Readings for the Fourth Sunday in AdventIsaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25 The readings for the fourth Sunday of Advent help me put my feelings about Christmas in perspective. It’s almost a cliché to say that the “most wonderful time of the year” is anything but for some of us. Ho hum,
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One of the activities I love this time of year is the chance to worship midweek, in the evening on Wednesdays. I greatly enjoy Advent worship whatever form it may take, but I do love Holden Evening Prayer often done in numerous Lutheran churches across the country. This is a service I had never participated
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42) How I think about “church” has changed dramatically over the years. My earliest impression, formed at a Swedish Lutheran church in Portland, OR, was that church was an ‘activity’ one attended, like going to a movie
What are we preparing for?What are we waiting for?Second Sunday of Advent – December 4, 2022Isaiah 11:1-10Matthew 3:1-12 Let’s start with Isaiah. The time of this writing is supposed to be about 740 BCE. A time when there were constant threats from neighboring Assyria. The Isaiah text speaks of a person who will come to
Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!(Luke 1:28 NLT) What would you do if an angel suddenly appeared before you with a message from God? (Luke 1:26-38) Then he disappears just as suddenly and you are left with your own imagination. Emotions flood over you – excitement, joy,
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (Luke 2:4-5) They
I’ve never been someone who is good at waiting. Actually, I’m a pretty impatient person and often prone to worry. That said, I grew up in Colorado in a family that enjoyed skiing. We skied as much as we could. My mom belonged to a ski club that went up to the mountains twice a week during ski season. She would leave early in the morning and usually return in the early evening and that’s what I expected.
I remember a time when I was in high school, on a ski day for mom, that snow started falling at home in Denver about mid-day. It was one of those storms where it seemed that the sky just opened up like a feather pillow had been ripped in a pillow fight. The snowflakes came down fast and furious.
It didn’t take long for the snow to begin piling up in the streets. Almost always when it was snowing in town it was snowing in the mountains – probably worse. So, already I was beginning to get a little worried. At 5:00 it was dark and the snow was still falling hard. At 6:00 there was no sign of the snow letting up and there was no sign of mom coming home.
The family room and my bedroom were in the basement of the house, but I stayed upstairs waiting – looking out the window – hoping mom would be home soon. 6:00 turned into 6:30 and then 7:00. Still no sign. There were no phone calls (we didn’t have cell phones then), no news to let me know if everything was alright. I was beginning to get frantic. I paced the floor. I sat in front of the window. With every set of headlights that came down the street I hoped it would be mom. I paced the floor some more. Finally, at 7:30 or 8:00 she arrived. Exhausted from a long day, but perfectly fine. I was relieved.
The experience of two or three hours of passive waiting was almost more than I could bear. In the meantime, my homework didn’t get done nor did dinner get prepared – which might have been a nice thing since mom was indeed a couple hours late and neither one of us had eaten. I learned that day, and still continue to learn, that passive waiting can be depressing, immobilizing, and anxiety producing – and it rarely accomplishes much.
As the Church, we have just entered into Advent, a season of waiting and preparing. We wait with Mary and Joseph for the birth of Emmanuel – God with us. At the behest of John the Baptist, we prepare for the arrival of the Messiah through our repentance – our change of heart, a change of direction so that we might become even more Christ-like for our neighbors in our community and the world. At the same time, we wait AND prepare. To me, it implies that our waiting is not passive – like my anxious waiting in front of a window for hours – but rather, active.
About Advent, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Our whole life is advent – that is waiting until the end. Waiting for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when all men will be brothers and will rejoice in the angels’ song, ‘peace on earth and good will to men.’ Learn how to wait! For he has promised that he will come: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’. And we call to him, ‘Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus. ”
“Learn how to wait.” How will we make our waiting active, faithful, fruitful, life changing in Jesus’ name for the sake of the world?
Tis the season to focus on gratitude and giving thanks. Much has been written about both and each are magnified in the month of November. I would be curious to see a study about how often the word gratitude is used in given year. I am sure its use is doubled, if not tripled, in
A Four-part Study on Matthew Presented in two-2 hour Zoom sessions Advent begins November 27 and that means we’ll be hearing a new gospel read on Sundays in our worship services. If your church uses the Revised Common Lectionary, 39 out of the next 52 Sundays will feature a reading from Matthew’s Gospel This is a four-part
Nov. 12, I attended a Boise Philharmonic concert at the Morrison Center for the first time in a long time. A friend of mine who teaches piano lessons and accompanies at a local church really wanted to attend the concert because of the guest pianist: Fei Fei. We ended up going early to hear the
November 20, 2022 Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 46 (10) Colossians 1:11-20 Luke 23:33-43 We are arriving at the end of the church liturgical year. What follows is the beginning of Advent and the start of the next year. I wish to look at the person we call Jesus and the people who call him king. In
“What are humans that you are mindful of them,mortals that you care for them?Yet you have made them a little lower than Godand crowned them with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5). Can we talk about . . . body image? One of my goals this year was to become more accepting of people who are
I enjoyed Halloween this year. I started the evening with a large supply of candy, and ended it with an empty bowl. I ran out of candy just before the trick-or-treaters stopped coming, and had to pass out small bags of chips to the last few children. It was actually exciting to run out of
We are now late in the church year and are rapidly moving toward Advent. It seems that by late October and all of November we cannot fit in all the last of the special days, feast days and loose ends of the larger church calendar before we begin anew with Advent. We have two celebrations
Welcome to our latest edition of Treasure Valley Cluster Connections. This issue includes information about several upcoming study series open to readers and friends. We are also previewing Ash Wednesday and midweek Lent worship opportunities around the cluster.