Kingdom of love and justice for all of Creation. Each of us are perfectly positioned, with resources, talents, and loving hearts exactly where we are needed and where God wants us in order to do today’s holy work and set the stage for tomorrow’s. Ponder that for a moment. We are here in this place and time because we are part of God’s plan. Wow!

Prayer
Holy One, what a blessing it is to be your hands and feet. Give me love big enough for the tasks you set before me and the stamina to carry them out. May I always be able to see the face of Jesus in others and in turn show the face of Christ to those I meet. All Praise and Glory to You! Amen.

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Childcare is provided at all Sunday and Wednesday services.

Sundays
9 & 11 a.m. – Sunday Worship
9 & 11 a.m. – Children’s Church
11 a.m. – Youth Groups
1 p.m. – Sunday Worship in Spanish

Wednesdays
7:15 p.m. – PULSE Service

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5910 Cedar Springs Road | Dallas, TX  75235 (map)
Local: 214-351-1901 | Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)

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