Based on a Reflection by Brian Cornelius on December 15th, 2013

When reading about the magi in the gospel of Matthew, the phrase that captures my attention is the last phrase where the Magi, these wisdom figures from the East "returned to their own country a different way."

But not only was the way different, they were different.  Signs in the heavens  had propelled them on a journey away from their homeland, only to return to that homeland different.  These Magi embody those words of Nelson Mandela that we noted last week… "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered".

As we ponder this mythic story, I want to focus on this theme of returning home as one who is altered, and this includes the surprising realization that Christmas is "stableless".

Read more: A "Stableless" Christmas

Based on a Reflection by Brian Cornelius on December 8th, 2013

Nelson Mandela died this week.  As I was driving home the other night I was listening to a CBC commentary on the life of Nelson Mandela, a commentary that focused on his legacy as a reconciler.  Mandela was described as “one” who spoke truthfully while proclaiming a vision of peace.  I am struck by the appropriate “lectionary” reading for this week.  Isaiah 11, articulates a vision of peace where there is “one” who represents justice and truthfulness while promoting peace through healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation, a vision where enemies, where lion and calf lie down together. 

Like many of you no doubt, upon hearing the news I went to my bookshelf and pulled out my copy of The Long Walk to Freedom. 

The chapter I find most mesmerizing in this long walk is the chapter titled Robben Island:  The Dark Years.  This chapter describes the first years of Mandela’s imprisonment, an imprisonment intended to strip him of his dignity and humanity.  Mandela describes the challenges of not succumbing, and there were many dark, dark moments. 

Read more: Nelson Mandela and Joseph, Father of Jesus

Based on a Reflection offered by Brian Cornelius on December 1, 2013

One of my favourite Biblical texts is the genealogy of Christ Jesus in the gospel of Matthew.  I love it because it is both provocative and embodies that life-giving tension between ordering and knowing that life is beyond ordering.

But first, a story.  It is at the end of the amazing novel that was made into a movie “The Secret Lives of Bees” where the main character, Lily Owens, after watching her abusive father drive away, turns back to look at the house which has become her “home”.  She looks at women, African American women who are now her mothers, even though she herself is of Anglo-Saxon descent.

Lily has journeyed from the house of her childhood, which was home in some ways, but there was something missing.  The spirit of her deceased mother guided her towards her true home, and all along that pathway the starlight of events and persons and Spirit lit the way.   

Lily embodies the poetic words by the Welsh poet R.S Thomas As has been said, the point of travelling is not to arrive, but to return home laden with pollen you shall work up into the honey the mind feeds on.  Experiences that are rich, that cause the spirit and mind to grow.

Read more: Genealogy of Christ Jesus