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December 5, 2021 - Advent Week 2

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  Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the Heavens;   praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels;   praise him, all his host!   Praise him sun and moon;   praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens,   and you waters above the heavens!   Psalm 148:1-4   Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to             your name give glory   Psalm 115:1     Advent II: Preparation   How do we prepare for the coming of the Lord?   Foreground the difficulty , counsels a friend of mine. I had a wrinkle in my personal life last week that sent my thoughts to an empty place. What if the forgiveness we crave, in earthly matters, is not available?   The Lord’s Prayer sometimes comes to me in moments like this. This time words of praise came. I said them—not as someone who delights in their meaning, but as a toddler grasping to steady herself .   As I began to praise God, the words seemed hollow, tinny, at first, like

December 4, 2021 - Advent Week 1

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  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   Romans 15:13 I grew up attending a tiny little Anglican church, St. Paul’s, in Ernfold, Saskatchewan.   At the time, I was the only youngster who attended.   I think I was the only parishioner under 40.   You would think that I would have felt lonely or isolated at church, not having other children to learn and worship with.   But that isn’t my recollection at all.   I remember feeling cradled and nurtured.   I was surrounded by a church family who loved me and placed a lot of hope in my spiritual formation.   I attended with my maternal Grandparents, but easily had a dozen honorary Grandparents at church.   My Sundays were filled with smiles, hugs, and patient guidance. Our Rector, Mary (I cannot recall her last name), was such a gift from God.   I met with her weekly on Saturday mornings for Confirmation preparation.  

December 3, 2021 - Advent Week 1

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             SEEK THE LORD… Who Are You Seeking? – Mark Lawrence   Amos 5:1-17 American artist Mark Lawrence specializes in Bible verse inspired contemporary Christian abstract paintings. On his website Lawrence says, “I am driven by a mission and a vision to share God’s Word with the billions of searching people who need Jesus in their lives". I have to admit that I was not familiar with the first of today’s readings or the history behind Amos’ call or what it had to do with Advent. But what was clear to me is that four times in this short passage we find the word “seek” - three times it is used as an encouragement and one time as a warning. As I read and re-read these verses, I came to realise that this was the center of the Holy Spirit’s message to me that day and I hope you can glean something from these my ramblings. We are in the first week of Advent and it is the week of “Hope” or prophecy. This fifth chapt

December 2, 2021 - Advent Week 1

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  Franz von Defregger, Grace , 1874   Amos 4:13    “He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth – the Lord God Almighty is his name.”             When I was a child I prayed, “God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen.” As a child praying at the supper table I did not know the importance that the words would have as I grew up. God would reveal his greatness to me, slowly over time, in a million different ways. He would touch my heart and life with his goodness over and over again, and by his mercy his greatness and goodness would change me.   In the Old Testament book of Amos God desperately wants his people, the nation of Israel, to return to him, to change. The prophet Amos, a shepherd and fig tree farmer, wrote during the reign of King Jeroboam II, one of the worst kings to rule Israel. Israel and its leaders were apathetic, worshi

December 1, 2021 - Advent Week 1

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      O nce again the cycle of the year rolls back to Advent. Each cycle has its beauty and trials. Advent is from the Latin Adventus meaning a coming or arrival. What in your life is coming or arriving in your life to make your life different? I always think of the advent of spring and waiting for the arrival of the flowers, warmer weather, longer days and new life.   Advent is when Christians await the arrival of our King. How are we preparing for the arrival of Christ? In your home getting ready for a guest to arrive takes time and preparation so all will go well when the guest arrives. For me getting the house clean and ready, spending time thinking about what will make my guest comfortable and welcome. How will the house be decorated, how will I dress, will everything be ready when my guest arrives? Today’s scripture from Amos 3:12-4:5   tells of how the Israelites were far from ready from being what God wanted them to be.   They kept sinning and wanting to co

November 30, 2021 - Advent Week 1

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    Lamb of God  (in Latin,  Agnus Dei ) is an oil painting completed between 1635 and 1640 by the Spanish  Baroque  artist  Francisco de Zurbar├ín . It is housed in the  Prado Museum  in  Madrid , Spain   “Come, all you who are thirsty,      come to the waters; and you who have no money,      come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk      without money and without cost.   Why spend money on what is not bread,      and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,      and you will delight in the richest of fare.   Give ear and come to me;      listen, that you may live.” Isaiah 55:1-3 “The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples,   and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’” John 1:35-36 The word “come” appears 12 times in today’s readings. Of course it does! During Advent we hear and speak the word often. We repeat our request, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.” The expression comes

November 29, 2021 - Advent Week 1

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  Francisco de Zurbaran, St. Francis (1659) 2 Peter 1:1-11 1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2  Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3  His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  6  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  7  and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  8  For if you possess t