Dear Grace Family:
This Gracevine note will cover the next two weeks. We are entering the Thanksgiving and Advent season this coming week, and it is a time of reflecting upon and waiting in anticipation of the transforming love of God.
This Sunday, November 22, our scripture passages are Psalm 100 and Ezekiel 34: 11-16. The message is entitled “Hound of Heaven.” If you read the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, you will see prophecies of doom followed by the hope that comes from God as a loving shepherd pursuing the sheep. Sometimes we must be out of all other options before we turn to God in Christ. It was as true thousands of years ago as it is now.
Sunday, November 29 is the first Sunday of Advent. Our scripture passages will be Isaiah 64: 1-9 and Mark 13: 24-37. The message is entitled “Keep Awake.” My prayer for all of us this Advent season is that we slow down and soak in the meaning of incarnation. Incarnation is the word we use to describe God’s choice to come and live as one of us, “in the flesh.” How is your life different because of God’s presence on earth in the person of Jesus? When you read the gospels, do you remind yourself that when you read about Jesus, you are reading about God?
I know this is an unusual Thanksgiving. It is my prayer that despite all the challenges and sorrows that we face, we choose gratitude over complaining, hope over despair, and mercy over vengeance. I am confident that this is the approach Jesus would take.
Some folks have asked when we will open a second live worship service on Sundays. The current plan is to offer an 8am or 8:30am service sometime in January, depending upon Covid numbers. We are also going to begin offering the online Sunday service on Facebook at both the 8am and 11am times. God willing, that online earlier option will begin this Sunday, November 22.
May God keep and bless you and your families this Thanksgiving week.
In Christ’s love, Pastor Steve Hart