Category: Christmas

Timmy Trumpet

Before this past summer, I had never heard of the Australian trumpet player Timothy Jude Smith, whose nickname is Timmy Trumpet.

Then a recording of his song “Narco” was selected by relief pitcher Edmund Diaz of the Mets as his walk-in song to be played each time he came into a game.

Soon this trumpeted entrance serenade went viral.

In response, the Mets summoned Timmy Trumpet to play his intro live at Citi field during a Mets versus Dodgers game. Timmy went from never having seen a live baseball game to being all over the New York media.

I was surprised how moved I got from watching clips like this one.

I mean, it’s only a rock trumpeter tooting! But then I realized it’s a kind of parable of our Christian experience.

Before, Timmy was completely unknown to the average Met fan. But at just the right time, Timmy Trumpet got called into the New York spotlight. Similarly, for a long time God was unknown to me. But then at the right time when I was 24 God suddenly called me and I saw who he was. Indeed, He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11a)

Incidentally, there are many verses about trumpets in the Bible. One of my favorites is
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24: 31) 

As we enter the advent season, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The gathering of his elect is for all who acknowledge Jesus for who he is and what he did. The invisible almighty God really did appear as a baby. I like to invite people to hear God’s call. Are you listening?

Weird or Welcoming?

 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:18-19)

Are we feasters or fasters?

John is John the Baptist. He exercised a strict self-control and people mocked him. And Jesus (the Son of Man) enjoyed a good party and was falsely accused of being a drunk who liked to pig out.

In what ways are today’s Christians like John the Baptist? There are several ways we seem to be weird and strict in today’s culture. First, as we rely on guidelines from the Bible, we’re falsely accused of being puritanical, tyrannical, and narrow-minded.

Another way we seem a little weird…. who ever heard of fasting nowadays? (Especially when it’s not even part of a health food craze!) One day a bunch of us were fasting because we wanted to pray for God’s blessing on the church as we entered the fall activities for 2021.

And finally, we have a cross in our church sanctuary. Yes, it is weird to rely on the sacrifice of a Jewish carpenter on a cross two thousand years ago. But life today too often leads to people being angry, depressed, alienated and lonely. The weirdness of the cross propels us into a love that ends up in feasting.

This Christmas week our church1 had our second outdoor Christmas Village with joyous music and delicious goodies…. as representatives of Jesus, we were joyfully eating the best German bratwurst, drinking hot cider, and crunching fresh-made kettle corn. We welcomed anyone from town who wanted to join in. So, in answer to today’s title question: Both these things are true — we are both weird and welcoming!


The God who made these cliffs cares for you ! 

In Psalm 65:6 the Psalmist tells God “you are the one who formed the mountains by your power.”

Reading this recently, I thought of the Palisades of the Hudson River. I grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey where the Palisades, at the eastern edge of our town, are the most dramatic natural feature.

Earth scientists tell us that amazing geological shifts formed the Palisades. Regardless of exactly how and when these changes occurred, I know they show the outworking of God’s might.

Isaac Watt captures that might in his hymn I sing the mighty pow’r of God:

I sing the mighty pow’r of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

Yet this sweeping and majestic powerful God of the universe is not hands-off and remote:

You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.

Our mountain-forming God provides food and harvests and gives us our daily bread. It is easy to lose sight of that truth in this day of high-tech agriculture on far away farms. But why does agrobusiness even work? It’s still due to God’s power.

 And this God who created the mountains and provides our food is a personal God who answers prayer and takes care of our sin problem!

You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
    you forgave our transgressions
. (Psalm65:2,3)

 Best of all is how he invites us to live under his care: 

 Blessed are those you choose
    and bring near to live in your courts!
(Psalm 65:4)

What a privilege to be invited to live as one of God’s people! Yes, this mighty God who made the Palisades is the same God who walks with us and talks with us and dwells with us in the person of Jesus.

                                Merry Christmas !