Wasn’t this weekend wonderful? I left earlier than usual on Sunday for GEUMC expecting the roads to be bad but wanting to have church because of the Sunday School program. Of the 35 miles I travel from home to GEUMC only the last 2 miles were unplowed. Before I got to Long Prairie I received three phone calls about: plowing the parking lot (yes, because I am on the way and Hwy 71 is not bad); delay the program (yes because the county and township roads were bad); and “I am making the coffee; is church on?” (yes, church will go on with whoever shows up). Boy, was I wrong! I should have cancelled church. I got to GEUMC about 8:15 and Pete and Tom were busy plowing. I unlocked the church and turned on the lights and watched out the front door. Nola arrived at church about 8:25 and missed the driveway and went into the ditch. With that one action, I asked Tom and he agreed that church should be cancelled and it was.
I then drove to Long Prairie and PUC. When I got to the church around 9:00 AM the parking lot and sidewalks were already plowed but the snow was beginning to rebuild. I turned on the radio and none of the city churches were cancelling so I shoveled snow and put down salt and then waited. (Reta and Orv also came with shovels to do a better job then I had done on the south side.) All told, by 10:30 we had 14 people at church including myself. Church service was relaxed and fun and we were done in 45 minutes. Following church, I drove home (after getting a Subway sandwich), hunkered down for the day and watched the Vikings win.
So, how was your weekend?
NOTE: PUC Finance Committee will meet at 6:00 PM before the council meeting on Wednesday, December 12. This is rescheduled from Sunday.
This Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent and the Gospel will again focus on John the Baptist and his message. Our readings are:
Zephaniah 3:14-20 – These are the last seven verses of this short oracle. The first verse of Zephaniah is simply a statement that the word of God came to Zephaniah, gives his lineage, and when he spoke the words. the next 40 verses are the pronouncement of judgment on Judah and its neighbors for all the wrongs they have done. What we read in those verses is brutal to ears that want to hear about forgiveness and love. Within those 43 verses there are hints of something better (2:3 for example). All of this will happen on “the Day of the Lord”. Then the tone begins to change in the 5 verses before ours: not everyone will perish but a remnant of the faithful will be left behind (as opposed to the wicked who are “Left Behind” in the book series). Our verses then come as a jolt (please read the entire prophesy to feel the impact): all judgment is revoked, enemies are turned back, and the Lord is in our midst. The lame and outcast will be saved, all returned to home, and fortunes restored. Love and forgiveness does trump wrath and destruction. Amen.
Isaiah 12:2-6 – You might as well read verse 1 to complete the entire chapter. This short chapter reads much like a Psalm and expresses the gratitude of one who has been saved by God
Philippians 4:4-7 – I may also read verses 8 and 9. What is our response to the miracle of Christmas and to the salvation given to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ? Rejoicing, gentleness, and prayer with thanks. In verse 8, Paul asks the church to think about the things he has written and in verse 9 he urges them to continue to do the things he taught them, to imitate his life with God in Christ.
Luke 3:7-18 – This is a continuation of last week’s reading. Last Sunday was the introduction of John the Baptizer and this week we hear his message: change your ways, bear fruit worthy of new lives, give from your abundance, and treat people fairly and with honor. Was John the expected Messiah? Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell us no. His death at the behest of King Herod tell us he was not. But the one who was greater was coming. We, as Christians, proclaim that Jesus was the expected Messiah but not as John the Baptizer thought (see Luke 7). John expected the “Day of the Lord” in line with Zephaniah 1:2-3:8. Jesus was more in line with Zephaniah 3:14-20. Who is the Messiah for you?
May the Lord bless your reading of the Good News as we come to Christmas.
Peace in Christ,