Our first Sunday in 2022 brings us Holy Communion and a meditation upon Law and Gospel. It is right and good to ask between Christmas and Epiphany (Jan 6) just WHAT did Christ bring that Moses did not?!
John 1 clearly says Moses brought the Law while Jesus brought Grace and Truth. All are good but there are differences and what better time to review those differences than as a New Year rolls in! We tend to compare and contrast the past year with the hopes for the New One. We can do something similar with Law and Gospel.
I came upon the sermon title while sitting at the entrance to Kohl’s department store on the last Wednesday in 2021. Some 20 minutes to observe quietly the comings and goings and the setting of that moment. I highly recommend just sitting and observing whenever you get the opportunity!! Invariably you can discover something spiritual in those moments! All I will hint at now is the image of Moses and Jesus and I sitting on the benches going into Kohl’s! If you can, do something similar before worship this Sunday January 2!
Blessings on your observations upon the New Year 2022 this coming week.
I Samuel 2:18-20, 26, Colossians 3:12-17 and Luke 2:41-52
We often hear it said, “Christmas is about the children.” True enough. But kids keep growing and the Christmases add up! What would you hope has stayed with you as you remember your childhood? Or with any child, teen, or now an adult?
Our texts point to two examples in the boy Samuel and the almost teen Jesus. And Colossians just about sums up what most any of us would hope for past the presents, gifts, parties, and fun of the holiday. It’s a holy life that is not so much “pious” as it is practical in its influence upon others. A life fulfilled and complete when words and deeds come together such that love is the result. Care and empathy shine forth.
Prophets, kings, apostles, disciples all participate in “holy living” but only to a degree. Ultimately we only have the Life, Death, Resurrection of Jesus to point to as holy. Thus, we are followers of perfect love as imperfect as we are. To aspire to love and to do so in faith is our calling.
But it’s great to have even those imperfect examples. At most any age, kids on up! Most people, in their imperfection and uniqueness leave some of the impact of their talent with us. We can be grateful for that. And always look to Jesus as the perfected love that sustains us forever.
Stories and songs will abound this Sunday as we gather in worship. Ours is a sung faith and we repeat the stories of our Christian faith. Many different voices will be heard in our sanctuaries, yet all recalling the days some 2000 years ago. And how that Story still gives new life today!
Both congregations will receive the Word through much congregational participation. Christmas stories have been with most of us from childhood. And in turn we relive them and we pass along to all ages in our adult years.
Mary, Joseph, a baby in a manger, shepherds, angels and magi never seem to grow old.
So, join us as you can this Sunday, whether in-person or on-line, as our Advent prepares us one more week as we soon celebrate the birth of the Christ child.
Zephaniah 3:14-20, Philippians 4:4-7 and Luke 3:7-18
For our Third Sunday in Advent we hear texts that send us both the “loud” and “gentle” voice of God. John the Baptist loudly calls people to repentance for their sins. Paul and Zephaniah tell us God is for us and loves His people.
All this feels familiar to most of us from our childhood. If we hear our full name said in a loud voice we know mother wants our attention and that means now! But just as likely we will hear in the same day a reassurance that we are loved. Both are needed and describe a caring Parent.
And certainly, the character of the One calling to us is of vast importance. What is at the very heart of our Creator, our Heavenly Parent? His wrath is for a season but God’s love for us is everlasting. For both Advent and Christmas, the bottom line is a God who is with us and for us from the cradle to the grave. If that Voice is raised at times it is to get our attention for our sake and the sake of others. God means no harm. And the word to us is “first do no harm.”
The Third Candle we light is the one that reminds us of Mary the mother of Jesus. Here is THE example of a patient, caring parent who has heard from her God and desires to do Gods will because that alone leads to ultimate joy and gladness. As Mary will years later say to the wedding servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Receive your Advent invitation to listen and to seek God! Abundant life John 10:10 will follow!
Our second Sunday in Advent will remind us of exemplary people of faith such as St. Nicolas, John the Baptist, St. Paul, and Nelson Mandela. Three of those mentioned spent time in prison.
Not an easy place to enjoy one’s faith! But the life of faith exists in every conceivable location and condition. For this fact alone, we light our Advent Candles to remind us that the Light of the world shines on our path wherever we walk whether in joy or in stress and trouble.
And God celebrates diversity and uniqueness, the many personalities that make up the Body of Christ in the world. When we receive Holy Communion on Sunday it is remarkable that “all are welcome“ is a profound statement. We take the bread and cup at the table as do millions around the world vastly different in cultures, customs, traditions, geographies, and economies. Yet, we are one in Christ!
Let us rejoice in our witness together in word and in deed, doers of the Word not just hearers of the Word only.
Advent Candles, Colors, and Blessings in your spiritual preparation for the birth of Christ!