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.

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.

Responding in a Time of Need

Recently I watched on television as President Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, making airport security a direct federal responsibility. A week earlier, Congress seemed to be deadlocked regarding airport security, with neither party willing to compromise on their own strongly held positions. But, within days, the Senate and House had both agreed to a bill which the Senate passed without opposition and the House passed by a vote of 410 to 9.

Presbyterians Expose THeir Buts!

In their proper place, I have long, and roundly, maintained a lowdown admiration for nice, big Presbyterian buts.  To close and appreciative observers like me the fundaments of Reformed dogmatics are both ample and shapely with lots of wiggle room.  Being generously endowed (and with intelligence, too), Presbyterians are aware that many theological affirmations are so complex the only proper response to them is, "yes, but...."

The lost art of congregational visitation

There are several reasons why congregational visitation is no longer a priority; the difficulty of arranging it; members are busy; pastors are busy; and we are not sure what it accomplishes.

There are several reasons why congregational visitation should be a priority. It meets people where they are; it facilitates contact with members who seldom are seen; and it can renew the church.

All in the Family

"Resolutions acknowledging the Catholic Church as part of the body of Christ, and calling for continuing study of those practices which first divided us were approved, as was a resolution of invitation to invite the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to join in studies leading to possible future affirmation of one another's baptisms."
-- 213th General Assembly News (June 13, 2001)