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Psalm 146, 147; Isaiah 1: 1-9; Matthew 25: 1-13

Today, as we begin the Advent journey, our scriptures call us to listen and stay awake. Isaiah evokes the image of children estranged from their parent, rebelling against their upbringing. The image is as contemporary as it is timeless.

The very wisdom the parent tries to impart is rejected and so the child wanders into foolishness. At a young age such foolishness usually produces child-sized rebellions—homework is left undone or chores are left unattended.

The consequences are likewise child-sized: poor grades on an assignment or extra household duties. But at an older age those who foolishly ignore the wisdom of others often pay a high price for foolishness—they lose their jobs, they fail to maintain relationships, and they often blame others for their plight. Like the children of Israel, and like the wise and foolish bridesmaids, we have a choice set before us. The wisdom of God is the path of life, the road to flourishing. As Advent begins, may we commit ourselves to listen, to stay awake, and to tame that inner rebellious voice that avoids the very disciplines that prepare us to receive the gift that awaits.

Holy God, who sets before us the path of life,
awaken us to your wisdom and strengthen us
to prepare for the gifts you offer. Amen.


Dr. Scott Bader-Saye
Academic Dean
Helen and Everett H. Jones Professor of
Christian Ethics and Moral Theology
Seminary of the Southwest








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Scott Bader-Saye serves as academic dean and holds the Helen and Everett H. Jones Chair in Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest. He joined the faculty in 2009 after teaching for twelve years at the University of Scranton, a Jesuit university in Scranton, PA. His academic interests include political theology, sexual ethics, ecology/economy, and Jewish/Christian/Muslim dialogue. His publications include two books, Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear and Church and Israel After Christendom. He has contributed chapters to The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics and The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels, as well as having publishing articles in journals such as The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Modern Theology, Studies in Christian Ethics, Pro Ecclesia, Cross Currents and Christian Century. He helped found and lead Peacemeal, a missional Episcopal community in Scranton, PA, served on the Episcopal Church Executive Council Economic Justice Loan Committee, currently serves on the Gathering of Leaders Steering Committee, and is active as a teacher and parishioner at St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church, a mission in northwest Austin.

A.B., Davidson College. MDiv, Yale Divinity School. Ph.D., Duke University

Audio of Dr. Bader-Saye's plenary on Bonds of Affection: The Transformational Possibilities of a Platitude presented at the Diocese of Texas' The Conference, May 2014.