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.
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.
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.
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