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Gabriel’s Gifts

Angelic University Graduates and Faculty:

Thank you, graduates, for allowing this old angel, class of '04, to address you on graduation day. And I thank the president for granting me the degree of Doctor of Celestial Deeds (DCD). Think of it! I, Gabriel, a doctor!

Let me recall some of my big jobs, since I have been asked to share memories of my life with you. I was a Special Cosmic Messenger, delivering the Fear not! master message on at least three big occasions.

A Christmas Story

He's been coming to our church lately. Not very well dressed, obviously from the street. Totally out of place in our fine building. We've got lots of street people who come into and out of our life.

The Helpful Stranger

Criss-crossing the country by car the way I do, I've been fortunate to have had few breakdowns. Other than hitting a cement abutment along the Ohio Turnpike and locking my keys in my car while stopping along a deserted stretch on the Pacific Coast Highway, nothing notable has happened.

The Church as Refuge

This is an activist generation. It is reflected in civil life, national politics and the ecclesiastical scene. In a way this is good: many things need to be done, but too often we try to do too many things or even the wrong things -- so long as we're getting something done.

The Bitter Frost and the Wild Snowflake

Despite late November spring-like temperatures, the fiery red, golden passion of October's glory has fallen fast. From the mighty oak, maple and ash, the crippled stem and crinkled leaf have tumbled down to the hard, hard ground, where they are crushed like fodder under the hoof of the deer and the boot of the hunter.

12-24 midnight after 9-11-01

The baby grows up into
"Jesus" by name -- the Lord saves, or will, as it reads
in the original
His denizens give dozens of titles --
"Lord," "Almighty," "Prince of Peace" even this year,

Christmas 2001

I head into Greene's Discount Beer, Wine and Liquor. A Salvation Army guy wearing a camouflage cap and jacket over blue dungarees and ringing a bell holds the door open for me. The multiple incongruities slip into my brain. I check; he has a Salvation Army name badge.

Inside, the cashier asks for my I.D., startling me. It's not my age -- 58 -- she wants, but verification of my credit card. I laugh and thank her for checking.

The Gift of Enthusiasm

Are you looking for something special to lift your spirits this Christmas? What about a gift that can't be purchased? Namely, the gift of enthusiasm. The seed of genuine enthusiasm is God-given, lying deep within the soul of everyone. The emergence of enthusiasm depends on the maturity of one's walk and talk with God. The nature of enthusiasm (see your dictionary) is to be God-possessed and infused with new energy.

The Broadening Church

The gospel is intended for all people. The church is to go to all nations. God's will is that every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

As the late Lefferts Loetscher of Princeton Seminary in a book titled The Broadening Church taught us, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been a broadening church -- an inclusive church -- throughout its history, but becoming the people God wants us to be has not been easy.