November 2010


I Thessalonians 2:13-20

We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.  For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews,  who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last.
 

As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you–in person, not in heart–we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face.  For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again–but Satan blocked our way.  For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?  Yes, you are our glory and joy!

 

 

  From Rev. Jamie Gump, Madison Avenue Christian Church, Huntington:

With freedom to worship, we don’t experience what this congregation did. Or do we?  We may not be persecuted for our beliefs, but we are challenged.  Our worship, prayer life, and service are challenged by all that pleads for our time and energy.  Do sports, brunches or kids’ activities pull you away from worship?  Do your job, TV and social life leave no time for prayer?  Are you so busy that you cannot find time for acts of service? 

We could point fingers of blame at all that grabs for our precious time, but truly it’s our choice.  So, will it be said that God’s message is visibly at work in you?  Will people give thanks that you are a glorious crown of hope and joy? 

Lord, help us consider our choices

 as we prepare this season to celebrate your coming.

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Psalm 122

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
     Jerusalem–built as a city that is bound firmly together.
         To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel,
              to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
     For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
 
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
     “May they prosper who love you.
      Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”
      For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”
      For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.

 

From Rev. David T. Chafin, Deputy Regional Minister:

When I get that mushy feeling listening to “Home for the Holidays,” I realize just how foreign it is to our culture to imagine this season as something focused on anything but house and home.  Yet it is not our houses but God’s home that is at the heart of Advent – more specifically, God’s coming to this world with redemption for the household of Israel…and for the world.

The words of praise, prayer, and peacemaking in the Psalm call me back to the Source of all of this season’s promise, so that our old house on Ann Street and all of earth’s dwellings may have new meaning as signs of God’s loving and redeeming presence in the world – true signs of comfort and joy – holy hospitality.

 

May we seek you and find you, O God,

bringing life to the world and meaning to our dwellings upon this earth.

 

Isaiah 2:1-5

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, 
      and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
    “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob;
     that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
     they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks;
     nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
Hymn Reflection

Rejoice, rejoice, believers, and let your lights appear;
the evening is advancing, and darker night is near.
The Bridegroom is arising, and soon he draweth nigh;
up, pray, and watch, and wrestle: at midnight comes the cry.

See that your lamps are burning; replenish them with oil;
and wait for your salvation, the end of earthly toil.
The watchers on the mountain proclaim the Bridegroom near;
go meet him as he cometh, with alleluias clear.

O wise and holy virgins, now raise your voices higher,
until in songs of triumph ye meet the angel choir.
The marriage feast is waiting, the gates wide open stand;
rise up, ye heirs of glory, the Bridegroom is at hand.

Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear!
Arise, thou Sun so longed for, over this benighted sphere!
With hearts and hands uplifted, we plead, O Lord, to see
the day of earth’s redemption that brings us unto thee.

                                       Laurentius Laurenti, 1660-1722, tr. Sarah Findlater

Matthew 24:36-44:  

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.  Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left.   

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

  From Rev. Dr. William B. Allen, Regional Minister Emeritus:

These Advent days are all about being ready for the coming of … Well, really they are replete with comings (Advent means “coming”):

  • The coming to fulfillment of the prophets’ visions
  • The coming of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem 
  • The coming of the baby Jesus
  • The coming of angels, shepherds, and kings 
  • The coming of Christmas – with all its layers of meaning
  • The coming of peace and goodwill on earth
  • The coming of God almighty in new and unexpected ways

You can surely add to this list of things that come to us in Adventide.

There are so many things going on when the church stops to contemplate the birth of the Christ, that we cannot comprehend them all.  But we surely want to be present to and participate in as many of these gifts as possible.  This urgent text from Matthew’s gospel alerts us to the importance of our being prepared, ready, alert so that we do not miss the Advent, the coming of  all that God chooses to send to us with the Nativity of the Lord.  A great hymn of the Advent season is “Wake, Awake for Night is Flying.”  That’s exactly theme of this season.  Be awake, because our God is breaking into the darkness with marvelous light.  Let’s be alert to receive God’s gift. 

Awaken us, coming God, to the promises and power of this season.

Friends, it seems that some of you have received a sneak preview of next Tuesday’s devotion.  There’s no extra charge for it, but apologies to those who will receive it twice, especially given its authorship.  Looking forward to our time together in Advent…even if a bit early!

David Chafin, Editor

As we look forward to the coming of Advent and our daily posts from WV Disciples ministers, we’d like to introduce a site designed specifically for worship planners and leaders.  Life in Liturgy will be shaped over the coming months to help Christian worship leaders explore articles of interest, as well as weekly links and new materials (and share their own) for enriching the liturgy.  Your visits and comments are always welcome.  Each entry for Sundays (and other commemorations of the lives of the apostles and Holy Family – and even a few for Disciples of Christ founders) will be accompanied by lectionary references, prayers and other helpful materials.  At present, Advent 1 is posted and future days are in the works. 

Meanwhile, prepare to begin receiving daily devotions from Prayerscapes beginning late evening on Saturday.  Please share the link to this page with others.

If you receive this information via email, you do not need to respond or follow its instructions, but if you’re visiting the Mountain Prayerscapes site in preparation for Advent and you have not previously subscribed, now is the time to do it!  Just follow the directions on the right panel of this page, and don’t forget to check your spam filter or junk-mail box for the confirmation mailing.  Then watch for the Advent daily emails to begin late in the evening of Nov. 27. 

Congregations will receive paper versions of the devotions for print distribution in mid-November.  If you wish to download a paper copy for yourself or for a friends, just visit the Regional Homepage.

Qustions?  Contact Rev. David Chafin.