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Topic Features About Bedlam

The Rev. Dr. Michael Brown

Peace Amid Bedlam

Philippians 4:4-7

3rd Sunday of Advent - Year C

December 13, 2015

The Rev. Dr. Michael Brown (other)

Many years ago, when the late Dr. James Cleland was Dean of the Chapel at Duke University, he preached a sermon entitled "Bedlam in Bethlehem."  You have to wonder, how could there ever have been anything even approaching bedlam in a sleepy little out-of-the-way community like Bethlehem? Jerusalem, yes. That was the big city. The capital. The center of politics, finance, and religion. I live in New York City. It bustles with activity all the time...from the good activities of tourism and Broadway and Madison Square Garden to the occasionally frightening activities associated with sirens and violence, with social injustice and discontent. Every December, our streets are seas of humanity, with visitors from all over America and all over the world, inching their ways down 5th Avenue and Madison, standing in mass outside the windows at Bloomingdales or Lord and Taylor's or before the tree at Rockefeller Center. Simply walking outside my office in Manhattan in December, I experience an ancient Jerusalem kind of moment--a busy, vital city teeming with people and all the hustle bustle movement and electricity in the air. But Bethlehem, as Micah put it, was "small among the clans of Judah." It was more Mayberry than Manhattan. Not many people in Bethlehem--and not much mischief to get into.

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