Joy is seldom recognized for the incredibly restorative, liberating force that it is. Unfortunately, even in faith communities, soberness, seriousness and even cynicism are often portrayed as the marks of true spirituality and maturity. Our readings this week would challenge that thinking, and would call us to consider joy as the mark of true faith, of spiritual maturity and of true justice-bringers.
If our work for justice and peace, for compassion and grace brings no joy – to us or to those we serve – we do not really bring liberation. But, when we can dance and sing, and draw others into the celebration, we have truly become life-givers, and reflections of the Christ who didn’t only experience sorrows, but also celebration and joy.
God’s promise to restore God’s people, creating a land of peace and prosperity for them, and providing a safe and sure way for them to return home, guaranteeing their arrival in God’s Zion where they will find gladness, joy and an end to their suffering.
John the Baptist sends his disciples to question whether Jesus is the One or if he should wait for another, and Jesus assures him with the example of his ministry of liberation, healing and proclaiming the Good News. Then he teaches about John’s role, explaining that, as great as he was, those who embrace God’s reign are greater still.
Prayer O God, we rejoice that You have given us a Savior! We rejoice that Christ changed our lives and our world forever, and that Christ is at work anew. We rejoice that evil will not have the final word. We rejoice that as long as we live and breathe, we breathe in Your Spirit that makes all things new.
We rejoice that the troubles of this present age will not last forever. We rejoice that You continue to work in us, to free us from the sins of this world that oppress and harm.
We rejoice that You are moving us into people of compassion, who work for justice for all. We rejoice that the Spirit is still at work, and is doing something new in our world and in our lives, now. Rejoice, and again, we say, rejoice! In thanksgiving we praise You, O God. Amen.
Music: Chancel Choir & Fusion
Ushers: Steve Anderson, Melanie Johnson,
Amy Thorpe,Jeff Kaiser
Advent Reading: Denise Karhoff King & Jack King
Coffee And…: Veronica Russell
Thursday December 12
6:30pm Aldersgate Ringers
7:30pm Chancel Choir
Friday December 13
6:30pm ReDefine Game Night
Saturday December 14
8:30am Men’s Club
Wednesday December 18
ReDefine Toy Drive Sorting
7:00pm Blue Christmas
Wednesday, December 18
7:00pm Blue Christmas Service of Readings, Candle Lighting
Cookies and Coffee to follow in the Chapel
Tuesday, December 24 – Christmas Eve!
4:30pm Christmas Eve Service
7:30pm Christmas Eve Service in the chapel
11:00pm Christmas Eve Service
Sunday, December 29 – One Worship Service Only 10:00am
Lombard Villa Park Food Pantry
Toy Shop Volunteers & Toys Needed
The Food Pantry will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for ages newborn to 12 starting now until December 18th when Redefine will sort the toys.
We are always short on infant/toddler toys and boys and girls age 10 & up.
If you would like to donate, you may drop off the toy(s) in the church office.
If you would like to volunteer on Friday, December 20th from 8:15 am-noon, please email Linda Dumas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your generosity!
January 2020 – Christian Formation Adult Class.
Millions of Christians have struggled with how to reconcile God’s love and God’s judgment: Has God created billions of people over
thousands of years only to select a few to go to heaven and everyone else to suffer forever in hell?
Is this acceptable to God? How is this “good news”?
Troubling questions-so troubling that many have lost their faith
because of them. Others only whisper the questions to themselves, fearing or being taught that they might lose their faith and their church if they ask them out loud.
But what if these questions trouble us for good reason? What if the story of heaven and hell we have been taught is not, in fact, what the Bible teaches? What if what Jesus meant by heaven, hell, and salvation are very different from how we have come to
What if it is God who wants us to face these questions?
Author, pastor, and innovative teacher Rob Bell presents a deeply biblical vision for
rediscovering a richer, grander, truer, and more spiritually satisfying way of
understanding heaven, hell, God, Jesus, salvation, and repentance. The result is the discovery that the “good news” is much, much better than we ever imagined.
Paper back $9.99, Kindle (Amazon) $11.99, Audio (CD) $9.98