“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
Matthew 3:1-12
15 mins 51 secs
Views: 37
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.
The Rev. Carole Anderson
Matthew 11:2-11
11 mins 14 secs
Views: 35
This week we encounter the third week of Advent. The rose candle which we light this week refers to “Guadete” or “Rose Rejoicing” Sunday. This comes from the epistle to the Philippians which speaks of “rejoicing in the Lord always”. Rose Rejoicing Sunday reminds us of how anticipated joy over our Savior’s coming breaks through all our serious Advent preparations. Those of us who have grown up in the Anglican Church know that Advent is a somber season. There were no alleluias and no flowers until Christmas. Some churches even omitted the “Gloria Patri” at the end of the Psalm during Advent. There was to be no celebrating until Christmas. So Rose Rejoicing Sunday gives us an opportunity to rejoice as we await the coming of our King at Christmas. Isaiah speaks of the joy of the redeemed in the coming of their Messiah, or deliverer. Isaiah 35: 1-2 "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God." This is similar to what happens when someone becomes a believer. The dry desert in which they have existed springs into bloom and they greatly rejoice and shout for joy at what the Lord has done for them. Continuing in Isaiah verse 8 we are told of a highway that will be called the Way of Holiness that only the redeemed will be allowed to access. Then verse 10, “They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” As we continue in our preparations for Christ's Mass: Have we been obedient in our preparations for our coming King? Will we be among those walking the Way of Holiness? Will we be able to say with John in Rev.19:7, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” Lord, let us be prepared for Your coming. Our desire is to be the most radiant bride who waits for her groom with great joy in her eyes.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 1:18-25
12 mins 46 secs
Views: 40
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 2:2
13 mins 32 secs
Views: 41
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.