Preparing for Dec. 17, 2017, Third Sunday of Advent

12-17-2017 Welcome

  Story: Isaiah 55:1-12 (p. 671-2, Pew Bible)

Theme: Word of Welcome

 Title:  “A New Shape for the World”

Reflection: Isaiah – Joy

“There is something very contemporary here especially as the world moves ever more towards a politics of fear and anxiety. It is a mark of most political campaigns today that a party will offer fear as the alternative to their own manifesto. It reduces people down to consumers who are simply led by unease and worry. A covenantal community rises above that. God’s community offers the love of neighbor that is unconditional, with welcome and justice for all people. It is a choice to make and this Advent we are offered that choice again to live towards the covenantal community which Isaiah so readily longs for these own people to remember and return to. The alternative is to continue to become consumers in the Babylonian Empire as if it is the only way. “It isn’t the only way!” says Isaiah. The Babylonians offer a form of governance which is fairly close to the way empire is still built in our own age: of superpowers playing chess with folk for what seems at times like solely the gain of the powerful, with ethics becoming very grey and confused. In stark contrast stands God’s covenantal community and Isaiah is our lead person in proclaiming a return to it. Its purpose is more than just about ourselves. This covenantal way is not the way of empire, which is about building something for ourselves off the backs of others, but instead living towards those others: neighbors, foreigners, the poor, in fact, all the characters the nativity story represents. There is Isaiah’s call in story form: the covenant of love made real in the world. Then and now, we are being called back. Advent is God’s invitation to live the alternative to the empire building way of shaping our world.” (Spill the Beans, Volume 25)

Music We Will Sing:

*HYMN (verse 3, Insert)   “Advent Song”  (LIGHT THE ADVENT CANDLE)

*HYMN #356   “The Days Are Surely Coming”            (LLANGLOFFAN)

*HYMN #611   “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”    (HYMN TO JOY)

 

Preparing for December 10, 2017, Second Sunday of Advent

 

 12-10-2017 Ezekiel Transformational Breath

 Story:    Ezekiel 37:1-14      (p. 791, Pew Bible)

Theme: Word of Life

Title:     “A Transformational Breath”

Reflection: Ezekiel – Peace

“The season of Advent reflects the image and understanding of God who can, and did, take what was forlorn and decrepit and breathed new life into it. The clarion call of the prophets, familiar during the season of Advent, was that God’s creation had become a place that was ‘dead’ to God’s ways. Humanity had traveled off course, had diverted far from what mattered, and had traveled so far down this road that there was no turning back without the intervention of God. The prophet voices called for a change; they called for God to take what had withered, turned sour and was on its way to death, and breathe new life into it, in order that collectively humanity would raise itself, return to God, and thrive. We can see in the Incarnation the power of God at work; changing things through love. God came as new life, and in the new life of Jesus, a process was started that continued through the unfolding events of his childhood, his ministry, death, and resurrection, towards the consummation of new life offered by God. God provided a new gospel and command to love. The Holy Spirit was energized to breathe life into what was lifeless and into something teeming with the goodness of God. In this season of Advent, how do we reflect this new life? It is not enough just to dig out the boxes of decorations and hang them as they have been hung in our churches and homes for years. The traditions of the season have their place, yet if the same old, same old is all there is to the season, we are falling far short of what God needs of us today. This season is about mixing all that we have at our disposal – the old hangings, the familiar carols, the parties and social events – with the opportunity to be influenced by the reminders of new life in God, which are offered in the Advent stories we hear in church, and ponder in our own time. The season is about the life that God brings to us and to the world: a life that is transformed and transforming.” (Spill the Beans, Volume 25)

 

Music We Will Sing:

*HYMN (verse 2, Insert)       “Advent Song”  (LIGHT THE ADVENT CANDLE)

*HYMN #82             “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” (HYFRYDOL)

*HYMN #108         “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”         (DIVINUM MYSTERIUM)

 

Preparing for Dec. 3, 2017, First Sunday of Advent

12-3-2017 Daniel - Fiery Furnace 

We will serve Holy Communion today

Story:    Daniel 3:1, 8-30      (p. 807-8, Pew Bible)

Theme: A Word of Warning

Title:     Advent Contrasts

Reflection: Daniel – Hope

“While the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is a departure from the usual Advent message of light breaking into darkness and the typical themes of the Sundays of Advent – hope, peace, joy, and love – we will likely know by now that the Advent season in the church often surprises us for what it is not, nor can ever be. Should Advent solely be about the joy of impending Christmas celebrations and a concentration on the happy themes of how blessed we are? The very fact that these traditional Advent themes feel so appropriate and needed in our life and world – past or present – is because they contrast with the direct opposite. Light is not so big a deal if we have no experience of darkness; hope is life-giving and transforming because it replaces despair; peace is what we long for when the experience of warfare, terror or personal struggle drains life of what it is meant to contain; joy feels so good because we know how much of a struggle it is when it is not present or when other things in life make it elusive; and the experience of love feels so good and right because when it is absent it feels like a huge hole exists in our very being. Advent is a season of promise because of the contrast unveiled between one existence and another, between one outlook and another.” (Spill the Beans, Volume 25)

Let us enter this Advent season together.

Music We Will Sing:

          *HYMN (verse 1, Insert)       “Advent Song”  (LIGHT THE ADVENT CANDLE)

          *HYMN #88 (vs. 1-4)     “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”   (VENI EMMANUEL)

          *HYMN #516                  “For the Bread Which You Have Broken”         (KINGDOM)