Go And Make A Careful Search

Many of us are at an age when we go into a room in the house, stand in the middle for a moment, and ask, “now what did I come in here for?” Yes, looking for something but can’t remember what it was!

Sometimes, the journey of faith is like that. Years of coming to church and suddenly you ask, “now what was it I hoped to find today?”

This Sunday is Epiphany Sunday and the scriptures are all about searching….and the sought for subject of the search is…..revealed!

Isaiah tells us the Light will come and we will see! Paul says in Ephesians that the hidden “secret” has been revealed. Matthew reminds us to search and follow the light to where it leads.

Sure enough, whatever “room” we enter….if we wait and search and look….we will find. The “room” this Sunday has both Word and Sacrament for your search. Come and see, come and you will find~

Blessings,

Pastor Barry

So….God Rest Ye Weary Gentlefolk

I hope everyone had a Blessed Christmas Day! For some, it will have rated a “near 10!” For others, for many reasons, not so Merry and maybe exhausting. It seems good when Christmas falls on a day in which the NEXT day falls on a weekend (!) or on a day of “rest” or a vacation really begins! At least the hope for many is a day a lot quieter with less volume and perhaps less time in the kitchen~

Nevertheless, the Christmas “spirit,” the Christmas Faith continues and never “let’s up.” It continues and is emphasized in a number of ways:
1) Some will celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas followed by Epiphany on January 6.
2) Some will continue visitation, letter writing, and card sending.
3) Some will be renewed and determined to “increase in wisdom and (spiritually) in stature.” In other words…..keep growing in the faith.

Our texts for this Sunday are about growing. Of course, part of growth requires “rest” so hopefully you will find some rest before many of your routines return. Well-deserved rest, perhaps, for parents and church leaders! Still, even as we rest, we grow.

See you this Sunday as we hear about the growth of young Samuel, Jesus around age 12, and the congregation at Colossae.

Merry Ongoing Christmas!

Pastor Barry

Singing Into Christmas

If ever a Season was given for singing, it must be Advent-Christmas! Singing in anticipation for the One who was promised, who has come amongst us, and who will return in glory! And is always with us in the Eternal Now!

So, this Sunday will be dedicated to singing the Faith! Our choirs and congregations will hold forth in word and song.

For most, such singing has accompanied us our whole faith journey. Often we have taken it for granted….but on our best days it comes out of us as a hum or a whistle or full-fledged voice! We listen up also when hearing Christmas sung by Johnny Cash or Carrie Underwood or Bing Crosby or Willie Nelson or Adele or Whitney Houston or….well….name your favorite!

See! You started to listen or sing again O Holy Night or Silent Night or I Heard the Bells on Christmas well….you name your favorite.

This Sunday we will join the company of the saints (in the making!) and listen to and join the singing of the faith…at Christmas time.

Peace on earth to you!

Pastor Barry

Anxiety and Christmas

Well…….There goes Paul in Philippians 4 saying essentially, “Don’t worry…be happy.” (Or is that a song title from 2011?). And Jesus in Luke 6:46-49 says, “We need to put his words into practice or….else the house collapses!” How realistic are these two? This is still the Age of Anxiety and probably Fear and Worry and……”Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!”

On the other hand, what about the very First Century with the Romans, the crazy Nero and Persecutions and prisons and…..martyrdom!

Yet, the Christian faith and practice survived and survives (somehow) today! A faith that forgives and gives mercy when we continually CANT seem to live out the life that both Jesus and Paul offer to us and say “it is possible.” Possible to have the ‚Äúpeace of God” Phil 4:7.

I rejoice in Advent for the Promise held forth in Christmas! In spite of terrorists, politicians, distress, sickness, and Death! In spite of my own unbelief and half-heartedness! I rejoice! (Help each other when it is hard to do! BE the “present all gift wrapped” to one another!) God bless and hold on! “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid” Isaiah 12:2).

Advent Blessings!

Pastor Barry

The Usual Suspects?

In the movie Casablanca, the local police Captain Louis Renault utters the memorable line, “Roundup the usual suspects,” after the Nazi Major Strasser has been shot. One of the memorable movie dramas of the Nineties was The Usual Suspects where five career criminals meet in a police lineup and then come together for more crime and a twist of an ending!

The phrase “usual suspects” can be used as well in ALL of our texts for Sunday. The prophet Malachi lists several bad behaviors in 3:5 and John the Baptizer rails against those who have certainly “missed the mark” in both religion and society.

On the other hand….. Paul gushes over another group of “suspects” guilty only of love and growing in the grace of God in this letter to the “saints” at the church in Philippi.

Our Advent season has many “suspects” even today and we will look at which “groups” we can have some concern about and which “groups” we can congratulate! Of course, there may be a bit of BOTH in all of us! But, the whole drama ultimately points to the One who calls all to the gift of New Life at Christmas and declares forgiveness on all suspects from the Cradle to the Cross!

Pastor Barry