From Our Pastor

Advent

Posted 21 November, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

We at First UMC, Martinsville, have done well in recent years in responding to God's call to be in mission in this community and beyond. This was evident this past week as food bags prepared by this church were delivered to local elementary schools for the Thanksgiving holidays - we will do so again before the Christmas break. I am grateful for this growing mission identity and am excited to experience those new ways in which God is calling us to grow in mission.

As I express my gratitude for the mission ministries of the church, I also pray we will grow in our response God's call to be a community that worships. This is my prayer especially as we draw near to the season of Advent.

This is my prayer because we have some powerful experiences of worship planned for this season. The season begins with the Hanging of the Green service on December 2. We then share in the children and puppet program on December 9, as we prepare for a Service of Lesson and Carols on December 23. All of this leading us to two Christmas Eve services, 8pm and 11pm.

In addition to these Sunday services, we are hosting midweek services at noon on each Wednesday during Advent. These services will be held in the sanctuary and will feature Jill Gardner at the organ, music selections from members of the choir, scripture and message, and a brief celebration of the Lord's Supper (services should last about 30 minutes.) I look forward to these times of worship and know they will enrich this holy season. I know these services will bless all who participate, both in this church and in this community.

We will again offer a "Blue Christmas" service. This service will take place on Thursday, December 20, at 6pm in the chapel. This service recognizes that this season is not a happy season for everyone; that for many of us, we feel great loss and grief at this time of year. The choir will sing during this service and Bonnylee Witt, Director of Pastoral Care at the local hospital, will share in the leadership of this service.

This prayer that we find ourselves in worship throughout this season is especially appropriate as we approach this Sunday. This Sunday is the final Sunday of the church year; Christ the King Sunday. We share from the first chapter of Revelation, a writing that presents numerous scenes of worship. With this Sunday and its powerful witness before us, we are blessed to have a brass quintet, "The Brass 5," share in worship at the 11am service (I invite you to arrive early, as the quintet will offer a generous prelude to the service.)

God has blessed us more than we realize with gifts for mission and worship. In this season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful to God to serve and worship God with you. In this season, I pray we find ourselves gathered together as a worshipping community, preparing to receive the One before whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess as Lord and Savior.