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Friday, November 28, 2014

Advent 2014

First Trinity Advent 2014

When pain of the world surrounds us with darkness and despair,
when searching just confounds us with false hopes ev'rywhere,
when lives are starved for meaning and destiny is bare,
we are called to follow Jesus and let God's healing flow through us.

We see with fear and trembling our aching world in need,
confessing to each other our wastefulness and greed.
May we with steadfast caring the hungry children feed.
We are called to follow Jesus and let God's justice flow through us.

The church is a holy vessel the living waters fill 
to nourish all the people, God's purpose to fulfill. 
May we with humble courage be open to God's will.
We are called to follow Jesus and let God's Spirit flow through us.
4We praise you for our journey and your abundant grace,
your saving word that guided a struggling human race.
O God, with all creation, your future we embrace.
We are called to follow Jesus and let God's changes flow through us.

-When Pain of the World Surrounds Us, Jim Strathdee, 1978 Desert Flower Music

Happy New Year!

This year, November 30 is the first Sunday in the season of Advent, the first Sunday in the calendar of the church.

Advent is a season imbedded with rich symbolism, expressing or pointing toward the many emotions that surround expectation, waiting, and the anticipation of the arrival of something or someone yet unknown. Hope, fear, joy, anxiety, calm, confusion, excitement, longing, uncertainty, absence, impatience, elation--these and many others are appropriate and natural emotions as we anticipate the arrival of God’s presence in a new, special, and unexpected way.  

The candles on our Advent wreath--blues, and pinks, sometimes purples--along with the liturgical colors of deep blue are reminiscent of the hues that appear at the end of deepest, darkest nights, just before dawn, and the arrival of a new Day. A circle of evergreen reminds us of Life that persists through seasons, even as the world seems dormant and lifeless.

At First Trinity, each year we sing a special hymn as we light our Advent wreath. This year, it is sung in place of the Gospel Acclamation. Replacing the acclamation helps us to focus on the not yet presence of Christ and God’s Reign--a Reign we claim is simultaneously already and not yet. We add one verse to the song each week in Advent, as we light one additional candle on the wreath; each week the promise moving closer toward us.

This year our Advent song is ELW #704, When Pain of the World Surrounds Us. This song reflects a deep longing both for Christ as promised at Christmas, and the new Day that is hoped and longed for by so many of Advent’s apocalyptically-oriented readings, readings that imagine the only way the world will ever be fixed or just or peaceful will be by a radical reorientation of all things at the hand of God.

When Pain of the World Surrounds Us
Advent 1 - In pain and despair, healing and hope
Advent 2 - In fear and need, love and justice
Advent 3 - In emptiness and void, God’s Spirit
Advent 4 - In struggle and confinement, grace and change

We pray this Advent you will find meaning and hope in the symbols and songs, the scriptures and traditions, and through the means of grace God works through in your life. Whether this season brings you anxiety or hope, despair or joy, while we await new Presence and a new Day, we are incredibly grateful for your presence, and our time together.

May God’s peace be with you always, and may the fire of Love burn in your heart.

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