In Those Days-Waiting and Loving

Jeremiah 33:14-16, I Thessalonians 3:9-13 and Luke 21:25-36

Our first Sunday in the Christian Season is upon us. Just 1 or 2 more days! Then the great waiting until Christmas Eve……then Christmas Day arrives. We perpetually wait. This seems built into human nature and the fact we experience Time. And we have hints and clues as to what lies ahead based on experience, tradition, sacred stories, and reasonable forecasts!

Apparently, the Grand Finale in God’s Creation may well be dramatic and scary. Evil does not give up without a fight! But the Better End is worth the struggle says most all scripture e.g. Jeremiah, Luke, and Paul. There is the Good News worth waiting for.

And any such waiting is not boring or static. It is intended to be an active waiting full of life and joy and love. The full “abundant life” Jesus promises in John 10:10. So, we get both struggle and blessedness in that time we live in before the Eternal that is hard to describe. Let’s work with what we know making the most of what we are given!

We will light the first of four candles this Sunday reminding us of the Light leading us onward over the next few weeks and the rest of our life.

Happy Peaceful Advent to all!

Pastor Barry †

Kings, Tribes, Followers

Daniel 7:9-14, Revelation 1:4-8 and John 18:33-37

So our year is at an end! No, not 2021. That’s another calendar. What the Church follows is a bit different in that Advent (Nov/Dec) is the beginning of Christian time keeping. And this Sunday Nov 21 is the last Sunday of the Christian year and scriptures selected emphasize the Kingship of God in Christ. Christ the King Sunday. Advent begins November 28 this year.

All three scriptures highlight God as ultimate authority, royal leader, the One to whom final loyalty is sworn. Yet, in the world, lesser kings and leaders and authorities must be dealt with. And there begins our struggle. Competing loyalties as well as earnest attempts to be faithful stewards in public governance always come into play.

This Sunday we will look at various leaders, kings, and tribes in world history and learn of the degrees of success and failure from the perspective of our faith. We are primarily followers, disciples who have to contend with two Kingdoms. We are in the world but not of it. It will take each of us a lifetime to live out this truth.

Christ has the Kingdom (Rule) of God and we as the family of God belong to that “Kin-dom” walking by faith together from every tribe under Heaven.

Blessings as the “Year” comes to a close and another begins on November 28!

Pastor Barry †

Rough But Ready

Daniel 12:1-3 and Mark 13:1-8

I write this on Veteran’s Day 2021. Most who served in the Armed Forces experienced the stress of being away from home, family, the regular workplace, and challenges of readiness to defend our nation and others. Some veterans endured combat and some did not return home. We remember and honor.

Our Bible passages for November 14th worship don’t directly address military service, but remind us of conflict in the world. Jesus instructs his disciples in both first century threats from tyrannical forces and the eventual final battle against evil in which God triumphs.

Mark 13 is often referred to as the Little Apocalypse. It describes the tumultuous spiritual and earthly battles in brief detail that the entire book of Revelation takes 21 chapters to unfold. Watch and wait! Always stand ready and be prepared!

Most who read this have lived through the most violent century in human history, the 20th Century. And yet……the Final Battle, God’s Conclusion has yet to appear. Even so, the “Kingdom of God is in our midst” says Jesus to disciples in every generation. We live in that tension between present struggles and the ultimate overcoming of those struggles through the Prince of Peace. The Church bears witness to this Truth.

Pray for each other and the contributions each can make in service to the Kingdom.

Pastor Barry †

Unbind Us

Isaiah 25:6-9, John 11:32-44 and Revelation 21:1-6a

To get to All Saints Sunday, November 7, we have had the previous days observed by many churches in the past week:

All Hallows’ Eve (last Sunday Halloween)
All Saints Day (last Monday)
All Souls Day (last Tuesday)

Certainly a week of pondering mortality, the dear departed, and images of the afterlife!

Just as Jesus tells the family and friends of Lazarus to “unbind him” from the death cloth he is wrapped in, so Jesus calls us to be “unbound” by death anxiety and worry.

Most of us have had the experience of having too much clothing on for some occasion or temperature. As children we were often way over wrapped in coats and scarves in cold weather! In hot Summer in church, a coat and tie became too much! Unbind us!

Symbolically a host of fears, worries, anxieties can bind us to fearful living. Jesus sets an example for us in dealing with these genuine concerns. He shows that he is concerned as well when he weeps over the loss of his friend. Loss hurts.

Yet, he demonstrates the power of God to overcome the Last Enemy. Jesus directs our focus to be upon God who “unbinds” us from living a fearful, constrained, restricted life just because we are mortal.

In worship we are reminded constantly of God’s overarching care for us and that we are never far from the Communion of the Saints, our dear departed family and friends.

This Sunday in worship, we remember the Saints, at the Lords Table remember Jesus’ death for us, and light a candle to show the way through our darkness.

Thanks be to God, the Alpha and the Omega!

Pastor Barry †