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GRATITUDE

Holy Trinity Ankeny

Release Date: 10/10/2022

BLESSED show art BLESSED

Holy Trinity Ankeny

God does not wish for us a world where peace officers beat a man to death, nor does God imagine a creation where shootings happen every day. In fact, God weeps over the ways of the world. In Christ, God has revealed the ways of God – justice, peace, mourning, and meekness. Christ’s way was rejected but in the resurrection, God said “yes” to our no.” We know what God desires. We know what will save us from the mess we’ve made. “To seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God” according to the prophet Micah.

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JESUS CHOOSES US show art JESUS CHOOSES US

Holy Trinity Ankeny

I love the Choose Your Own Adventure books. They give you options as to what happens next as you read, and there is always the ability for a do-over if you don’t like how the story ends. In today’s Gospel lesson, Simon, Andrew, James, and John have a choice. Jesus gives them the choice to follow him. It is the same choice we get to make in our own lives. Whether we chose to follow or not, Jesus chooses us. Time and time again, Jesus chooses us. So, when we choose Jesus, we choose the one who first chose us.

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GOOD SOIL show art GOOD SOIL

Holy Trinity Ankeny

Plants need good soil to grow. We all know this. Jesus tells a parable that affirms this basic bit of science as he teaches that we are the soil that receives the seed of the gospel. Sometimes the world can dry out the soil of our lives, our hearts. The waters of baptism and the call of the Spirit refresh us to be the light of Christ in the world.

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BAPTISM OF JESUS show art BAPTISM OF JESUS

Holy Trinity Ankeny

The baptism of Jesus becomes his gift to all who follow him into the water. More than just repentance or forgiveness, baptism establishes our identity and purpose.

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It’s Not About That…  show art It’s Not About That…

Holy Trinity Ankeny

Today’s Gospel details the journey of the magi to find the Christ Child. The story of the magi is interesting and full of things that catch our attention. And if we’re not careful, we can focus on all the wrong things about the story. The journey of the magi is a journey we all take in some form or another. Let’s focus on what is important in today’s Gospel: Christ is with us.

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A MESSY CHRISTMAS show art A MESSY CHRISTMAS

Holy Trinity Ankeny

John's Gospel account tells of creation. It tells of a God who created and who comes to us in the messiness of this world. Who isn't afraid of the messiness, and in that mess called life, claims us as children.

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NOBODY GOD show art NOBODY GOD

Holy Trinity Ankeny

The story of the nativity in Luke’s Gospel is a story of somebodies and nobodies. Augustus and the governor of Syria are somebodies. Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and the shepherds are nobodies. We should note where God shows up in the world. We should note the people to who God is revealed. Love is revealed in places where no one would go to people who don’t matter. That should be terribly good news to each of us.

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God With Us - Emmanuel  show art God With Us - Emmanuel

Holy Trinity Ankeny

In today's gospel reading we hear about Joseph's reaction to hearing the news his future wife is now pregnant. His world was turned upside down. It's at times like this God can feel far away. Matthew tells us that God is doing a new thing. That God will send a Savior. That this child that Mary is carrying will save us all.

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AWAKEN PEACE show art AWAKEN PEACE

Holy Trinity Ankeny

The prophet Isaiah announces that a descendant of David will inaugurate a day when the “wolf will lie down with the lamb.” This incredible vision of peace that extends to the depths of creation is hard to fathom. How can we hope for such a thing to happen? According to Paul, Jesus Christ is that descendant, that “shoot from the stump of Jesse” and the peace he brings begins with the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile, black and white, slave and free, male and female. The peace begins when we, as shoots from that stump, forgive enemies and reconcile with those we hate. If that can...

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AWAKE TO HOPE show art AWAKE TO HOPE

Holy Trinity Ankeny

Holiday preparations are afoot, and they bring us some cheer. Advent, however, is about more than cheer, it is about hope. We hope for a world at peace. We hope that the violence and shootings will end. We hope the hungry will be fed. All these things can seem like wishful thinking, naïve longing for something that shall never be. So, how do we find hope in this season of hope?

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Ten people afflicted with leprosy cry out to Jesus for healing. Their affliction is much more than a medical condition. It makes them outcast, separates them from family, robs them of a livelihood. Jesus tells them to go to the priest to be declared clean. On the way, they are healed. The skin disease is gone, and they will be restored to life. Of the ten, only one returns to give thanks, to express gratitude. Only one is restored fully because gratitude is an essential part of being fully human. Does it seem strange only one returns? Not really. It seems about right. We are not good at gratitude.