Pastor's Letter

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Pastor's Letter

Joy - For the World!

Dear Friends,
Our theme for Advent 2017 is Joy!   It was and is a joy meant for the whole world.  This joy comes to us  in Jesus, the Christ.  If it strikes you as a strange theme in a strained time, remember Jesus words in the Gospel of John -  

      "I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete." John 15:11

Hearing these words calls us to find our solace, our trust and our hope in the One who is the immeasurable gift of God, God - With - us, God who will never leave us.  Our joy is trusting God to be with us in the midst of great wonder as well as in the midst of great sorrow as well as in all our days.  We are called forward with the gift of each new day.  In uncertain times, our joy finds its source in Jesus, who entered this world to offer peace and presence, consolation, healing and to embody a living hope for the whole world.

Over 2000 years ago the first advent occurred.  This was also a time of great uncertainty and anxiety.  It was a Roman world of taxation, census taking, despots and rumors of war.  I often think of the challenges and struggles of our time calling us to a new focus; a focus much needed in that first advent.  We look not toward worldly hopes or powers, but to the joy discovered in Him who is the source of relationship and love.

This Advent season, take time to see the joy of our Lord at work in your midst. This Advent, take time to pray and rejoice in the gifts of the one who is with us and will never leave us - never.  He is the very one who helps us to offer the world a picture of joy which is priceless and immeasurable.  Our lasting joy is life in Christ, a life with Christ, and a life for Christ.  Because of Christ, let us rejoice in the good news of the season.

The beautiful benediction below was written by the late Professor Hal Warheim on his retirement and for use at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in 1955.   May it serve as a prayer and a guide for this season of joy.

Because the world is poor and starving, go with bread...
Because the world is filled with fear, go with courage..
Because the world is in despair, go with hope...
Because the world is living lies, go with truth...
Because the world is sick with sorrow, go with joy...
Because the world is weary of wars, go with peace...
Because the world is seldom fair, go with justice...
Because the world is under judgment, go with mercy...
Because the world will die without it, go with love...

May the gracious God of our Lord Jesus Christ go with us all to guide us with the light of the Gospel and to gather us into community, both now and forever. Amen.

Your sister in Christ,

Deb

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