Former Diakonia Instructor Publishes New Book
Alexander (Sandy) Jacobs is a retired ELCA pastor and a member of the Greater Milwaukee Synod. From 2006 – 2018, Pastor Jacobs taught Introduction to the New Testament to more than 150 students. His new book, Gospel Voices, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Journey with the First Covenant People
By: Mary Beth Frederick
Weekly Devotionals for Advent
Advent Devotional #1
Welcome, Advent. It’s a Scandal.
You don’t need me to tell you that the economy is not rebounding. You don’t need me to tell you that we haven’t “rounded the curve” of COVID-19. You don’t need me to tell you that there are poor people in the United States of America. You may be one. You know as well as I do that without lots of money or a job with benefits, it’s hard to be healthy in this country, and that depending on where you live or what kind of job you have, it may still be hard even if all the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act stick around or are enhanced.
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Advent Devotional #2
We usually think of Advent as a meditative season. Hushed by a vision of Mary pondering mysteries in her heart, the Church grows still. Advent walks on tiptoe, a finger to its lips, trying not to distract anyone.
This is a season of deep, cold nights warmed by soft candles; a time of longing, for healing, for the reunion of human and divine, for justice. Advent gives a voice to this perennial longing, but in a peaceful tone. It barely breathes. It does not speak above a whisper. It waits.
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Advent Devotional #3
So Weird: Meditation for 4th Advent/Christmas Sunday
In our house, when I was growing up, the baby Jesus didn’t appear in the manger until after we got back from Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. We were strict constructionists—no carols in Advent, and no baby in the cradle ‘till the night he was born.
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Advent Devotional #4
Housekeys: The Flight Into Egypt
Unlike Luke’s story of Jesus’ birth, Matthew’s has no journey home to be counted, no overbooked inns, no shepherds, no manger, no swaddling clothes. Instead, Matthew has Joseph and Mary already living in a house in Bethlehem, their own house, presumably; and it is there that the Magi visit the child Jesus and give him gifts.
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Advent Devotional #5
The custom of holding Lessons and Carols sometime during the Advent or Christmas season originated at King’s College in Cambridge in the year the Great War ended. It was a rather fancy way to tell a simple story, high church and glorious. But whether you tell the story in a Gothic cathedral with priests in surplice and cassock, or in a village church with little kids in bathrobes and paper crowns, it’s the same story repeated, wondered at, puzzled over, relished, and entered into for 2,000 years. And whether it’s sung with sophistication by boy choristers in ruffles accompanied by a masterful organ, or with a willing simplicity by a few octogenarians at a church piano, it’s the same song, sung with astonishing trust in its ancient oddness and candid faith in its startling relevance.