Monday, November 26, 2007

The First Sunday of Advent

Sunday's Scriptures

Isaiah 11: 1-4 Isaiah 43: 1-7 Matthew 24: 36-44

"Happy New Year!"
Advent is actually the beginning of the Church year. It marks the preparation for the Advent ('coming', 'arrival') of Jesus at His birth.

You'll also notice, when you read Matthew's passage, that it has a focus on anticipating the return of Christ at his "Second Advent."

Now there's a problem with this. It's that we get so caught up in the softness and sentimentality with which we've surrounded the 'First Coming' and all the trumpets and triumph which many have associated with the 'Second Coming' that we miss the meaning of the First Coming. We'll talk about that more on Sunday.

Another thing that often gets missed is the invitation to Come Home.

Coming Home doesn't just mean showing up for the means being welcome when you get there. It means getting to that place of warmth and safety and acceptance that we've always looked for, always knew was there.

Some of us didn't have that in our families as we grew up. Some of us have been searching for our whole life for the place that would supply those needs . And we've looked in a lot of strange places hoping to find a "home."

Advent is an invitation to begin the journey toward the home that's been calling out to us all our lives, a call that has vibrated in our hearts and echoed in our dreams....the home that we always hoped was there but weren't sure we could risk believing really was.

Advent says: "It really is true....there's a home here. Come on in, the door's open, the table's set and you can even carve the turkey. We know you by name, we love you, we're glad you're here."

There's a sign outside the building where our church meets that says it pretty good.

"ADVENT-It's the Road Home for Christmas....Come Walk With Us"

Hope to see you Sunday.


P.S. Ooooops.....if you came to the blog before now, you'll notice that I changed one of the scriptures. Old age must be tipping up on me. Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scripture for Christ the King Sunday

Luke 1: 68-79 and Luke 23: 33-43.

This is the last Sunday before Advent. It is also the last scripture from Luke's gospel that we will use for a while. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, the Lectionary moves us to explore the gospel of Matthew (I'll talk more about that in next week's blog).

We've spent the last couple of weeks exploring in one form or another the tension between Expectation and Experience; between what is promised and what is. These two passages bring that tension home in a forceful manner.

The first passage is a prophetic poem spoken by John the Baptist's father Zechariah about the promise of redemption and how his son, John, would announce the coming of that redemption.

The second passage is an account of the crucifixion. It is a reminder that God, in Christ Jesus was the victim of torture and died among condemned criminals.

What does this say to us about the nature of Christ's "Kingship" and about the way in which God expresses both love and power? What does this tell us about the One who's coming we celebrate at Advent? What does it tell us about what God is like?

In what way is this story My story and Your story? Who are we in this story?

What does this story call us to do or be?

A hint about where I think this sermon is going....If you've ever read The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal, you might want to take a look at his narrative that began the book again.

Thanks again to everyone who writes a comment, blogs in, or sends me a private note at the link on the homepage. You keep me thinking and don't let me settle in.

See you Sunday.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Scripture for Sunday, November 18

The scriptures for next Sunday are Isaiah 65: 17-25 and Luke 21: 5-19.

We're going to be focusing on how we deal with the difference between what it is we think "ought" to be (Expectation) and what we encounter as what "is" (Experience).
Part of our experience is our awareness of the "voiceless ones" that we talked about in this Sunday's worship. Our faith calls us to help them find a voice as well as to give voice to the wounded places in our own lives as well. It also gives us the courage to look honestly at the difference between Expectation and Experience.

Please read these passages and share your thoughts and ideas about them here on the Blog. If you want to reach me with a more personal note or question, there is an email link at the bottom of the home page.

Thanks to all who contributed to last week's discussion.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Scripture for Sunday Nov. 11

Hi All,

Thank you for coming to the blog and being part of what I hope will be an ongoing conversation that will help shape our Sunday worship.

For Nov. 11, 2007 the scriptures are Job 19: 23-27a and Luke 20: 27-38.

Please ask yourself these questions:
  1. What does this scripture tell me about the nature of God?
  2. What does it tell me about the human condition and our need?
  3. In what way is this story My story?
  4. What does this scripture call me to do or be?

I look forward to the questions and comments that will help me as I prepare Sundays sermon and that will cause us all to think about the scripture that will guide our worship experience.