Zealous hopes

Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-20

I learned something about what is possible at St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota, just after morning prayer. I had told another resident of the Ecumenical Institute that the monks had begun 1 Corinthians, in case she wanted an opportunity to hear the letter read aloud. Her doctoral thesis had been on a passage from the epistle, and she was in the process of turning it into a book. This text had engaged her for more than ten years. She had made a pilgrimage to Corinth and knew Paul’s words in Greek, in German and in many English translations. But as she listened in the abbey church, something caught her attention that she had never noticed before. It was a revelation that left her gasping for breath, and I believe she left the church that morning amazed, not a little discomfited, and above all grateful to have been granted a new sense of the Bible’s power.


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