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Responsive Reading:

Today we enter Advent, a season of possibilities, a time of "not yet." But daily lives reflect human struggles. Sometimes we are surrounded by brokenness--in our lives, among our friends and families, in our worldwide family. Hope seems a far-off vision; yet we yearn for it to fill us. We cry together.

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
When hope is lost,
Restore us, o God.
When people are hurting,
Restore us, O God.
When nations are fighting,
Restore us, O God.
When children are hungry,
Restore us, O God.

Restore us, God of Life. Bring us closer to hope, the hope that lights the way on the journey to Bethlehem. During this season of waiting may we be open to signs of your restoring love. As we light this first Advent Candle, let us pray for God's restoration in the midst of brokenness and despair.

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Amen.

 

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Children's Messages

 


Sermon Excerpt

Something’s Coming
based on Luke 21:25-36; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Rev. Karen A. Goltz

            Whenever I read this text, I can’t help but think of a song from West Side Story.  “Could be, Who knows?  There’s somethin’ due any day, I will know right away, soon as it shows!”  There’s a strong sense of excited anticipation through that whole song.  Tony’s been dreaming at night that he’s reaching out for something, something he hasn’t experienced yet, but that he will soon.  It’s just barely out of reach for him, and he doesn’t even know what it is he’s reaching for.  But he can’t wait until it happens.  As Riff is leaving after he’s convinced Tony to be his lieutenant at the war council that night, Riff casually says, “Who knows, maybe what you’re looking for will be at the dance tonight.”  And Tony repeats, “Who knows?”  And then it strikes him, really.  “Who knows?”  And then he starts his song.

            Excited anticipation.  We live in a world of endless possibilities.  Some experiences we seek out, others just sort of happen, sometimes as expected, sometimes out of nowhere, cannon-balling down through the sky, gleam in its eye, bright as a rose.  Who knows?

            Sometimes there are indications that something’s going to happen.  Tony had his dreams each night.  He didn’t know what they meant or what they indicated, but they were enough of a sign to let him know that something was coming.  Luke’s gospel uses trees as an example.  As soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already approaching.  The week before Halloween week I saw the employees at the Hallmark Store putting out their Christmas inventory, and I knew that Christmas was coming.  Now that we’re past Thanksgiving, it seems like Christmas has already taken over.  I haven’t needed to look at a calendar for that; the decorations are signs enough that it’s coming, and it’s coming soon. 

            Could it be?  Yes it could.  Somethin’s comin’, somethin’ good, if I can wait.  Advent is often mistaken as a time of preparation for Christmas.  I mean, look at the timing....Subscribers: click here for the full manuscript
 

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