Thank you to all who were at our Christmas Eve services and to those who helped out by reading one of the scriptures.
Special note – Newsletter articles should be in by tomorrow, Wednesday, December 28.
Of course, as we are aware, this coming Sunday is New Year’s Day. One tradition many Americans have on this day is to make a resolution to do something positive in the coming year: lose weight, exercise more, eat less, save more, spend less, etc. Of course, I need to do all these things but I never put them into a resolution because of my high probability of failing. I only make one resolution each year and that is to make no resolutions. Of course, this means that I immediately fail the resolution because I just made a resolution.
Then there is our baptismal covenant, promised for many of us when we were babies by our parents and later reconfirmed at our confirmation or promised directly by many of us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Do you remember that covenant? Do you remember the promises you made? Most of us don’t remember the exact words but we do remember the general tenor of it. On January 1, this coming Sunday, you will have a chance to remember and to recommit to that covenant. This “Covenant Renewal Service” first arose out of the Puritan community in England in the 17th Century and was adapted by John Wesley and the Methodist movement in the 18th Century. I believe it is a service that transcends denominations as the service calls us to remember and reminds us of God’s faithfulness to us. Join us this Sunday at 9:00 AM at Grey Eagle UMC or 10:30 AM at Peace United Church to renew your covenant with God.
There are several sets of readings for this Sunday, one for the First Sunday after Christmas, one for New Year’s Day, and one for Epiphany Sunday (the 12 days of Christmas runs from December 25 to January 5 and Epiphany is always on January 6). I will also use some other lessons for the Covenant Renewal Service.
First Sunday after Christmas:
Isaiah 61:10-62:3 – God clothes us in salvation and I will not keep silent.
Psalm 148 – God’s glory is revealed in all the universe. Praise God!
Galatians 4:4-7 – God sent his Son, born of a woman, at the fullness (right?) time so we may be adopted as God’s children.
Luke 2:22-40 – Jesus is named (verse 21), the family goes to the temple for their purification and they meet Simeon and Anna, and they return to Nazareth.
Isaiah 60:1-6 – God’s glory is revealed and visitors shall bring gold and frankincense.
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 – A prayer for God’s guidance and support for the king of Israel.
Ephesians 3:1-12 – Paul is prisoner to the Gospel because the mystery of God’s plan has been revealed in Christ.
Matthew 2:1-12 – This Magi follow a star and find the new born King
New Year’s Day:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 – There is a time for everything as we sing the song by the Byrds.
Psalm 8 – What are humans compared to the stars, moon, and planets in the heavens, yet God sets humans above angels to care for creation.
Revelation 21:1-6a – A new heaven and a new earth.
Matthew 25:31-46 – The Judgment of the Nations
Covenant Renewal Service:
Joshua 24:14-18 – “As for me and my family, we will follow the Lord.”
Jeremiah 31:31-34 – The Lord will bring a new covenant that is written on the heart.
1 Peter 1:13-25 – A call to holy living as the Word of the Lord endures forever.
John 15:1-17 – Jesus is the true vine; abide in him as he abides in God.
There, a lot of reading for this week. May God Bless You through your reading God Good Word!