By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-5
Isaiah 2:1 The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come, the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 3 Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
This is the Word of God (from the prophet Isaiah) for the people of God. Hear too, these verses from the gospel of Luke:
By the tender mercy of our God the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79)
These two verses from Luke’s gospel are part of the Advent story and they will guide our congregation through this Advent season. They are also words recited every day during Morning Prayer at monasteries and religious communities all around the world. They are beautiful, hopeful words; aren’t they? By the tender mercy of our God the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
I open my sermon this week with a “viewer warning.” At the front end of this sermon, there is going to be some rather academic stuff about the end times. It might be something that challenges you and gives you a lot to chew one. But, I hope you’ll stick with me. So…
Welcome to the end of the year…(to which many of you are likely saying, “Oh, if only;” because most of us would like 2020 to be in the rearview mirror). But today does mark the end of the liturgical year, the conclusion of the Church’s calendar year. Next Sunday, Advent will begin. The Christian calendar year reflects the unfolding of salvation history. Salvation history begins with God’s people anxiously awaiting the coming of a Savior, a Messiah, a King; one who will deliver them. That deliverance, as we know, came as a baby born to a peasant couple… which was hardly what folks expected. Today is a reminder of how things will end. Today is Christ the King Sunday. Today we are reminded of how salvation history will arrive at its full and final manifestation, i.e. how this world, as we know it, will come to an end.
I don’t always make a big deal out of Christ the King Sunday. But this year, I think it’s something we need to look it. And, don’t worry. We’ll also get some Thanksgiving in here. I promise.
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Philippians 1:3-11
Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to have this mindset toward all of you, because I hold you in my heart, for all of you are shareholders in God's grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
This week, we look, once again, at Philippians, the apostle Paul’s letter to a Christian community with whom he had a special, intimate relationship. Last week, we looked at the conclusion of the letter. This week, we’ll look at the beginning. This is a letter custom made for the month of November because it is chock full of expressions of thanksgiving and gratitude; although that is not what we’d expect because Paul is writing it from prison. His circumstances are deplorable; and yet he is filled with joy and gratitude. So how can someone find themselves in such deplorable conditions and still be filled with thanksgiving?
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