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The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 2:2
Sunday
13 mins 32 secs
Views: 17
Even before his ministry, the presence of the Messiah draws people of all peoples to come and worship. How much more now is it appropriate that the Gospel travels to the far corners of the earth, and that people in all parts of the world join us in praising the triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 1:18-25
12 mins 46 secs
Views: 27
Very Soon Advent is almost complete, Jesus is coming soon! This Sunday in the fourth week of Advent, we hear Isaiah’s prophesy, and Joseph’s perspective of the virgin birth. The faith of both Mary and Joseph in the face of incredible proclamations are an inspiration to us in our walk with God. On Tuesday we celebrate Christmas Eve with a family service at 4 pm and a Candlelight and Harp service at 8 pm. Wednesday, Christmas Day we will celebrate again at 10 am and finish with cinnamon buns and coffee in the parish hall. Which brings us to another relevant, but entirely untheological point… We are moving back into the church! Today the pews were installed (not bolted down yet, but assembled and in place), the railing was added to the ramp, wainscoting and door casings were completed and the backdoor hardware was added. Tomorrow the church will be cleaned and Saturday afternoon we will move back into church. The rest of the renovations will be done Mondays through Fridays so that we can continue to worship in the church as it is completed over time. Many thanks to our architect and builder Salvatore Caruso and his assistant Navita Nirankari for excellent designs and implementation of these improvements. Praise God for all the grace filled moments that have helped this come together in time for Christmas.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 3:1-12
15 mins 51 secs
Views: 32
This week is the second Sunday of Advent and our Gospel is about John the Baptist and his call to Israel to “repent for the kingdom of God has come near,” as preparation for the coming Messiah. All of our readings touch on this theme of the coming kingdom of God and the world-wide reign of a righteous king. With the hindsight of living in a post -resurrection world, we know that Jesus is the righteous shoot out of the stump of Jesse. The Kingdom of God has begun and is also still in progress. We haven’t seen the complete fulfillment of the abiding peace, justice and mercy of the reign of King, but in Advent we long for that time when Jesus returns in all his glory and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36 This Thursday we give thanks to our Creator for all the blessings and provisions in our life and celebrate with family and friends. And on Friday, the Christmas Shopping Season begins with all of it’s pressures. But this Sunday is also the beginning of Advent and the beginning of a new Church year (Last week’s five baptisms was a great New Year’s Eve party!). Advent is a time to quiet our souls, to deepen our faith, and to follow Jesus more nearly as we anticipate both His birth and glorious return. We look forward to celebrating the Incarnation at Christmas, but our readings also look forward to the second coming of Christ which will come at an unexpected hour. How do we hold on to Advent in the midst of Christmas preparations? How do we hold on to a vision of eternity in the midst of the distractions and pressures of our time-bound lives?
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 23:33-43
5 mins 27 secs
Views: 12
From our readings this week: The Lord is our shepherd, the Lord is our righteousness, God is our refuge and strength… He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins… For in Him the all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross… “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” The rescue mission of mankind from darkness and death into righteousness and peace, through the blood of the Crucified, continues this week as we celebrate the baptism of five children into the family of God.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 20:27-38
16 mins 2 secs
Views: 4
If there is no justice in this world, then where is our just God? Resurrection and justice are tied together in many of our readings this week. When Job is afflicted without cause, and the wicked prosper despite their wickedness, how do we not despair? But if our Redeemer lives, if He attends to our cry, then there is access to justice, even if it is not accomplished in this lifetime. If He is our protection, our hiding place, then all is not lost. In our Gospel this week, the Sadducees, who don’t believe in the resurrection, and who therefore believe that all justice and redemption will be accomplished in this life, on this earth, try to show how confusing marriage laws become in the context of the resurrection. Jesus dismisses their argument by explaining that there is no marriage in Heaven. But beyond, this easy dismissal, Jesus’ insistence on the resurrection speaks to His upcoming resurrection and speaks as an answer to the horrific violence of the destruction of the temple shortly after his death. Despite the injustice of this life, the hope of the resurrection, and our experience of God’s presence, are core, not ancillary, to our life in Christ.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 19:1-10
10 mins 10 secs
Views: 42
From the time we are children, we are taught the difference between right and wrong, between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, between good guys and bad guys. We have expectations on how teachers and leaders behave and who they hang out with. This week, in our Gospel, Jesus once again turns everything upside down, breaks the accepted conventions and honors a rich tax collector by inviting himself to Zaccheasus’ house. In our Old Testament reading, God also turns things upside down by saying that He is tired of the sacrifices and offerings of Israel and tired of their various purifying fasts and rituals. Instead He says: Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:16-18 Ultimately, it is not our efforts but the redemptive work of God that forgives our sins, makes us acceptable and washes us white as snow. This Sunday at the second service we will share in the joy of the angels as we baptize a new member into the family of God.