Perhaps the most enchanting and haunting feature of Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols is its simplicity. What could be more sublimely austere than medieval carols in Middle English, accompanied by the plucked strains of a lone harp? The picture and the sound evoke the hopeful, watchful sense of the days leading up to Christmas. Join us for worship filled with beautiful music and anticipation of the gift of Emmanuel, God with us!
Do you look forward to Friday at 5pm? Summer vacation? Christmas morning? Looking forward can keep us focused and moving in the right direction. What if we experienced this same anticipation about our faith and the world that God wants for us? How can we share the gift of anticipation about what God has done, is doing, and will still do with our lives and the world around us?
Scripture tells us that “all good gifts” are from God. God wants us to enjoy them and know that we are loved, but God also wants us to help other’s experience the gifts of God’s love, grace, presence and hope. This weekend we give thanks, we celebrate, and we dedicate our lives and our gifts to helping the world know about our generous and loving God!
God offered us the amazing gift of Jesus’ life and ministry. As Jesus’ physical life was coming to a close here on Earth, he promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit that would come and dwell with us forever. Our sacrificial and generous God just keeps finding ways to offer us love! As we accept and appreciate these gifts from God, we also strive to live by God’s example, sacrificially giving and serving others.
As we gather in worship and prayer, we are called to remember that the power and love of God’s Holy Spirit is still with us. We give God thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the community of faith we call church. How can we listen as a community for ways we can help the world experience God’s love and grace?
The God of all creation chose to come and be born among us, demonstrating that God is willing to give anything so that we might experience God’s love. Everything we do in ministry together is motivated by the goal of sharing that same kind of life-giving love with the world. We are called to be the Emmanuel (God with us) to each and every person we encounter.
The act of creation, and the naming of that creation as good, is the first step in understanding God’s loving and giving nature. God chose to bring us and all that is into existence. This giving spirit has been placed within us, as we are created in God’s image. Experiencing God’s creation can and should ground us in a spirit of gratitude and remind us that we are called to give like God.
God gave us amazing brains, meant to question, think, explore and wonder. We were not intended to simply read a truth in one book and then never question or think about anything again. How can we take the time and energy to use our God-given gift of reason to make decisions and live fruitful lives?
Each of us has personal experience in what God’s love means to us. Our encounters with God and our personal connection to God through the power of the Holy Spirit can and should guide and direct our decisions. We can also gain experience by connecting and listening to others. Join us as we explore how to incorporate these personal and communal experiences into our decision-making processes.
Traditions are not just things that happened once upon a time. They are the ways God’s people have continued to live lives of faith, vitally important for remembering who we are and how God desires for us to make decisions. Join us this week as we honor our traditions and consider how they can guide us forward.