Amos proclaimed that the Lord promises to “restore the fortunes of Israel,” after the Assyrians had conquered and occupied the land. This divine promise expresses an overarching theme in the Bible that God’s choice is to make room for the people of God again and again and again; a people who are introduced first as wandering shepherds only to be enslaved later in Egypt. God promised a land flowing with milk and honey. After defeat and exile from their promised land, God restored them there.
Jesus embraced this dominant activity of God by making room for those, who had no room. At his own birth there was “no room” for him in the inn. Throughout his ministry he made room in God’s kingdom for those who were thought to have no room there: sinners, tax collectors, the sick, and outcasts, saying, “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
In Advent we worship the one who at last promised, “I go to make a place for you and I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be, also.” God has always acted to make room for us. And so, when we make room for any, who do not believe there is a place for them in God’s kingdom, we prepare for the coming of Christ in a way that befits his mission.
Christ Comes to Make Room for Us By: Dick Neellyfirstpresdalton2020-09-08T16:05:27-05:00
As a young parent, my Christmas tune recall has made room in my brain for an equally endless supply of nursery rhymes and Daniel Tiger jingles (a modern extension of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood). The rituals of the Christmas season are closely tied to the songs we hear faintly playing at the grocery store while we pass the candy canes and holiday ham display. At home, trimming the Christmas tree demands the listening to King’s College Christmas music. Setting out the Nativity means singing the chorus of “Away in a Manger”. Hearing Tchaikovsky makes us want to dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy. As songs are tied to rituals, rituals are tied to songs.
So when my children are fighting over a toy, or potty training, or struggling to follow directions I think, “Daniel Tiger has a song for that!” So, it’s fitting that every time my husband says “I can’t wait for Christmas this year!” or my girls say “I can’t wait to light the pink candle” on the Advent wreath, I think, “There’s a song for that!” “When you wait, you can play, sing or imagine anything.”
And, though my endearing jingle, it is often met with eye rolling or a “come on, Mom!”, it’s effective. It not only reminds them that waiting is hard but that waiting is necessary and waiting can be fun (or at least thought provoking).
This jingle may seem a little silly in the context of Advent. Words like play, sing, or imagine sound childish. The Church is serious about this “waiting thing”. Christ’s birth is actually a really big deal. The second coming of Christ is an equally big deal. We often feel like the playing and singing and imagining can happen for children but, as grown ups, we have mastered the whole “waiting thing”. We never have a mean word to say when sitting on hold with the credit card company or stuck in holiday traffic, right?
If you have not mastered waiting you are not alone. The lectionary readings this week continue to follow the stories of waiting throughout Scripture. In Matthew, Jesus tells the disciples that their waiting will be long and hard but it will be worth it. In Luke, we see Zechariah and Elizabeth at the end of their waiting and embarking on the next part of their journey. Revelation we hear from John. Though he was exiled to a remote island, God speaks to him and through him to the church.
I pray this season that your waiting will be fun (or, again, at least thought provoking). May your packed calendar of Christmas parties be playful preparation for God’s coming. May the songs you sing in worship, not only be sung because its written in the liturgy but because it is a way to pass through waiting together, imagine what is to come through the one WHO is to come. Waiting is hard whether you are 2 or 92 but we are called to try our best to wait faithfully.
Pray for your own sense of waiting. What are you waiting for in your life?
Pray for God’s Church. How can we play, sing, and imagine God’s Kingdom as we wait for Christ to come again.
Click here to read today’s daily Lectionary reading.
Waiting with Imagination By: Katie Scottfirstpresdalton2020-09-08T16:05:27-05:00
Mark your calendars for extra special Wednesday Night Fellowship Dinner as we celebrate the Advent season together through our “Advent Workshop”. After dinner we will enter the season of waiting through fellowship, arts, prayer, and fun!
Workshop stations include:
an Advent/Christmas themed craft for all ages
Advent liturgy writing with Will Scott
an Advent Prayer Room (hosted by the Worship Committee in the Bakkum Room)
and a Christmas Photo booth.
With joy, peace, hope, and love we join together as a community of faith in anticipation of Christ’s coming. This is bound to be fun. Come celebrate with us!
Dinner will be catered and will cost $10 per adult/$5 per child or $25 for a family with children under the age of 12.
*Child care will be available.*
Tonight! First Wednesday Fellowship Dinner & Advent Workshopfirstpresdalton2020-09-08T16:05:27-05:00
Just in time to get our Advent Celebration off to a good start, the Worship Team with the encouragement of Katie Scott, is offering a Prayer Room to be available throughout Advent.
Upstairs in the Martin House in the Bakkum Room, you will be aided to “Be Still” visually and through your other senses. There will be devotional literature and other helps to direct our praying and meditating.
Beginning on the 1st Sunday of Advent, December 3, and continuing through the 4th Sunday, Dec. 24, the Prayer Room will be available every Sunday morning and weekdays during office hours. Stop by alone or with friends.
Every Wednesday in Advent there will be an opportunity to share a brown bag lunch and conversation with friends in Hollis Hall. Come and hear a brief message related to Advent from the daily lectionary and see if regular lectionary readings might be a good spiritual practice for you.
Wednesday, December 20 @12:00 p.m.
Click HERE for a list of daily readings to reflect on for the season of Advent.