Over the years I have learned more and more about Advent and the Church calendar. I have known it was the beginning of the Church Year because the Church calendar doesn’t follow the regular calendar of the world or culture. In the U.S. we put so much stock in a “new year” and January 1.
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love. We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks that demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments that satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he conquered death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.
We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the wonder of your creatures, large and small; and for all the loveliness that surrounds us. We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever. Amen
The “megachurch” culture keeps tripping over itself… and we keep ignoring it. Katelyn Beaty is bold enough to point out the latest issue:
He also swam in waters that reward form over substance. Today’s sexualized, glossy version of the megachurch pastor is calculated to replace the stereotype of a frumpy pastor in pleated khakis and a combover. With skinny jeans, tattoos and tight abs, the hot pastor is commissioned to bring souls to Jesus by mimicking the temptations of social media thirst traps. But if you embody that culture, you risk becoming it. Hotness is as hotness does.
Our church has been going through the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. This message from last Sunday gets at tough questions. I am left asking, especially in this highly charged election season, how do I keep seeing the divine in others, especially those with whom I disagree?