By Rev. David Gregg
This year, our text for the third Sunday of Advent, whose theme is Joy, was the familiar promise of comfort from Isaiah 40: “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” This is a pivotal moment in scripture, when the early voice of Isaiah, full of judgments and warnings and calls to repentance, shifts to a new voice, a word of forgiveness and reassurance. “God is not deaf to your cries,” says Second Isaiah; “Your delivery is at hand.” Of course, for followers of Jesus, we take “delivery” to mean something additional: the delivery of the child in whom we see revealed God’s love and power-in-vulnerability that pervades all creation.
By Rev. Kathryn Ray
During Advent, we read a lot of texts about the Second Coming of Jesus. There is invariably something about every one of these texts that utterly defies any attempt to fit it into in my brain or my sense of reason. Take Revelation 15:
“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, or with them the wrath of God is finished. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire- and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.”
That texts is as powerful as it is mind-blowingly incomprehensible.
Las Posadas traditionally reenact the struggles that Joseph and Mary faced in finding a room when traveling to Bethlehem. Multiple Latin American countries celebrate this Christmas tradition .
At North Shore, we celebrate the Posadas as a time of fellowship with one another, sing villancicos (Spanish-language Christmas carols), and enjoy good food. The Posadas are open to participants from all congregations.
The Posadas will take place at 7:00 pm on the 8th and 4:30 pm on the 9th, 16th & 17th. Please contact Pastor Rony at firstname.lastname@example.org for locations.
By Rev. Yuki Scroggins
"But thanks be to God, who in Christ, always leads us in triumph and through us spreads the fragrance of knowledge everywhere." -2 Corinthians 2:14
In Second Corinthians, Paul gives thanks to God and encourages us to be hopeful in this world of darkness, because we believe in the ultimate victory of Christ over sins and injustice of the world. Those who believe in Him are called to diffuse fragrance of knowledge of this hope- that God’s ultimate justice will be done on earth at Christ’s return.
Fragrance is an indicator of things to come---like wonderful Thanksgiving meals. From what we smell, we can tell what’s cooking in the oven before it comes out.
Fragrance of knowledge that comes from our faith also assures us about our future- that current darkness is only temporal, and human suffering will end at Christ’s return, and until then we will keep ourselves busy to do His will, scattering the fragrance of hope.
May God bless all of us during this holiday season.
This is the first of a four-part Advent blog series. Read Pastor Kathryn's reflection on peace and Pastor David's reflection on joy.