Author: Nicholas Knisely

Kept the good wine until now…

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To my mind, there are two key takeaways for us this week. We who are Christians stand in the crowd of witnesses that began with the first stories, with Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, with the family of Abraham, with Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Ruth, Samuel, Saul and David, and all the prophets. We remember what they longed to see. We are gathered and transformed by what happened just as they were created and transformed by […]

His winnowing fork is in his hand…

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To us has been given the Word of truth, the Word of faith and of hope. So that even in this moment, as the nations roar and creation groans, we see the working of the Spirit to bring all to perfection. Do not wonder then but behold the working out of Salvation in our midst. It is being made manifest to us. And how appropriate today that the name of this liturgical season, Epiphany literally […]

The Heavens declare the glory of the Lord

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One of the optional readings for this second Sunday in Christmastide is the story of the Magi and their visit to the Christ Child in Bethlehem. In this Gospel, the Magi study nature, act on what they learn, and arrive at the foot of the Christ Child, the Lord, and author of Creation. To me, this lesson has been a reminder that the present apparent conflict between Science and Religion in this moment of history […]

Do not be afraid, behold the Gospel moment is here!

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This year is not what we had hoped. The fourth wave of the pandemic is sweeping across the world. We thought this summer we were through the worst of it and that all things would be being made well by now. But it hasn’t turned out that way. But don’t lose heart. For those with eyes to see, the light of God is still in this world and waxes strong. Christmas is the celebration of […]

An old and familiar song but sung in a new key.

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Mary, in this passage from Luke’s Gospel, sings a riff on Hannah’s Song which Hannah sang when she learns that she is to give birth to the Prophet Samuel. The old stories are coming true again. The same power which moved in times of despair and fear is moving once again. That is a message for our day too. We bear within us the hope for all the years. We too burst into song, singing […]

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

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Happy Advent, you brood of vipers!  This is Gaudete Sunday on the church calendar when we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath and rejoice. Two of the lessons read in churches worldwide speak at length about our joy that our salvation is drawing near and even repeatedly use the word “rejoice” in their text. But this Gospel… well, it goes a different way. John uses language that Jesus uses as well to describe […]

God is coming into the world – not to condemn but to save.

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I wonder if we sometimes lose the main thread of Advent in our zeal to differentiate our season of quiet preparation from the secular celebration of the “holidays.” It feels like we’ve overcorrected and inadvertently send a message that God’s advent into our lives needs to be anticipated with dread rather than joy. I know that’s not what we intend in our Advent traditions, but given that Advent carries a penitential cast for some, it […]

There is a direction to time and history, a purpose that is being worked out by God.

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When Jesus speaks to his disciples about what is to come in history, and explains to them that this is a reason to have hope, it can be hard to find comfort in what he’s describing. At first hearing, it sounds like a cataclysm is coming which will bring destruction and turmoil. But what he’s describing are the birth pangs of a healed and restored Creation. The Biblical stories insist that God is active in […]

A king who conquers by dying, not killing

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The Episcopal Church is the descendent of the Church of England. We still sometimes jokingly describe ourselves as the Anglican franchise in the United States. And with that history comes a complicated relationship with power. The Church of England and its role as an established part of the British Empire was seen by us as something to be achieved in our context. At the height of the Empire’s power, we started building large Gothic cathedrals […]