Category Archives: Worship & the Seasons

Theme for the Advent season

Advent is a time of hope-filled expectation and a time of diligent preparation. We know that God is coming to us in the birth of Jesus. Salvation is near. Light *is* coming.

Are we ready? How do we prepare for something like this? How do we tend to our own light as we await the Light of the World?

This Advent season we are encouraged to slow down and to be patient while diligently preparing for the coming of Christ. In our frenzy-paced and instant gratification fueled world, these messages may seem incredibly out of place. Our busyness prevents us from slowing down and the chaos and suffering we see and experience in the world make waiting a painful and frustrating process.

Our need for the Light is immediate and our longing for God’s peace and salvation is so great that it is natural to be anxious. In these most desperate and need-filled moments, despite the frenzy and anxiety and fear, we are encouraged to quiet our hearts and minds and trust in God’s promise.

This Advent, may we together be patiently preparing for the birth of Christ in our lives and birth of Light in the world. May we breathe deep and pray often. May we let go of the things that bind us and attempt to distance us from God. May we free our minds from the doubt and guilt that cloud our judgment. May we serve those in need and share God’s Word. And – may we shine our light for others to see as we await the Light of Christ.

 

Advent

December 3 – First Sunday of Advent
So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Corinthians 1:3-9

The new church year begins with a season of waiting. Paul’s words to the church in Corinth is a reminder to us today. As a community of faith- a whole-you are not lacking any spiritual gift. While you wait, it is time to see what ways the gifts of the whole body of Christ can be used to share the good news. 

December 10 – Second Sunday of Advent
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. ~Isaiah 40:3-4

What is in the way of your path to God? Is it other little gods like money, material items, or distractions? The call is to clear these obstacles from our path and simplify. Think of how straight and smooth your life might be when God is given top priority and the obstacles put into proper perspective. 

December 17- Third Sunday of Advent
He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. ~John 1:7-8

As Christians we work to make sure that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Our Christmas cards and decorations provide a witness to our faith. How can we continue this same witness the rest of the year? How do we steward the good news in the off-season?

Theme for the Advent season

Advent is a time of hope-filled expectation and a time of diligent preparation. We know that God is coming to us in the birth of Jesus. Salvation is near. Light *is* coming.

Are we ready? How do we prepare for something like this? How do we tend to our own light as we await the Light of the World?

This Advent season we are encouraged to slow down and to be patient while diligently preparing for the coming of Christ. In our frenzy-paced and instant gratification fueled world, these messages may seem incredibly out of place. Our busyness prevents us from slowing down and the chaos and suffering we see and experience in the world make waiting a painful and frustrating process.

Our need for the Light is immediate and our longing for God’s peace and salvation is so great that it is natural to be anxious. In these most desperate and need-filled moments, despite the frenzy and anxiety and fear, we are encouraged to quiet our hearts and minds and trust in God’s promise.

This Advent, may we together be patiently preparing for the birth of Christ in our lives and birth of Light in the world. May we breathe deep and pray often. May we let go of the things that bind us and attempt to distance us from God. May we free our minds from the doubt and guilt that cloud our judgment. May we serve those in need and share God’s Word. And – may we shine our light for others to see as we await the Light of Christ.

Word for the Week and Advent Theme

Word for the Week

Sunday, December 3, 2017 First Sunday of Advent Introduction

Stir up your power, and come! The psalmist’s plea in Psalm 80:2 has become familiar to us in the Advent prayers. Isaiah wants God to rip the heavens open. Both cry out for an apparently distant, angry God to show up, to save, to restore. When we hear Jesus describing the coming of the Son of Man with stars falling from heaven, it can sound dire and horrible, not like anything we would ever hope for. But when we really look at the suffering of people God loves, we can share the hope that God would tear open the heavens and come.

Prayer of the Day

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection awaken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9

This lament comes from a people who have had their hopes shattered. The visions of a rebuilt Jerusalem and a renewed people of God, spoken of in Isaiah 40–55, have not been realized. Instead, the people experience ruin, conflict, and famine. This lament calls God to account—to be the God who has brought deliverance in the past.

Psalm: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved. (Ps. 80:7)

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

As the Christians in Corinth await the advent of Jesus, Paul reminds them how the Lord has already enriched them through spiritual gifts and will continue to strengthen them until the coming day of the Lord.

Gospel: Mark 13:24-37

In today’s reading, Jesus encourages his followers to look forward to the day when he returns in power and glory to end all suffering.

 

Theme for the Advent season

Advent is a time of hope-filled expectation and a time of diligent preparation. We know that God is coming to us in the birth of Jesus. Salvation is near. Light *is* coming.

Are we ready? How do we prepare for something like this? How do we tend to our own light as we await the Light of the World?

This Advent season we are encouraged to slow down and to be patient while diligently preparing for the coming of Christ. In our frenzy-paced and instant gratification fueled world, these messages may seem incredibly out of place. Our busyness prevents us from slowing down and the chaos and suffering we see and experience in the world make waiting a painful and frustrating process.

Our need for the Light is immediate and our longing for God’s peace and salvation is so great that it is natural to be anxious. In these most desperate and need-filled moments, despite the frenzy and anxiety and fear, we are encouraged to quiet our hearts and minds and trust in God’s promise.

This Advent, may we together be patiently preparing for the birth of Christ in our lives and birth of Light in the world. May we breathe deep and pray often. May we let go of the things that bind us and attempt to distance us from God. May we free our minds from the doubt and guilt that cloud our judgment. May we serve those in need and share God’s Word. And – may we shine our light for others to see as we await the Light of Christ.

Theme for the Pentecost season (Autumn)

Be still

We live in a world constantly vying for our attention. Loud and insistent mixed messages attempt to convince us where our focus should be, who we should pay attention to, and how we should utilize our energy and resources. We are inundated with noise as our multitasking world screams for us to keep going – keep doing – keep moving.  In the process of juggling these worldly demands, we can find ourselves off balance, confused, and at times wandering aimlessly.

The remainder of this Pentecost season we are encouraged to “be still”. While this goes against everything the world tells us to do, we are encouraged to listen past the noise to hear what truly is important: God’s purpose and path for our lives.
Turn us

There are so many different directions we are pulled every day, and we can find ourselves lost on shaky ground. God remains our sure and steady foundation.

Holy God, as we wander and stray on our own – turn us towards You.
Refocus us

Jesus sets his eyes on the cross with unwavering focus. He knows where he is headed, what he has to do, and refuses to be led astray by an easier path. We too have a path before us, and we are called to follow Jesus’ example.

Holy God, as we are drawn to other priorities – refocus our eyes on You.

Reform us

Every day is an opportunity to begin new, better than we were the day before. As we were formed from the clay of the earth, each day we are molded and shaped by God’s loving hands.

As we are shaped by the world around us – reform us into Your people.
Again and Again

We do not walk alone – every day God is with us, and every day He continues to lead, guide, and teach us to live as He intends. Our personal journeys may be different, but our destination is the same: to share God’s love with a sick and hurting world, to heal and comfort God’s people in our midst, to praise God for the abundance he provides, and to pray without ceasing.

Holy God, this is our prayer: Turn Us, Refocus Us, Reform Us … Again and Again