Looking to the Horizon: Preparing
Sunday, December 17, 2017 – 10:00am
On the third Sunday of Advent you are invited to keep Looking to the Horizon, in eager anticipation of what is about the happen. This Sunday’s theme is Preparing. The arrival of the Messiah caused a dramatic change in history, and it was quite different from what everyone expected. At the center of the teaching of Jesus was his ushering in of the Kingdom of God… which was a very different kind of kingdom from the kingdoms of ancient Israel.
If we, also, are looking for a new religious experience this Christmas, we may be disappointed. God’s Kingdom is a moral community, a community of compassion, where poor people can live in comfort, where depressed and grieving people can find true comfort, where prisoners are returned to the community and oppressed people find new freedom. God’s compassion is made real for everyone. This message is central to the prophetic tradition an central to the teaching of Jesus.
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Common English Bible
The Lord God’s spirit is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release for captives, and liberation for prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and a day of vindication for our God, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for Zion’s mourners, to give them a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement. They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, planted by the Lord to glorify himself. They will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore formerly deserted places; they will renew ruined cities, places deserted in generations past.
I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and dishonesty.
I will faithfully give them their wage,
and make with them an enduring covenant.
Their offspring will be known among the nations,
and their descendants among the peoples.
All who see them will recognize
that they are a people blessed by the Lord.
I surely rejoice in the Lord;
my heart is joyful because of my God,
because he has clothed me with clothes of victory,
wrapped me in a robe of righteousness
like a bridegroom in a priestly crown,
and like a bride adorned in jewelry.
As the earth puts out its growth,
and as a garden grows its seeds,
so the Lord God will grow righteousness and praise before all the nations.
How can you prepare yourself, and your household, for the new Gospel reality that the birth of Jesus brings to the world? We are partners with God in building justice and honesty in the world. Our task is to bring to light those “robbery” situations where marginalized and poor people have their livelihoods stolen by those with wealth and power, who are simply greedy. Just as God’s word of Judgement came to the wealthy and powerful in Jesus’ day, that same word comes to our generation. How do you plan to partner with God for justice during the year ahead?
Please don’t forget Sunday’s Christmas Cabaret at 4:00pm in MacMurdo Hall. This will be a family celebration of Christmas music. Feel free to bring friends, family and neighbors.
Prayers please for:
Sade Bryant, Ginny Baldauf, Joseph Lappia, Steve Mitchell, Vivian Noble, Mary Ann Pearson, Pat Rush, Marlene Schmitz, Dick Smith, Ava Watkins, Cecilia Cruz, Cynthia Marx, Pat & Gordon Close, Sharon Grieve, Metcalf Family, Schroeder Family, Higdon Family