This Sunday is New Year's Day! No, I am not crazy and thinking it is January 1, which, by the way, falls on a Sunday this year. It is the first Sunday in the New Church Year, a liturgical year. This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent. BTW and FYI, there are six "seasons" in the Church Year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and the season after Pentecost. Also, at the beginning of every Church Year we turn our attention to another Gospel. We just finished with Luke and this Sunday we will start the Gospel of Matthew.
Peace United Church will have their annual "Hanging of the Greens" Service. Many children will be participating in this service and everyone is invited to hear and sing the traditions of the ornamentation of our church.
Grey Eagle will be starting a new Sermon Series (which PUC will join in on December 4) titled "God Bless Us Every One: The Redemption of Scrooge". As you might guess, this series focuses on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and a book by Matt Rawle, "The Redemption of Scrooge".
In conjunction with the Sermon Series, I will be showing "A Muppet Christmas Carol" (I love this version with Michael Caine and Kermit "It's hard being green" Frog, and Miss Piggy) during Senior Youth on December 4 at 4 pm on the screens at Grey Eagle UMC. Everyone is invited to join the fun, not just Senior Youth.
Our assigned texts, though these may not be the ones you will hear in worship, for this Sunday are:
Isaiah 2:1-5 - Isaiah, son of Amoz, "sees" the word that comes to him. This word speaks of a time when the Lord will look upon all nations from the mountain and the people will learn God's ways and walk in God's ways. The Lord will judge and arbitrate between the nations and the nations will transform their weapons of war into instruments of peace and harvest. When will we put away war and never teach our children war?
Psalm 122 - The psalms from 120 to 134 are labeled "A Song of Ascents". Jerusalem was built on a large hill and the Temple was at the peak of that hill. People coming to Jerusalem and going to the Temple had to climb the hill. When doing so they would sing one or more of these psalms. This psalm is in praise of Jerusalem as they approach the House of the Lord (Temple). The psalmist also ask the people to pray for the city that it may prosper and be at peace.
Romans 13:11-14 - It might just be easier to quote the text than try to explain it in a few words. Basically, Paul says that the time of the Lord, the time of salvation, is near! So we better wake up and get busy with the job of being followers of Christ. Put aside the ways of darkness and put on the armor of light: Jesus Christ.
Matthew 24:36-44 - As is usual for the beginning of Advent, which is a season of waiting, we begin by turning our expectations to the coming of Christ, not the coming of Christmas. Jesus points his disciples to a time when the Son of Man will come (Matthew 24:30). Unfortunately no one knows when that will be. Jesus says it will be like the days of Noah and the flood. He says that half of the people will be swept away. Jesus says we should be like the homeowner who hears that his house will be robbed. He will be ready. Jesus says that we also should be ready for that time for Son of Man will come unexpectedly.
I pray you and your family have a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving. As you partake of your bounty and blessings pray for those without. Then, on Friday before you go out shopping or start your internet shopping, go to your favorite charity's website, a charity that helps others, and donate $20 or $50 to them. Or drop a check in the mail to that charity. For from the blessings we have received we give a blessing for others.
Peace in Christ,