We received some very positive comments after Sunday’s worship services. Thank you all so much for your willingness to embrace changes and for your continuing support of Grace UMC! It is obvious to me that the Holy Spirit is at work in this place, and this Thanksgiving my life at Grace UMC is on my list of blessings. Even on the toughest days, I sense God’s presence here.
This coming Sunday, November 28, is the first Sunday of the Advent season. This year, I am using an Advent study written by Rev. Magrey DeVega of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa. Rev. DeVega is an excellent writer who has published several topical studies addressing aspects of Christian life. His Advent book is entitled “Awaiting The Already.” Every year during Advent, we “wait” for the coming of Jesus into the world and we reflect on our anticipation. We profess that Jesus’ birth occurred more than two thousand years ago, yet we have specific reasons for waiting for an event that historically has already occurred. As we will see in our Advent messages and worship, the waiting is more about getting our hearts ready for Christ to live within us than it is about waiting for Christ to do anything that He is not already doing.
The first step in “Awaiting The Already” is learning to slow down and pay attention. Ironically, we will learn this from a passage in the fast-paced gospel of Mark. Our readings for this Sunday are Jeremiah 33: 14-16 and Mark 1: 1-8. The message I am working on is entitled “Awaiting the Already: Preparing for Home.” Deep within every human heart is a yearning for a safe place, a spiritual place, that we call home. How do we prepare for this journey? I pray for each of you this Advent season that you sense the presence of Jesus in your life as never before.
Every year, after Thanksgiving weekend is over, it is a sprint to year’s end. This year, I am grateful that with large percentages of our population vaccinated, we can plan for church life in 2022 with a reasonable hope of fewer disruptions. I look forward to sharing some church dinners in 2022, and to seeing more of you in person on campus. While life may never go back to our perception of “normal,” we serve a God who has some good things in store for us all along the way!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! I love you all and I am honored to serve as one of your pastors!
See you Sunday!