Scripture for Thanksgiving
Today’s readings reflect two of the strains that go into the celebration of a national day of thanksgiving: gratitude for abundant harvest (Joel) and civic prayer for a peaceable common life (1 Timothy). The core meaning of Thanksgiving for many of us—a home feast for extended family and friends—is not reflected in the readings; but it is reflected weekly in the church’s meal of thanksgiving (eucharist). What we wish for both these thanksgiving meals is that they will go deeper than celebration of one another and our own blessings, to recognize in our true Host one who wants everyone brought to the table.
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God our Father, your generous goodness comes to us new every day. By the work of your Spirit lead us to acknowledge your goodness, give thanks for your benefits, and serve you in willing obedience, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
21Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! 22Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 23O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. 24The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you. 26You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
1When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream. 2Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”3The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed. 4Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses of the Negeb. 5Those who sowed with tears will reap with songs of joy. 6Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.
1 Timothy 2:1-7
1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6who gave himself a ransom for all —this was attested at the right time.7For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Matthew 6:25-33[Jesus said,] 25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Theme for the Season of Pentecost (Autumn/November)
There is hope in God’s kingdom; put your faith in Him
As the weather changes, as the seasons change, so do the seasons of the church. While the church is still in the season of Pentecost, our focus shifts from Jesus as the bread for our journey to hope and faith.
Throughout the long season of Pentecost, we have recognized Jesus Christ as bread for our journey, and prayed for God’s help as we walk in faith. The journey of faith continues throughout each of our lives.
We are connected as members of the body of Christ, the church, which is part of the manifestation of the kingdom of God right here and right now. God promises to meet our needs and give us hope, even as we seek out ways to extend that hope and love to our neighbors.
The perfect love of God is our example. Let us continue our journey of faith together, and love our neighbors as we are exhorted to do. As we place our faith in God, we are filled with God’s grace, hope and love. May the Holy Spirit guide our path through all the changing seasons of our lives.
Scripture for November 28, 2021 – First Sunday of Advent
Advent is about the “coming days.” God’s people have always lived in great expectation, but that expectation finds specific, repeated enunciation in the texts appointed for these four weeks. The ancients anticipated a “righteous Branch to spring up for David.” The Thessalonians awaited “the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints.” Jesus’ contemporaries hoped for the time “to stand before the Son of Man.” With them we eagerly await the coming days: another Christmas celebration, a second coming, and the advent of Christ in word and supper.
Prayer of the Day
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
14The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
1To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2My God, I put my trust in you; let me not be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3Let none who look to you be put to shame; rather let those be put to shame who are treacherous. 4Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths.5Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long. 6Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting.7Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; remember me according to your steadfast love and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord. 8You are gracious and upright, O Lord; therefore you teach sinners in your way. 9You lead the lowly in justice and teach the lowly your way. 10All your paths, O Lord, are steadfast love and faithfulness to those who keep your covenant and your testimonies.
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. 11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Luke 21:25-36[Jesus said:] 25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 29Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 34“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap.
For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be 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.”
Theme for the Season of Advent/Christmas
Your Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
As a new liturgical year begins with the season of Advent, we are surrounded by lights. Each year, it seems like Christmas decorations and light displays show up earlier in our neighborhoods. Candles, stars, and cozy fireplaces all take on special meanings at this time of year.
As we journey through the season of Advent, we can see how the smallest light, even the promise of light, shines brightest when the darkness surrounds us. We prepare our hearts and our homes for the coming Light of the World, the promised Savior and King. We look forward, not only to the coming Christmas celebrations, but to the arrival of the long-awaited King of Kings. We ask God to help us prepare the way for God’s Kingdom on earth.
When Christmas arrives, Jesus, the Light of the World, shines brightly over our lives and within our hearts. The light of God is within every person, and we are at our best when we find God’s light within one another and shine that light for others. Kindness, peace, and grace wash over us like the light of the Morning Star. When we share the light of Christ with others, our own light grows no dimmer, but God’s light shines all the brighter in our world.