Alive and Loose in the Ordinary: Stories of the Incarnation

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None of us has to suffer alone. Until the end of time, Christ shares our sorrows and bears our grief. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Let us recall in words the Passion of our Lord. And let us keep before us the greatest sign of divine love.

That was the first destination of the Prodigal Son in the parable Jesus told. Now while few of us have ever fallen as far as the Prodigal Son, most of us will have thought about escaping. He has behaved properly all his life, yet his father has never thrown him a party.

And the average reader will sympathize. Indeed, some commentators have remarked that the parable might be better termed, the Parable of the Older Brother. For his response seems perfectly logical. Why no feast? Remember how the Father defends his decision to kill the fatted calf? But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found. Still, the Older Brother might not be satisfied. Do you want me to get lost so that I can then return to the right track? This response reflects misguided spiritual thinking.

The Older Brother might have been wiser if, instead of envying the Prodigal, he looked at his own moral track record. Has he never wasted money?

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Has he never lost his way? Has he always behaved perfectly here? Has he always obeyed his Heavenly Father? Most important, has the elder son made the Second Journey? The Second Journey is a positive way to spiritual wholeness. And this characteristic of inner renewal turns out to give more joy than life in the Far Country!

Reading these memoirs, the reader gets the sense sometimes that the converted Christians miss their former lives! But the best of these memoirs also convey the greater happiness of life in Christ. Transient pleasures never really satisfy, and so hedonists must constantly look for new persons or indulgences to stimulate their interests.

A good way to think of this is to remember times when you were longing to get home. Or you had a long hectic day at the office and you longed for the moment when you would be unlocking the door of your apartment.

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That is the feeling the Prodigal Son had when he returned to his father. The Father in the parable is, of course, a symbol for God. Making the passage to spiritual depth and wholeness, to honesty and love. A journey to reconciliation with God, with friends and family—and with yourself.

And now unto that same God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be ascribed as is most justly due all might, majesty, power, dominion, and praise, now and forever. Few of us will have experience of actual slates. These were small blackboards, about the size of an iPad; a couple of generations ago, they were used by students to calculate sums in arithmetic.

In those days, paper was expensive, so the students wrote with chalk; when they had finished with one exercise, they could erase it and go on to another one. Slates could also be found in shops in the days before cash registers. But the expression can also be useful in referring to the soul. The Church teaches that when we confess our faults to God, the faults disappear.

All is forgiven. The slate has been wiped clean; and we can begin life anew. For most of us feel at some time or another that we have black marks that need to be removed from our souls. We remember occasions when we were short-tempered or judgmental. We think of some blunder we made that led to a lost job or the end of a relationship. So we feel regret and sadness and shame.

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The Bible of course connects these feelings to a state of the soul known as sin. According to the text, some people in the city of Siloam died when a tower collapsed upon them. Their misfortune was believed to be a consequence of their sins. So all sinners need to acknowledge their faults.

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Unless we repent, we will go to Hell. Modern Christians, though, have found this doctrine hard to reconcile with their belief in a loving God. They have claimed that God can save whomever he wants to save. At the end of time, maybe even the worst sinners will be redeemed. Recently an evangelical pastor published a book in which he unexpectedly argued against eternal punishment and in favor of universal salvation; the writer gave his book the memorable title, Love Wins. Yet even if all people will ultimately be saved and therefore our personal sins will one day be forgiven—still, we need to contend with the little matter of the condition of our souls right now.

No, we punish ourselves.

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I realize that there is a wider dimension to the punishment Christ is referring to. Our Assistant Minister gave a vivid description last week of this crisis. So I want to witness to the power of the Incarnation alive and loose in the ordinariness of the world for us and through us and among us. And I offer these little sketches of remembered grace to invite you to notice your own soul's companions and the thin places in your life through which grace, well, springs.

With a light touch and warm voice, and just a hint of a Southern accent, Martha Sterne tells the stories of her encounters with Christ - in the supermarket and the beauty parlor, in the garden, the kitchen, and sometimes even church. Sterne shares her gift for storytelling, showing readers that the Incarnation is alive and loose everywhere they look, in the listening ears, kind voices, and loving hearts of people they bump into everywhere.

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Each essay is followed by reflection questions, making this a lovely volume for group study. Martha Sterne is an Episcopal priest and a popular writer and speaker. She lives in Maryville, Tennessee. The book teems with memories and quirks and acts of stunning generosity. Martha Sterne's daily world consists in a thousand human dramas. She notices each of them and sees in them, in rich variety, occasions of grace. The Doctor and his companions prepared to leave, but the Doctor discovered that his companions were missing; having been pulled out of time by Adam Mitchell.

COMIC : Unnatural Selection Afterwards, the Doctor joined his ten future incarnations to save many companions from his future that Adam and the Master had kidnapped in their vendetta against him. When the Master killed Adam, the eleven Doctors honoured Adam as a "true companion". The Doctor and the Earl of Leicester lock metaphorical swords.

TV : " The Wheel of Fortune ". Just as the travellers exited the ship, a scuffle took place between a group of Saracens and a group including Richard the Lionheart. With Ian sent to search for Barbara, the Doctor discovered the King wished to marry his sister, Joanna , to his enemy 's brother, Saphadin. However, Joanna was told of this arrangement and, after an argument, with her brother, he accused the Doctor of revealing the secret. However, it was the Earl of Leicester who was indiscrete and, having left Jaffa and reunited with their friends in the forest, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki made their escape before the Earl could arrest them under suspicion of witchcraft.

TV : The Crusade. The Doctor hides in a Dalek casing. TV : " The Dimensions of Time ".