Technology Truly Can Bring Us Together

For several weeks now, our worship services have been “broadcast” live on the church’s Facebook page.  Folks out of town (and even out of the country!) have been ably to join us in real time or catch up later. 


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Rejoice in the Lord always

Philippians 4:4-7 (Isaiah 12:2-6, Luke 3:7-18)

Gaudete Sunday, that bright spot in the somewhat penitential season of Advent, is here! Marked by the joyful color of pink (in churches where the third candle and chasuble change for the day), this is a day of rejoicing:

Gaudete in Domino semper/Rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4)


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If

Last Sunday, I preached on Luke 21:25-36, yet spoke of Psalm 46:2-3 as being at the heart of the Gospel text:

Therefore we will not fear.  This is the meaning of Jesus admonition in Luke’s Gospel: “Stand up and raise your heads.”  This is the language of faith as trusting in God’s promises made in Christ Jesus.  Even if the Cosmos and the earth (all of Creation) is in chaos, the believer is not to succumb to the fears and doubts that surround them.  Apopsuchó literally means to stop breathing out of fear – so this is fear of the highest order!  Rather:  Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).

I ended the sermon by reading the poem If, by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).  Several folks have asked me to share that poem in writing – and here it is:

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A New Meaning

 

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 40:3-5.)

In this text, Isaiah tells the exiled people of God not to lose hope. Though they are in the “wilderness” of exile in Babylon, God is their comfort. Their exile will be over soon, and a new exodus will begin; and again, God will lead them home.


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“Where’s the pastor?”

It’s been a little over a year since I last shared this information, so this reminder is a wee bit overdue:

My office hours are Monday-Thursday, 9:00am-1:45pm.

Friday is my day off.

Saturday is a day of sermon finalization, preparation for Sunday worship, and attention to anything that was missed during the week.


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Who, and what, are coming?

Luke 21:25-36 (Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:1-10)

So, here we are at the beginning of a season leading up to Christmas, and the coming of the Christ Child. The word advent comes from the Latin ad-venire, which means “to come to.” But, the season begins with a very particular “coming” – not the incarnation (God coming to us in human flesh in the baby Jesus); and not the coming of Jesus into our hearts of which Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) wrote. This coming is the Second Coming, at the “end” – a coming that is theologically described as the Parousia (Parousia is the Greek translation of advent).


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