Some of you may have had trouble listening and seeing to my video these past couple of weeks. With Alyson Champ’s help I am trying to sort this out. However this goes, I will be continuing to post the blog one way or another, so we can keep in touch with one another.
As we observe the season of Advent, we prepare to celebrate . We celebrate light in a season of darkness. We prepare to welcome Jesus who comes to be the light of the world. We pray for God’s light to guide us and lead us and we seek to let our light shine for others so they may know God’s love and grace.
Today we light a candle, the candle of peace. May God’s light shine upon us and fill us with peace this day and forevermore. Amen.
Hymn Hark the Glad Sound #29VU
Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85 p. 802VU
Hymn There’s a Voice in the Wilderness Crying #18 VU
Message: (Seeing as I have been having trouble posting my video, I will include a written reflection. I think some have still been able to see or hear the video, so I will do one of those too. They will be different, possibly connecting, so if you can access them you can take advantage of both.)
It seems to me that this is a year for Advent hymns. One of the discussions we sometimes have in the season of Advent is about singing Christmas carols. They are familiar, they are beloved, and so people want to sing them. Besides, wherever we go in public, in stores or whatever, we hear them, so why can’t we sing them in church too? On the other hand, there are a number of lovely Advent hymns that we may not sing at any other time of year and that invite us to consider what and who it is that we are actually waiting for. They may speak to us of anticipation, of looking and watching for signs of God’s presence in the world. They may also remind us that though we live in a society where everything seems to be expected to be fast or even instant, that isn’t always possible and that God’s time is often different from our time.
This year we are already in waiting mode. We are waiting for this pandemic to come to an end, we are waiting for vaccines to arrive and be available and to get back to “ordinary life.” We are waiting and we do not know when our waiting will come to an end. We may be tired of waiting! This may connect us with the people for whom our Scripture lessons were first written. They too were waiting, waiting for the promises of God given through the prophets to be realized in their world. They were waiting in hope, but they did not entirely know what or who they were waiting for. They had an idea, but God often fulfilled God’s promises in unexpected ways. They also did not know when exactly they would see and know God’s salvation. This may be true for us as well. We are waiting for Christmas, but we do not know how or if we may be able to celebrate this year. We are waiting for the pandemic to come to an end, but we may not know or understand how this past year has changed us and the communities and world in which we live. Still, we wait in hope that whatever the Advent and Christmas seasons bring, and whatever the new year brings as well, and we can wait in a spirit of peace, trusting that though we may live through challenging and difficult times, God is still with us, and will strengthen and sustain us to overcome challenges we meet and to bring us to a new time in our lives and the life of our world. We can give thanks who help and support us in these times. So whether we are humming our Christmas carols and songs, or expressing our longing and yearning with some of our Advent hymns, let us continue to hope and trust in God to help and guide us, and to seek to find peace, even in this time of uncertainty and fear. God bless us all in this time.
Prayer: You keep us waiting. You, the God of all time, want us to wait for the right time in which to discover who we are, where we must go, who will be with us, and what we must do. So thank you,,..... for the waiting time.
You keep us looking. You, the God of all space, want us to look in the right and the wrong places for signs of hope, for people who are hopeless, for visions of a better world will appear among the disappointments of the world we know. So thank you, .... for the looking time.
You keep us loving. You loving. You, the God whose name is love, want us to be like you— to love the loveless and the unlovely and the unloveable; to love without jealousy or design or threat; and, most difficult of all, to love ourselves. So thank you, .... for the loving time.
And in all this, you keep us. Through hard questions with no easy answers; through failing where we hoped to succeed and making an impact when we felt we were useless; through the patience and the dreams and the love of others; and through Jesus Christ and his Spirit, you keep us. So thank you..... for the keeping time, and for now and forever, Amen. (From the Iona Community).
Hymn People Look East #9VU
We hold the family of Alison Craig in our thoughts and prayers this week, following her death earlier this week. A private family service was held in the Union Cemetery to give thanks for her life.
Often we collect angel gifts of toys for children that are included in the Christmas baskets from La Bouffe Additionelle in Huntington. This year, enough gifts have already come in but food would be very welcome, that can be used either in the Christmas baskets or in the new year. You can drop it off to me and I will make sure it gets to La Bouffe. In Howick, the donations for the Christmas baskets is being collected at the Town Hall and other locations, as there is no Santa Claus parade this year.
Today is the day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. I believe there will not be an in -person gathering this year, I believe there is one online, but we can take the time to reflect, and pray as we seek to do what we can to keep women, children, and all people safe.