Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Readings for Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hello Everyone,

Soon, Grey Eagle UMC will begin testing the use of using video in worship to enhance our worship experience. (Hopefully, Peace United will also implement video sometime in the near future.) This does not mean there will be a wholesale change in how we worship. Worship will be similar to what we are currently doing only with images used to enhance the service. Worshiping God is more than just a single sense activity but it should involve our entire being including sight, sound, smells, taste, and touch. Our primary sense right now is sound, both hearing and vocal. We use sight in the reading of the bulletins and hymnals. The use of video will augment our use of both sight and sound. How do we use the other three senses? We use touch when we shake hands and hug as we pass the peace of Christ. We use taste when we receive Holy Communion. As for smell, where here I am hard pressed to say how that comes in. Most Orthodox Churches and some Catholic Churches us incense to bring our sense of smell into our worship. What can we do to include the sense of smell into worship?

Which bring me to this:

Calling All Amateur Photographers
If you are a “shutterbug” and would like to have your photos used for worship you may email them to me. Here are the guidelines:

1. They should fit the theme of the day. I will announce the theme in this email each week. This Sunday our theme is “Joy in the midst of Despair”. (Pictures of Joy might be easier to find and take than pictures of despair but I would like both.)

2. Send only one or two per week. If you have more that fit the theme of the week let me know and I may, if I need, ask for more.

3. You should sent only pictures that you or a family member has taken. Do not forward me any pictures from the Internet. I do not want to run afoul of Copyright Laws and put myself or your church in legal trouble. If it is not yours, don’t send it.

4. If you send me pictures then you are giving Grey Eagle United Methodist Church and Peace United Church permission to show the images during worship services and on any website where the worship service can be viewed, such as YouTube.com or Vimeo.com.

5. If you are able to place your name on the image (lower right corner preferably) please do so. People will then know what a great photographer you are and everyone will know that you own the copyright to that photo.

6. Finally, and even though I shouldn’t have to say it, send only photos whose subject matter is appropriate for church worship. I do not want to run the risk that some image, such as a nude, would get me in trouble with the church or the denominations. Therefore: no nudes, sex acts, or graphic images of violence. Check the background of your images and make sure there are no “swear words” or inadvertent nudes, etc. In other words folks, keep it clean.

I am now accepting your photos.

This Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent. The sermon series this week is “Awed and Odd: Joy in the Midst of Despair.” Where do you see and find joy in times of despair?

Our readings are:
Isaiah 35:1-10 – Isaiah paints a picture of what God’s redemption will look like for God’s people. Here, redemption means to set free and the author may be referring to the Israelites in Babylonian captivity. Pay close attention to verses 5 and 6. You will read and hear them in our gospel lesson.

Psalm 146:5-10 – Like the Isaiah reading above, these words will reappear in Matthew 11. How will the Lord accomplish all that the psalmist promises if not through us, God’s Church? Who will set the prisoners free? Who will help the blind to see? Who will bring justice for the oppressed? If not us, who?

OR Luke 1:47-55 – This is common known as “The Magnificat” which is the Latin word for “magnifies” as in “My soul magnifies the Lord.” As one writer commented, this passage has more theology in it then most people realize. Read carefully and think about what Mary is proclaiming about God. What will God do through her son Jesus?

James 5:7-10 – This is a bit out of context, but the letter of James lends itself to small sound bites of exhortation. Here he is asking believer to wait patiently for the return of Jesus.

Matthew 11:2-11 – Last week we read about John the Baptizer calling people to repentance and good works. John is now in prison soon to be executed. He has heard about Jesus and what Jesus has been doing. These reports must suggest that Jesus is not living up to John’s expectations, so he send some guys to find out. Pay attention to verses 4-6 and notice their connection to our Isaiah, Psalms, and Luke readings. Then read the entire passage to verse 19. What do you think Jesus means in verse 12? If you don’t know then you join 2,000 years of Theologians who can’t figure it out either.

Have a great week serving God by serving others.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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