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Spiritual Reflections

A voice for the voiceless

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Considering the level of respect with which widows are customarily treated in most contemporary cultures, it might be difficult for us to appreciate the difficult lot of widows in the ancient world. Ordinarily, in today's world, a widow is a woman whose husband has died; not having remarried, she is in possession of her husband's estate and inheritance. Even though she may continue to mourn her life partner, she is not legally defenseless, nor has she lost any degree of her social status.

Give them yourselves

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During the months of upheaval following the killing of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, protesters described their standoff with the authorities by chanting, "This is what democracy looks like!" Clergy and religious leaders added, "This is what theology looks like," as they marched or held street-side sit-downs.

Feast of God's love

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"The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity" -- the very title sounds so heady that we might wonder if our feet are supposed to touch the ground this weekend. But today's opening prayer in the liturgy simplifies the point of the celebration. That prayer addresses and praises God as the Father who so wanted to be known that Jesus became human. It recognizes God who so desires that we share divine life that the Spirit continues to lure us into union with one another and with God. This process is called "sanctification."

Becoming community

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We might think of Pentecost Sunday as something like the church's Fourth of July celebration. It's not just the attention-getting sound, the pyrotechnics and the excitement, but the here-comes-everybody reunion of a multinational crowd of folks who all heard a message and allowed themselves to get caught up in its power.

With and within us

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During that period of church history when believers found the interim between Jesus' advents stretching into months, then years, then decades, they knew they had to deal with the facts. The apostolic eyewitnesses to Jesus were already dead, or soon would be. The movement was growing beyond Judah and Samaria unto the "ends of the earth." Heresies and false teachers threatened the unity of the community and the integrity of the deposit of the faith.

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