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This Sunday’s Worship Opportunities
Traditional Worship | 9:30 & 11:00 am | Sanctuary | Dr. Tim Bruster
DiscipleChurch | Community Breakfast | 7:20 am | Wesley Hall
Chapel | 8:30 am | Charme Robarts
Discussion Groups | 9:30 am
Chapel Communion | 10:35 am | Chapel | Dr. Len Delony
eleven:eleven celebration | 11:11 am | Wesley Hall | Rev. Tom McDermott
First 7th | 5:30 pm | Wesley Hall | Rev. Lance Marshall
Dr. Tim Bruster
This Sunday, November 29, is the first Sunday in the season of Advent. This Sunday marks the beginning of the worship calendar for Christians. We begin in anticipation of and preparation for the birth of Jesus. We will remember at the beginning of this season how sometimes that which seems small and insignificant ends up being what matters most. Sometimes what is most important isn’t apparent at first.
Take the year 1809, for example. Important things were happening that year:
• The Illinois Territory was created.
• Robert Fulton revolutionized travel with the invention of the steamboat.
• The Supreme Court of the US ruled that the power of the federal government is greater than any individual state.
• James Madison succeeded Thomas Jefferson as President of the United States.
• The Napoleonic Wars continued to rage — the Pope was even arrested by Napoleon’s forces that year.
Those were the headlines. If there had been a CNN in 1809 it would have covered those events. Important events. World-changing events. But some of the most important events of 1809 did not get news coverage and CNN would not have had them on the radar screen. Babies were born. Just little babies. Yet, their births would one day have a great impact: the blind would be able to read and write, grain would be more easily harvested, increasing food production, beautiful music and poetry would be written, a nation would be held together, and the oppressive and dehumanizing institution of slavery would come to an end. You see, the big events of 1809 were the births of
• Louis Braille, Creator of the Braille system of writing for the blind
• Cyrus McCormick, who invented the grain harvester
• Felix Mendelssohn, Composer
• Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet
• Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President
They were just little babies — but they would grow up to change the world.
It is nothing new for little babies to be ignored on the world stage. When Jesus was born in a stable in a small town outside the halls of power, there were important events taking place in important places like Rome and Jerusalem. Big shots were in charge. Chief among these were Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, and Herod. All eyes were on them: they were the ones in power, they were the ones guiding the course of history, their kingdoms mattered most, and they were the newsmakers.
But, the Little One in the stable would grow up to announce another vision of a kingdom. He called it the kingdom of God and invited people to turn and become a part of that kingdom. That Little One, Emmanuel, God With Us, would change the world, bringing life and hope.
I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday, as we anticipate and prepare ourselves to receive the Christ Child anew in our hearts and lives.
Grace and Peace,
A Word About Worship: Nativity Seen — Intro to Advent 2015
Rev. Linda McDermott
When you hear “a Nativity Scene,” what is the first image that comes to mind? Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus in a manger. Right? It’s a beautiful image of a long ago event that we celebrate each year, reminding us of God’s “good news to all people.” You’ll notice, however, that this year our theme for Advent is not exactly the same as the traditional Nativity Scene. Notice the different spelling: A Nativity SEEN. It’s a provocative play on words that invites us to not simply remember Jesus’ nativity, but to look for evidences of nativity all around us. Instead the SCENE of a nativity, we are focusing on SEEING the nativity in our daily lives and in our world.
It goes back to the meaning of nativity, “the process of being born.” A Nativity Seen asks us the question: How is Christ born and made alive in our lives and in our world today? And that question becomes personal for each of us as individuals — and for us as a faith community. How are we participating in “birthing” Christ in our world and in our lives? We see a nativity, Christ born, in grand and bold actions as well as in small and easily overlooked gestures and lifestyles. And what we understand is that Christ and his gospel are born every day and every time we follow the ways of his witness.
During these next four Sundays leading to Christmas, will you join me in prayerful reflection on how you and I as individuals and how we as a church family are actively participating in the “birthing” of Christ? We all know that fear and anger continue to hold a powerful influence on the ways we move through our days and make our decisions. We all know how easy it is to fall back into old prejudices and assumptions that do not provide a better path on which to move forward. These were not the proclamations of the angelic chorus at the time of Jesus’ birth then — and they are not the proclamations of the people of faith who are continuing to bring Christ alive in our world today.
This Advent season asks much more of us than sentimentality. We are asked to be witnesses of the most glorious proclamation the world has and ever will hear: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. For to you a savior is born. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to all people.”
How will the world see Christ born through you in a world so in need of this profound good news?
Every Sunday morning, groups of adults meet in FUMCFW Sunday School classes to enhance their spiritual growth and enjoy fellowship with other Christians. We have classes for a variety of demographic groups, with many different class personalities and styles. Visit the Adult Sunday School page to learn more!
I have to admit two things. First, I adapted this title from a book called “The Uncontrolling Love of God” — I love that idea! Second, my spell checker doesn’t like the word “uncontrolling.” That’s just a bit of trivia in case you notice that and think it’s a typo. Believe me, I tried it with only one “l.” Still the spell checker questions it.
Oh well, spell checkers are too controlling.
For this Advent Season, we are thinking about the characters in the story of Jesus’ birth and reflecting on how certain features of their lives repeat again in our own time. This week we use the powerful political leaders as our starting point. Click here to continue reading.
Rev. Tom McDermott
Politicians and presidential candidates want to close the doors on thousands of oppressed/impoverished refugees, ISIS (et al) terrorizes the world while local Christian pastors contribute to an Islamophobic backlash in our community, and at least one presidential candidate has jumped on the “boycott Starbucks” train (“until they put Christ back into Christmas”) — all perhaps ignoring the irony that the “Christ in Christmas” is all about feeding the hungry; aiding the poor, oppressed, and socially rejected; visiting the imprisoned; and welcoming “the stranger.” Click here to continue reading.
Dr. Len Delony
It’s Time to Get Out Your New Kairos Calendar!!!
We tend to live in a world that is overwhelmingly distracted in it’s own small-self Culture of Chronos, that is often too rushed, and symbolized in New Year’s Resolutions in January.
At the same “time,” usually unnoticed, is God’s World of Kairos. And we can follow the church’s calendar beginning this 1st Sunday of Advent to help us “have eyes that truly see.”
Through the perspective of chronos, we are often blinded in a blur of busy-ness and not aware of what might be “the better portion” right under our noses. Click here to continue reading.