From the Cradle to the Cross
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Luke 2:22-35
I have often said that there could be no resurrection without an incarnation. This morning’s gospel story may seem like a real downer. Christmas was only two days ago. God’s Word put on flesh and was born and laid in a manger. An angel chorus proclaimed the good news to the shepherds who went with haste, Luke tells us, to see the baby. The message the angels bring is one of great joy for all people: the birth of a Savior, a Messiah, a Lord. Luke tells us the shepherds gave a full report to Mary of the angelic message. Mary treasured their words and pondered them. What a proud and delighted mama she must have been. But then, just about a month later, when Mary and Joseph – being good, righteous Jews – take Jesus to the temple for the Jewish ritual of pidyon haben, the redemption of the first born, there is another man, Simeon, who approaches the holy family. He too, has received divine guidance; this time from God’s Holy Spirit. He too, has received the message that Jesus is the Messiah and a Savior. He too, has words that Mary will no doubt ponder… but his words are a mixed bag.
Light and Life in Jesus Christ
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: John 1:1-9
Hear this scripture from Luke, chapter 1, verses 78-79: By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
When I was in the 6th grade, I slept with a glow-in-the-dark Jesus. Allow me to explain. I can’t recall where it came from. But it was a cardboard tri-fold picture of Jesus that could stand up on my dresser. Before I went to bed, I held it up to my lamp for several minutes to “recharge it,” so to speak. Then, when my light was turned out, the picture of Jesus continued to glow. Now, it wasn’t that I was particularly afraid of the dark. I was in the sixth grade and hadn’t had a nightlight in years. But there was just something so reassuring about falling asleep each night with the face of Jesus shining on me. There in a darkened room, in the stillness of the night, his face was all that could be seen.
No Peace Without Justice
By Pastor Suzanne Clemenz
Scripture: Luke 3:3-17 (The Message Bible translation is recommended if you have it.)
Our theme for Advent this season at Trinity is “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward All.” As the church staff reflected on what we felt drawn to focus on during Advent, we all voted for peace. Now, I’m guessing that’s not a big surprise to you! We find ourselves yearning for peace this year with a depth that many of us haven’t felt before. I was in conversation with a small group earlier this week, and we were charged with rating the current state of peace in our world on a scale of 1-10. Our collective score was pretty dismal, around a 5 out of 10. When we tried to articulate what peace is, we described it as freedom from anxiety or worry; it’s the calm that descends when we hand our burdens over to God. Peace is an inner grounded-ness; it’s not the absence of conflict, but the ability to remain calm in the midst of conflict. Peace is letting go of trying to control things and surrendering to the present moment. It’s the relief that we have when we trust in God’s ways and not our own.
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