Services at 10:30 am every Sunday
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Sermons from December 2018


propose to you that the faithful Christmas stance is one of brightness — of focusing on what is positive instead of feeding hopelessness, negativity and fear as we regard both the present and the future. This is not Pollyanna, pie-in-the-sky, cheap grace, rose-colored glasses. It is true hope.


A counter-cultural, faithful, Advent-observant mindset is one that cultivates calm in the face of the chaos, and the division, and the pride, and the fear. It does not get drawn into heated and disrespectful debate, but calmly speaks truth. Like a lighted candle in a dark room, it does not need a megaphone to draw the right kind of attention. It is not an approach which buries one’s head in the sand in the face of so much injustice, but stands calmly and firmly on the ground of love. It refuses to get caught up in fear, refuses to drown in a sea of hopeless.


Some people are rather uncomfortable with the word holy — at least they are uncomfortable about applying the word to themselves. Striving for holiness is all well and good for someone other who wants to become a nun or a pastor. But holiness as a personal goal for a “regular” person? That’s too much, too high of a standard. People also chafe at the concept of holiness when it gets tangled up with self righteousness. The term “holy” has come to be associated with people who are judgmental, who lord their supposed moral superiority over others, who claim that they are going to heaven while others are not. I want to encourage you to lay those notions aside, and consider a different picture of holiness.


For me, the observance of Advent is about being profoundly counter-cultural. Even if it is only for a day a week, or a morning, or an evening. It’s stepping away from the mall, away from the smartphone, away from the television and away from the computer. It’s stopping to listen, not only to the whisperings of God, but to the deep yearnings that are conveyed in the earth’s sighs and in those of the most tired and weary and grief-stricken among us. When we are quiet and still, we become aware again of how fragile and precious life is, and how carefully and purposefully we need to direct our time, attention and resources to the building of life and peace, to the multiplication of compassion and kindness.