Christmas Joy

The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday.  It takes its name from the first word of the introit for Latin mass for the Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete in Domino semper - Rejoice in the Lord always (again I say rejoice! Philippians 4:4.  And comes from a time when, like Lent, Advent was a 40 day season of fasting before the feast of Christmas, and therefore it was good to have a respite, a rose Sunday, a Sunday for joy, before entering into the final leg of the journey, during the darkest nights of the year.

Everything Hinges on God

This week of Advent is a hinge in the doorway between our former lives and the new one being created in Jesus, the prophecies of Jesus coming to save us begin to be clearer, the door to the presence of Immanuel opens further, and we begin to see what repentance is: turning to God and being purified of what happened when we turned away. The second Sunday of Advent is about all the prophets before John, who pointed to God’s unfailing faithfulness and love of his people, and described the devastation that results from turning away from him.

Being a Witness to Christ by Volunteering in the Community

One of our post communion prayers says: “send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord”… For me the “work” is activity that is in addition to my chosen profession as a Systems Analyst. I interpret being a “witness” as a demonstration or reflection of Jesus’s love to other people. The way I have chosen to witness this love has been through volunteering.

Are we prepared?

The long litany of Sundays after Pentecost is almost over and with it the beginning of Advent will be soon upon us.  Almost too quickly, it seems, as we realize this means we are already nearing Christmas, whether or not we are ready.  And with Advent comes that familiar cry from John the Baptist, proclaiming that we need to prepare for the coming of the Lord because He is coming, whether or not we are ready.

Our many blessings

St. Luke’s is inviting all of us to do a very basic thing as special creatures of God, who is the very best and finest craftsman there is - to think, recall to memory, reflect on, and be grateful for, the many “freebies”* we have been given and received through our lives pursuant to* God’s immeasurable love and mercy to us all.

Gratitude for God's care and the service of others.

This week I am grateful for the surprising ways that God takes care of us physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is a common theme in scripture to remind the people of God that their efforts are not what upholds the world and all living things, but God’s creating, sustaining and redeeming power. Our work as individuals, families and communities is all in response to God’s gift of our lives. It is this acknowledgement that everything belongs to God, including us, that makes care for others, service in the world and stewardship of resources and creation possible. Realizing that nothing we own or gain is ours opens us to a life that is less self-interested and more oriented toward service of others.

Singing Alleluia to God-Giving thanks for community and music.

As we're invited this fall to take stock of the many blessings in our lives together at St. Luke's, I've made it my practice to run through a long list of blessings in my head, acknowledging the people, activities and experiences for which I am grateful. Every day I am grateful for the love of my husband and the people of St. Luke’s; the ability to listen to music and raise my own voice in song; and the big one – that I made it out of bed and can sing alleluias to God one more day here on earth.

How responding to God's Gifts strengthens us to "Go Now into the World" in love and service.

Dear Friends,

When I was approached last year to take over as Stewardship Chairman, my first reaction was there had been a terrible mistake. Stewardship involves funding the church’s activities and I’m not even allowed to balance our checkbook at home! My international relations degree and career spanning US Embassies around Africa makes me potentially the least qualified person at St. Luke’s to take on this important task. What does diplomacy and interacting with foreign nations have to do with Stewardship? Luckily God know has a plan for each of us, one that we may not even know about.