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Advent Meditations: Thursday, December 13

By Charles Lane Cowen

Psalm 37:1–18, 37:19–42  •  Isaiah 7:1–19  •  Luke 22:1–13

The Psalmist reminds us today not to fret because of evildoers. I am writing this reflection in the shadow of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, and I shudder to think what more could happen between now and the publication of this reflection.

And yet over and over in holy scripture, God reminds us not to fear.

We see this lived out in Luke’s gospel. Although we are told that Judas will betray Jesus into the hands of his executioners, we enter into the Passover meal. Jesus and his followers celebrate a feast of life in the face of Jesus’ impending death.

When we enter into the liturgies, rituals, and scriptures of our church, we are reminded that for centuries, the people of God have faced atrocities. At a vigil for those killed in Pittsburgh, a rabbi said to us, “Religion does not provide answers.” He could not look to scripture to find out why atrocities happen. However, he said, scripture teaches us that God has never abandoned us and never will.

In the face of bondage in Egypt, God delivered the people. In the face of betrayal, Jesus celebrated that deliverance. In the face of the cross, Jesus defied death itself. This Advent, we reflect on the light coming into the world that seeks to destroy the darkness of violence.

O God, who delivered your people out of bondage in Egypt, deliver us from the sin of violence. Amen.

The Rev. Deacon Charles Lane Cowen, ’18
Associate Rector
Trinity Episcopal Parish, Wilmington, Delaware

Listen to Charles read his meditation and prayer:


The Rev. Charles Lane Cowen, associate rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, holds an MDiv from Seminary of the Southwest and a BA in Drama from the University of Dallas. Prior to seminary in Austin, he served as interim director of the Episcopal Charities Fund of Rhode Island, where he oversaw the development of new volunteer training programs and promotional materials. Charles spent over a decade as a professional theatre artist and storyteller, experience which he has incorporated into his passion for studying and teaching holy scripture. Charles’ biblical reflections have been published by the Episcopal Digital Network, Seminary of the Southwest, and Modern Metanoia, a lectionary-based blog for millennial church leaders. Charles is a passionate advocate for the arts and arts education, and he enjoys attending theatre, music, and dance performances.

The Advent Meditations and Prayers are a gift to our seminary community and are made possible through gifts to our Annual Fund. Seminary of the Southwest appreciates the support of its friends, alumni, and the communities around the world that its graduates serve for the glory of God. This support ensures that Southwest, as an institution made of individuals dedicated to service to God and their fellow members of the body of Christ, can continue doing its part to build the body of Christ.


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