Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christ the King Sunday

Christ the King Sunday

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. – Revelation 1:8

• Today we remember the Christian calendar, the liturgical year, in scripture and song. Each season or holiday has a liturgical color (although many of the holidays are “white or gold”).

No sermon today, but a verse, reflection, and hymn representing each season of the Christian year.

Advent. Purple or blue. 
The Christian year begins with the anticipation of the arrival of God’s Messiah, the fulfillment of the promise. We often sing Christmas carols, although some say we should wait until Christmas to sing the Christmas carols, and sing songs of anticipation before Christmas. We light the Advent candles to mark our waiting. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas (12/25). 
Today's Advent Scripture reading: Luke 1:26-33, the Annunciation  
Today's Advent hymn: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Christmas. White or gold. 
The birth of Jesus Christ. God’s promised light comes to earth. Christmas is a 12-day season, going from December 25th to January 6th.
Today's Christmas Scripture reading: Luke 2:1-7 the Birth of Jesus  
Today's Christmas hymn: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Epiphany. White or gold. 
Celebrated in the Eastern churches as Christ coming to the world. In the Western churches (that’s us) it’s when we ‘remember’ the “wise men” who traveled far to worship the King. God revealed His light to all nations. January 6th is the day of Epiphany, and the season of Epiphany lasts until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Often about five weeks.
Today's Epiphany Scripture reading: Isaiah 60:1-6  
Today's Epiphany hymn: Once In Royal David's City

Lent. Purple. 
The 40-day (minus Sundays) season of preparation for Easter. Often marked by repentance, prayer, fasting or self-denial, Lent (which means “spring”) is also a time of Christian instruction. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (46 days before Easter) and goes through Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter.
Today's Lent Scripture reading: Mark 8:31-38 
Today's Lent hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

We have an additional reading and hymn for Holy Week
Today's Holy Week Scripture reading: Mark 14:26-42
Today's Holy Week hymn: Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Easter. White or gold. 
The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, his victory over sin and death. Though the date of Easter changes, it is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs after the vernal equinox (March 21). The season of Easter lasts fifty days, including Ascension Day (forty days after Easter) and ending at Pentecost (fifty days after Easter).
Today's Easter Scripture reading: Matthew 28:1-10  
Today's Easter hymn: Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Pentecost. Red (for the day) and green (for the season). 
Pentecost was a Jewish harvest festival (50 days after Passover), and is now celebrated by Christians as the birth of the Church, the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost marks the beginning of “ordinary time,” the season that spans from the end of the Easter season until Advent. In “ordinary time” (aka “Kingdomtide”) the actions of the early church are remembered.
Today's Pentecost Scripture reading: Acts 2:1-6
Today's Pentecost hymn: The Comforter Has Come

Christ the King. White or gold. 
The “New Year’s Eve” of the liturgical calendar, Christ the King Sunday celebrates, well, Jesus Christ the King of Kings. Thus the Christian year begins, revolves around, and ends in celebration of God’s gift to the world in Jesus Christ.
Today's Christ the King Scripture reading: Revelation 1:4-8 
Today's Christ the King hymn: Crown Him with Many Crowns

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Do Not Be Deceived

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Veterans Sunday
Mark 13:1-8

• Wars and rumors of wars, the beginning of the end.
Nobody knows but the Father (that’s later on, verse 32)

• Do not be deceived. (verse 5)
Two great deceptions: There is no God, or God cares not for you.
(another great deception: no judgment)

• Truths: God Is Real, God loves you, and there will be judgment.
It will come some time, and it will be big.
You can worry, or you can take on faith that Jesus Loves You.

• Ruthie, 103, who would always sing to me the thing she loved best: "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know" (JLMTIK)

• JLMTIK is great, and demands that we reciprocate: 
        in STUDY (read, engage, discuss. Just start)
        in OBEDIENCE (read, keep my commands, ask text, ask others, ask God)
        in ACTION (love others. Isaiah 58, Matthew 25, Micah 6:8)

• From today’s scripture: All we know is temporary (and that causes fear). The temple is not the stones, don’t ascribe to the stones God’s might. Ascribe that to GOD! God says cling to me, not to anything/everything else.
Jesus is Lord

• Psalm 62:11-12 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.

• closing song: Though the Mountains May Fall

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Living In Community

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
First Sunday after national election
Baptism today of 10-month-old Kyle
Selections from John 17

• Two weeks ago I ran the Hershey Half Marathon with 4,000 other runners, but I ran alone. No complaints, but there’s something better about running with somebody… experience coulda been fuller.

        Jesus coulda lived perfect life in solitude, but he had work to do among people. Intentional interaction was vitally important.

• This prayer of Jesus (in John 17)… Jesus earnestly eagerly desperately desires to be with us, as individuals and as community. It's easy to say “Jesus loves you, Jesus loves me” but different to think on Jesus desperately wants unity… wants us to be with him, wants us to be one with each other.

• In many ways painful awareness of divided nation, seems like it gets a little hotter every election, and I’m not just talking about climate change.

• Perhaps we don’t feel there’s a lot we can do on national level. But we can do things locally.

• Three things from Jesus’ prayer:
1. Humility (Jesus looked up, he is also aware of who he is in relation to the Father, he is not arrogant). 
2. Jesus works. (17:4 I have finished the work you gave me to do, and that glorifies you.) 
3. Jesus prays. Specifically for unity.

• If we seek unity…
1. humility. Know who we are, who we aren’t, and who God is. 
2. work.  Want unity, work with someone. Intentionally interact with someone who is not likeminded (recall Matt 5 don’t just love the lovable). Remember to be humble.
3. pray. Pray with, pray specifically for unity, success. Is it possible with God, amen?

• At the end of the day, it’s better (& glorifying to God) if folks get along, intentionally working together. And we can work towards that. And Jesus is awesome God all over the world, over people of all differences.

• closing song: He Reigns

Sunday, November 4, 2012

You Are Not Far from the Kingdom of God

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
All-Saints Sunday
Mark 12:28-34 and Philippians 1:20-27

• Looking at both scripture readings, we've got two things going on here… Jesus talking, and Paul talking @ LIVING…    

BOTH are important, and both having in common discipleship: how you live makes a difference

Says Jesus: you are near to Kingdom of God through how you love God in this life, how you love others. 

Paul acknowledges there is unpleasantness about this life, and sometimes the hope of glory makes this life feel downright unbearable, but that reward will come anyway and there is fruitful work to be done still.  Earthly life is temporary & worthwhile.

• Be willing to forsake life for the word, which comes from faith.

• Many of us have loved ones who have died AND we cling to faith that righteousness takes crown.

• BUT THOUGH ETERNAL LIFE will be AMAZING  Do good by continuing to continue on earth and be fruitful. & mature & righteous. In faithful living we are near to the keeper of our loved ones, and near to the kingdom of God. By grace of God we hope to attain that blessed communion.

We are not far from the kingdom of God.

We remember… and we look forward to seeing again in the kingdom:
12/1/11 "Smitty" (76)
12/18/11 “Betz” (82)
12/22/11 Grace  (84)
12/28/11 Allen (97)
2/15/12 Gordon (68)
4/10/12 SaraAnn  (75)
6/16/12 Ben (67)
6/27/12 Kay (75)

 (Prayer in unison after the reading of the names)
We bless your holy name, O God, for all your servants who, having finished their course, now rest from their labors. Give us grace to follow the example of their steadfastness and faithfulness, to your honor and glory; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

• Celebration of Holy Communion