Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Today's Link
The Open Window

Saying for the Day
Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it. ~Richard Lamm

Picture of the Day
(From the archives)

Today the liturgical churches will celebrate the last Sunday in Advent. They will light the last of the Advent candles. We are almost at Christmas.
The Gospel lesson for today is the announcement to Mary that she is to be the mother of Jesus.
Now if I was God I wouldn’t have done it that way.
I might have had the Chief Priest put a lump of clay on the altar and it would suddenly grow into a strong man, the promised Messiah. Everybody in the temple would see it. All of Israel would know the messiah had come. This messiah would gather all Israel around Him and go to war with the Romans. They would win a great battle but in the aftermath the Messiah would be stabbed in the back by Judas one of his top soldiers and die. But three days later he would emerge from his tomb and after promising to come again in full sight of all of Jerusalem he would ascend to the Father. That’s what I would have done.
But God didn’t do it that way.
Instead he fond an obscure town and an ordinary young lady and choose a different way for Jesus to enter human history. The wonder of that story is Mary said yes. She could see what was coming. She could see the disgrace of having a child and not being married. But she said yes. And so God would enter our history almost unnoticed except for a few invited guests.
That same God still breaks into lives and says follow me. Are we like Mary willing to follow?
The miracle for us is that with all of God’s power he never forces us.
He just asks.
Today when they light the fourth candle I will say again “ Here I am Lord. Send me!”

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal.
Early this morning Herman went to his mother’s house and for the last two hours he has been sitting and looking at the puzzle and the pieces, just sitting and looking. Then he did something he hadn’t done in a long time, he left the puzzle undone and went to Church.
Over at Last Lutheran Pastor Joan was putting the finishing touches on her sermon for the last Sunday in Advent. She had come to love this town, this church, and the people. She could now look out the window and see the area covered by the shadow. She knew that by tomorrow the church would be gone. She knew the congregation this morning would be even smaller than last week. But everything was not bad. There was Rachel, the church organist. Her house was lost to the shadow but instead of fleeing she had stayed in town to play these last two services. Pastor Joan paused for a moment to thank God for Rachel. In the sermon she would talk of Mary’s response to God’s call and remind people that even in this time of the shadow God still called and we needed to both hear and respond to the call. We needed to do that even when it wasn’t convenient or pleasant for us to do so. She would close her sermon by reminding them that even though they walked in the presence of the shadow that God was with them.
After Church Herman did not stay for coffee but left in a hurry.
Wrap Up
We have a bit of a blizzard here. This morning we considered not going to Church. The driveway had two rather large drift but they were separated by almost clear areas. It was ten below zero. But we decided to go for it so we gunned the car out of the garage through the drifts to the road. The road was in better shape with only small drifts here and there. We made it to Church to find the attendance was down. St. Mark's usually has lots of kids but when it came time for the children's sermon there were no kids. I guess parents with little kids stayed home. But those of us that were there got to hear the Christmas story as part of the choir cantata. It was great. The fellowship after was also great. However, nce we got home we decided we wouldn't leave the house again today. I spent part of the afternoon bring the St.Mark's website up to date. I posted most of the choir cantata . Then I did some reading. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Living on the Spit said...

Dr. John...such a wonderful post this morning. I hear God calling me all the time and I eagerly through my hand up and say yes!!! While growing up as a child and well into my adulthood, I often felt all alone...but, here I am in my life today knowing that just was not so. He was right there with me all the time, I just was not listening and I was looking for answers in all the wrong places. I appreciate your gift today and I will remember it often.

Hurrah for Herman! I will definitely be back tomorrow to find out what happens next. Is it possible that he also stopped looking for answers in all the wrong places and llearned to listen quietly for the voice of God?


4:04 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

I LOVED your little sermon this morning!!! WOW! I LOVED it sO much I almost forgot to read about Pigeon Falls! ALMOST. Do ya think Herman HEARD that message? I sure hope so!

6:29 AM  
Blogger Gattina said...

I prefer your story too, the only thing which was VERY difficult to explain to my little son was that Jesus died and after 3 days he was alive again. That's what he told me and asked me why !
We lightened the 4th candle today !

6:55 AM  
Blogger The Crazy Object B. said...

Nice picture! :)

7:53 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

Your sermons are beautiful and so easy to understand.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Akelamalu said...

Lovely post today m'dear. :)

11:55 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

Well, Dr. John, your version is rather good, but I think I prefer the original. :-)

1:31 PM  
Blogger Alastair said...

good stuff, as always, thank you Dr John

2:25 PM  
Blogger Lori's Minute said...

Can you imagine trying to celebrate Christmas with your idea? Instead of the nativity there would be a lump a star to follow...I'm glad Mary said yes....she was already a believer.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Mountain Mama said...

What a nice post. I'm not sure I would want the original story changed but I can understand why some would. Jesus mother was a special woman to be chosen for such an important job.
I am totally snowed in. Can't get my car out of the driveway. I live on a hill so it wouldn't be wise for me to even try to travel. It's supposed to continue up till Christmas.
I hope you have a blessed Christmas Dr. John.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

very good sermon today and I love the picture of you and Betty!! We are having exceptionally cold temps too, and we are supposed to have some snow for Christmas!!!! The winds have been blowing hard since yesterday evening.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

I hope Herman plans on putting that puzzle together soon!

Our sermon today was "God can do anything!" My friend in Vegas got the same message.

12:52 AM  

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