Monday, November 25, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

via Google Images

December 1, 2013 marks the beginning of Advent; the beginning of the new church year. 
Prior to Sunday take time to read Isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 24:36-44. As you likely know already, throughout Advent I will be preaching a sermon series guided by Scripture and Bonnie Thurston's book, To Everything a Season. 

In preparation for worship, consider the following: 
  1. How do I think of "time"? 
  2. How do I live in a world in which there never seems to be enough time?
  3. "Children view time differently." How might you respond to this statement?
Spend some time pondering the following prayer written by Kate McIlhagga:

Pregnant with hope
Now is a time of watching and waiting
a time pregnant with hope
a time to watch and pray.

Christ our advent hope,
bare brown trees,
etched dark across a winter sky,
leaves fallen, rustling,
ground hard and cold,
remind us to prepare for your coming;
remind us to prepare for the time
when the soles of your feet will touch the ground,
when you will become one of us
to be at one with us.

May we watch for the signs,
listen for the messenger,
wait for the good news to slip
into our worlds, our lives.
Christ our advent hope,
help us to clear the way for you;
to clear the clutter from our minds,
to sift the silt from our hearts,
to move the boulders that prevent us meeting you.

Help us to make straight the highways,
to unravel the deception that leads to war,
to release those in captivity.
May sorrow take flight,
and your people sing a song of peace
and hope be born again.

As always, I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday. In the meantime, I pray you have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Advent,

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

This Sunday, November 24, we will gather to celebrate the end of the Christian calendar year. You might think of it as a New Year's Eve celebration (minus the confetti). Through Scripture and music, we will re-tell the story that guides our lives. We will remember the birth of Jesus, his life and ministry, and his death, resurrection and ascension. Also, we will remember the promise that Christ will one day return in victory to reign over all creation.

Make plans to join us, along with your friends and loved ones. Let us gather and rejoice in the glory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; for in Christ all things began, and in Christ, all things will be fulfilled.

May the following poem by Ian M. Fraser help prepare you for our time of worship:

No place
No place had you to lay your head
O Christ whom we call King of Kings;
you came to share the painful lot
of all the homeless, life's foundlings.
You had no home to call your own
though earth's your footstool, heaven your throne.
At last, through wood and nails, you found
a home, spread-eagled on the cross,
where all could see the face of God
made one with human pain and loss;
and hear God's call, and find God grants
to each a niche of relevance.
Lord, make us restless till we rest
in your good will for humankind
that, while the birds have each a nest
and foxes holes, we learn your mind
that all your cherished human race
may claim a sheltered dwelling place.

May the Lord bless you and those you love.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

via Google Images

Scripture readings for this Sunday, November 17th, include Isaiah 12:1-6 and Luke 21:5-19.  First, read the passage from Isaiah and consider the following:
  1. What is the overall tone of the text?
  2. What is the reason for thanksgiving and praise?
  3. From verse 4, what will "you say?"
via Google Images
Now turn to the Gospel of Luke. After reading the text, ponder these things:  
  1. What is the overall tone of this writing?
  2. There are those who are quite impressed with the grandeur of the temple. Is Jesus equally impressed?
  3. Concerning when the temple will be destroyed, what does Jesus say?
  4. In the NIV, verse 13 reads, "This will result in your being witnesses to them," while the NRSV puts it this way, "This will give you an opportunity to testify." 
  5. Think for a moment about your faith journey. In general, how comfortable are you with "witnessing" or "testifying"? How have you come to this perspective?
Finally, Lectionary readings are usually paired together for a reason. As you reflect on these two readings, one from the prophet Isaiah and one from Luke's gospel, do you see commonalities? If so, what are they?

As always, I look forward to joining you in worship this Sunday.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Blogging toward Sunday

Via Google Images

In preparation for worship on November 10th, read Psalm 98. "O sing to the Lord," the psalmist proclaims. What shall we sing to the Lord? A new song. Why should we sing such a song? Because Yahweh has done marvelous things.

Recent sermons have addressed the benefits of gratitude, both spiritually and physically. As you journey toward Sunday, I challenge you to take time each day to make a list of 5 things for which you are grateful. (Think of it as a way to get a head-start on Thanksgiving preparations, if you will.) 

via Google Images
In addition, if you so desire, write a prayer to God, a "new song,"  so that you may join all creation to make a joyful noise to the Lord.

As always, I look forward to our time of worship. Come, let us sing to the Lord!