Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Below is an excerpt from Life Conquers Death: Meditations on the Garden, the Cross, and the Tree of Life by Rev. Dr. John Arnold. Full disclosure: it is one of the most beautifully written theological works I have read. Honestly.
I read this piece awhile ago, but it has stuck with me, popping into my memory on multiple occasions. This is most likely due to its narrative approach to Christian Scripture and through this method, he pulls out some points I had not thought of, especially in connection to consumer culture, immaturity, and patience. For that and more I am thankful.
Here are his words regarding Genesis 3:
For Adam and Eve did not fall through acquiring knowledge any more than we do. They fell through disobedience; and then they acquired knowledge before they were ready for it. The problem with Adam and Eve, as with us, is not that they were knowledgeable but that they were precocious. Their partial knowledge of haphazard and unrelated ‘facts’ outstripped their maturity; and they became clever before they became wise – as is shown by that picturesque little incident of the fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). They discovered their bodies, as every succeeding generation has done, with a mixture of delight and shame, before they had the personal maturity and the developed all-around relationship to enable them to cope with this astonishing revelation.
God had not placed the tree in the garden as a test or trick to keep knowledge from them forever. A God who would do that would be a tyrant and an irrational jealous ogre – not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God was going to add to all his mercies in creation, he was going to complete them, by giving Adam and Eve the fruit of knowledge himself, when it was ripe and they were mature, so they should not only enjoy everything in the garden and each other but also know what it was they were enjoying and who was the giver of it. The tragedy is they did not trust him enough to wait. In the morning they clutched and stuffed themselves on unripe fruit, while they were adolescent, before they had even explored the garden or come to appreciate what they had been given.
That is the first act in the tragicomedy of the so-called consumer society. They did not know that God was going to come to them in the cool of the evening, not to withhold anything from them but to give them the knowledge of good and evil himself and, much more than that, to give them ‘his presence and his very self.’ Why did he come in the cool of the evening if not to speak with them and tell them stories and parables of nature and open their eyes and share their lives so that they could share his? It was, after all, just what he was prevented from doing in Eden, which he came to do later in the synagogue at Capernaum, in all the towns and villages of Galilee and on the road to Emmaus.
– John Arnold, Life Conquers Death: Meditations on the Garden, the Cross, and the Tree of Life, p. 24-25.
Sometimes I forget that even though I get called Mr. Emery at work and, occasionally, Pastor Scott elsewhere, one of my favorite titles is the one you call me, “Daddy.”
Sometimes I forget you are not “my” daughter, but “our” daughter: our family, our Church, our community, our God.
Sometimes I forget how quickly a 9 month pregnancy can turn into you, my 2 year old daughter.
Sometimes I forget that my responses to things can be the most formative times in your life.
Sometimes I forget the awe of how your warm cooing has transformed into a sweet, little voice.
Sometimes I forget that you are the embodiment of one of God’s words from eons ago.
Sometimes I forget how my ambition to be known for my theological thought should never outweigh my ambition to be known – by you – for my theological action.
Sometimes I forget that how I show your mother love will probably be the litmus test for how you imagine love looking.
Sometimes I forget how your little hands will be held by another some day.
Sometimes I forget your best friend is your older sister and your biggest imitator will be your younger sister, so how I love them effects you too.
Sometimes I forget that you are two and not 18.
Sometimes I forget how soon you will be 18.
Sometimes I forget how my parents have a 30 year old son with 3 girls – one of them being you – and how soon I will be in that position.
Sometimes I forget that you don’t get the tone in my voice.
Sometimes I forget how much I prayed for you before you were born and how those prayers are slowly being answered.
Sometimes I forget the hard reality that many of your similarly-aged future friends have been/are/will be sick and dying.
Sometimes I forget how much you have taught me.
You smile and I see love.
You request to pray before bed and I understand faith.
You hug my neck as we walk downstairs every morning and I know forgiveness.
You run to me in pain and I know healing.
You laugh and I become infected with hope.
You love me and I am filled with gratitude.
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
We have decided to place our house on the market and would love if you’d help us spread the word. If you are wondering, we are not leaving Syracuse; we plan to be here for the long haul. Don’t worry.
We bought it 5 years ago completely flipped, so everything is basically brand new. Here is our little blip:
Lovely home completely renovated in last 5 years, new furnace, windows, roof, siding, kitchen and baths. Hardwood floors in most of home with open floor plan and high ceilings. Enclosed porch, computer area, first floor laundry.
It is listed for $112,900. Details can be found on
Below are many pictures of the house. Feel free to share this on Facebook or Twitter.
Front of the House
1st Floor Laundry
Half Bath on First Floor
Enclosed Porch (currently our girls’ play room)
Large, open Floor Plan with 9 ft ceilings
Sitting Room/Office Area
Master Bedroom with Walk-In Closet
Full Bathroom on Second Floor
Second Sunday of Advent
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to
preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our
Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.