December 20th Advent Devotional

House of Prayer

Daphne Grant Urban

Isaiah 56:3-8a

The eunuchs and the foreigners were outsiders in the midst of Israel.

Eunuchs were shown that the law against them was given in love. The foreigners were treated according to their attitude, not their birth. Both of these, for the eunuchs and the foreigners, show God’s love. And as long as they observe God’s Sabbath as the foundation of his covenant, they will all be allowed to join Israel and be accepted into God’s kingdom.

Lord, the truth is yours to give and ours to receive. Open our minds and our hearts to find and accept it, especially during this time of advent, as we prepare to celebrate God’s only son’s birth. Amen.

 

Daphne Urban is a student at Luther Seminary and an ELCA Supply Pastor in Bemidji, Minnesota

©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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December 19th News and Notes

Stockings for Seniors

Thank you for everyone who contributed to the senior stockings!  17 were delivered to the food pantry this morning!

Christmas Eve Service

We will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve at 7:00 with a Candlelight Nativity service.  A nursery will be available and we will have glow sticks for children and those uncomfortable with candles.

Adult Sunday School

We are gauging interest in an adult Sunday School.  If you are interested in participating and/or leading, please sign the sheet in the Narthex or sign up here.

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

De-Greening the Church

Please plan on staying after church on January 6th to remove the decorations from the sanctuary.

Annual Meeting and Chili/Dessert Cook-Off

Mark your calendars.  On January 28th, we will have our Annual Meeting and our Dessert and Chili cook-off to benefit the Mars Hill mission trip!

Two Week Outlook

Thursday, December 19th

  • Mens Night Out, 6:30 PM, Red Robin

Sunday, December 23rd

  • Worship, 10:00

Monday, December 24th

  • Candlelight Nativity Service, 7:00

Sunday, December 30th

  • Worship, 10:00, Le Quan Turner filling the pulpit

Looking Ahead

  • December 24th, Christmas Eve
  • December 25th, Christmas
  • January 6th, De-greening the Church
  • January 27th, Annual Meeting
  • April 27th, Christmas in April
  • July 7th-13th 2019, Mars Hill Mission trip
  • July 22nd-26th, Art & Music Camp

December 19th Advent Devotional

That’s good!

Catherine Diane King

Isaiah 55:1-7

 “Attend to Me and eat what is good;

enjoy the richest, most delectable of things.” – Isaiah 55:2b (The Voice)

This was the first Thanksgiving our daughter was away from home. She’s a conservation biologist working with sea turtles in Costa Rica. This year, her team of eight, her “family” in Costa Rica made their own tradition and cooked a thanksgiving dinner together. Each took a part of the meal and using local foods, incorporated family traditions with a Costa Rican twist: chicken, empanadas, pineapple stuffing, beans, peppers, potatoes and banana pie.

She sent us photos of the table and the joy on every face. And it was good! It was tov.

We first meet this Hebrew word tov in Genesis. At the end of each day’s work, with each new part of creation, God said good! Light, water, vegetation, sea creatures, birds, animals, humans – all tov –all endowed with purpose, sufficient, sustainable, just, complete, beautiful… whole.

Isaiah calls us to return to an ethic of tov: committing ourselves and our decisions to what is useful, beneficial and supportable for common well being… mindful of the impact of our choices on the whole… incorporating what everyone brings to the table… humans partnering with nature.

Our daughter’s team ate a delicious meal, and even more importantly, they are attending to the goodness of the earth as God created it to be.

Loving God of all that is good and right and true, this Advent season, may we consider what it means for each of us to be stewards of tov, living simply, purposefully, relationally and hospitably that all may be well. Amen.

 Rev. Cathi King is a pastor of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and serves First Presbyterian Church Tecumseh, Michigan.

©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

December 18th Advent Devotional

“We Are Healed”

Carrie Benton

Isaiah 53:1-6

 This passage in Isaiah opens in curiosity and wonder – a fitting attitude for the season of Advent. We look around at our world, at our country, at our lives and we wonder – what on earth is God up to? Isaiah gives us some clues. God is up to something unexpected, for sure; something we’ll probably not notice, not at first; something we might initially react with disgust at, or try to avoid or hide from.

It has to do with wounds – yours, mine, the world’s, God’s. “By his wounds we are healed.” God’s intention toward all of us, this whole created world, is goodness, healing and restoration. Wounds are meant to be healed. This is what God does through Jesus Christ.

Isaiah reveals that God has always been this way. In our pain and struggle, we often do not expect kindness, mercy or healing love. Yet, the holy nudge to anticipate healing in these moments comes from One who, through woundedness, through suffering, heals with great love.

In this season, Christ invites us to let our wounds co-mingle with Divine wounds. Can we trust that Christ will return to us with the gift of our wounds healed? Will we recognize our connection to so much beyond ourselves? What might it look like to participate in Christ’s incarnate healing encounters with the wounded realities of the world?

God of healing, help us to release our pain into your loving arms. We want to be part of what you are doing to heal the world through the wounds of Christ.

 

Carrie Benton is the pastor of the Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church in the mountains of western Montana.

©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

December 12th News and Notes

Children’s Christmas Program

Our children’s Christmas program will be this Sunday during worship!  The children (and many adults) have been working hard to present the birth of Christ in a new way!  Come and witness the wonder from a new point of view!

Stockings for Seniors

The Mission and Service committee has decided to provide stockings for Seniors, sponsored by the Bowie food pantry.
Your donations can be from a family or completed individually. Simply buy one stocking and fill it with your choice of items, ie, candy, toiletries, Pen and pad, word searches, etc.
Please leave them in the Narthex. They’ll be delivered on Wednesday December 19th.

Christmas Eve Service

We will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Eve at 7:00 with a Candlelight Nativity service.  A nursery will be available and we will have glow sticks for children and those uncomfortable with candles.

Christmas Eve Readers

We are looking for people to read in our Christmas Eve service.  If you are available and interested, please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com

Adult Sunday School

We are gauging interest in an adult Sunday School.  If you are interested in participating and/or leading, please sign the sheet in the Narthex or sign up here.

Christmas Eve Readers

We are looking for people to read in our Christmas Eve service.  If you are available and interested, please email ckdeacon@yahoo.com

Christmas Open House

The Deacon family is hosting a Christmas Open House at their home (12500 Rockledge Dr) on December 16th from 3:00-6:00.   We would love to celebrate the holidays with you. No need to bring anything, just come and celebrate with us!

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

Two Week Outlook

Saturday, December 15th

  • Christmas play practice, 9:30-12:30

Sunday, December 16th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Childrens’ Christmas Program

Wenesday, December 19th

  • Choir Practice, 7:30

Sunday, December 23rd

  • Worship, 10:00

Monday, December 24th

  • Candlelight Nativity Service, 7:00

Looking Ahead

  • December 16th, Kids Christmas program
  • December 25th, Christmas
  • January 6th, De-greening the Church
  • January 27th, Annual Meeting
  • April 27th, Christmas in April
  • July 7th-13th 2019, Mars Hill Mission trip
  • July 22nd-26th, Art & Music Camp

December 17th Advent Devotional

“Do Not Be Afraid”

Anne Knighten

Isaiah 43:1-7

God’s promised punishment had occurred: Jerusalem had been destroyed and the Israelites were in exile. In this dismal time, a prophet arose who wrote words of hope that God had not utterly rejected God’s people but would be their savior, bringing them out of exile and restoring Jerusalem. God continues to uphold God’s portion of the covenant even though God’s people have been unfaithful. God promises that from the east and the west, from all the places where the Israelites have been scattered, God will gather them together. To God, Israel is precious, honored, and loved. Because they are God’s people, God knows them and calls them by name. The assurance that God is always there, even during times of crises when hope seems lost, are comforting words in a time of chaos and despair.

Christians can see in this passage the concept of redemption that occurred due to Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. Because of sin, humanity deserved destruction and exile from God’s presence. Christ bore our sins and died in our place out of love for us, because we have been and continue to be precious, honored, and beloved in God’s sight. We should have no fear, for we know that God is with us.

Listen to “You Are Mine” by David Haas. Hear the words of comfort and promise that banish fear, for God loves you and calls you by name.

 Anne Knighten is a Senior in the MDiv-DL program at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She lives in Redlands, CA with her husband, Scott, and has two adult daughters, Jenn and Celeste.

©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

December 16th Advent Devotional

Called to Live Out

Cristine Warring

Isaiah 42:1-9

More than any other time of year, it is Advent and Christmas time that we hear the phrase “the incarnate Christ.” What if … in 2018, with Christ incarnate within us as Christians, this passage in Isaiah was directed at us? What would that look like?

Can it be possible, that we are truly chosen? Not to be favorites and not to be above anyone else – but for the purpose of living out the covenant among the nations as a light, pointing the way to God? Can we wrap our human heads around a divine summoning, a holy grasping, a cosmic creating, and a consecrated appointing?

Our tasks as consecrated ones are not easy. Teaching the way, without crying or shouting. Establishing the way across all the earth. Opening senses that cannot or will not sense the way. Freeing prisoners from chains and cells and bindings.

Sounds a lot like Jesus reading the scroll of Isaiah in Luke 4.

What if … Christmas carries a deeper message than Christ coming to save us?

For this puts all the work on Jesus and leaves us as voyeurs, rather than participants in God’s reconciling and healing work in the world. What if Christ came to save us from our sinful ways and for saving humanity?

Imagine the world today with Christians everywhere gently teaching the ways of Jesus. Carefully untying the bonds that hold people prisoner – with no bruising and no dimming of the divine light within. Imagine … Christ incarnate, within and around us, living out the covenant for the world.

As we prepare for your birth once more, O Christ, may we choose you in return. May our eyes be opened to the spaces between us where you reside. May we together share God’s dream of fulfilled covenant with the world. Amen.

Cristine Warring is the pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – Girard in rural southeast Kansas.

©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.