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December 2014

I Xmas 2014

[Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Paris] Those of us who remember the old Latin Mass know that it always ended with the reading of the opening of John’s Gospel: In principio erat Verbum… The priest who could rattle it off the fastest and get us out was always the favorite. And yet, this text of all texts deserves to be taken slowly, like reciting a great poem by John Donne, savoring a 100-year-old cognac, gazing at a Cézanne. “In the beginning was the Word… and the Word dwelt among us…”

Joyeux Noël

Christmas 2014, The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. We get “joyous” from “joyeux.” The English say “happy” Christmas, Americans have kept that lovely word “merry” alive. “Noël” is a mysterious word, not Latin or Greek or even Hebrew in origin. Originally it was a cheer when the king visited or the queen gave birth or French arms won a victory. Hooray for the newborn Prince of Peace! Joyeux Noël is also the name of a film that came out nine years ago. It depicts an event that happened exactly one hundred years ago tonight. On Christmas in 1914, French, British and German troops declared a truce in order to celebrate Christmas together...

Finding God

The ministry of Bishops Against Gun Violence in The Episcopal Church is not confined to America. Firearm use in murders is widespread, and we all must respond to it. The shocking murder of the sister of the Bishop of Honduras, Natalie Lloyd, among other cases, proves this. The popular image abroad of the United States is that we are the land of the cowboy gunslinger. The high rate of homicides and suicides by gun, the increasing incidents of school shootings since Columbine, the worldwide publicity surrounding the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases, and news stories of American parents starting children as young as three with real firearms, all contribute to this unflattering stereotype.

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