From Our Pastor

Advent Season

Posted 30 November, 2017 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

As a follow up to last Sunday's "Falling of the Ceiling," service, this Sunday will feature the "Hanging of the Green." (In case you did not know, a part of the third floor ceiling collapsed during the sermon at the 11am service last Sunday. I'm being blamed for "bringing the house down;" I think the choir, with all their majestic voices, is more at fault.) Regardless, the ceiling is under repair.

I am excited again for the "Hanging of the Green" service to usher us into the season of Advent. I believe the symbolism of the service to be a powerful witness to the gospel as it is proclaimed in this season. I am grateful for the Advent Wreath and its light to be before us; grateful for a season of preparation and anticipation as we await the one born as savior of us all. I hope you will take part in the various ministries the church offers in this season; ministries of worship, music, study, and service.

As part of the Hanging of the Green Service, the word to be proclaimed comes to us from Mark 13:24-37. This word sounds strange, speaking as it does of the second coming of Christ, as we prepare for his first coming. Yet as this word is proclaimed, we are reminded that with the first coming of Christ, life as we know it is changed entirely: nothing remains the same with the appearance of the one born as Son of God.

I believe the Advent Devotional that includes contributions from many of you is a wonderful gift to accompany us through the Advent Season. If you have not picked up one of these devotionals, I hope you will do so this Sunday. I enjoyed discussion about these devotions and the season of Advent as we met this past Tuesday at noon. All are welcome to join this this discussion - and lunch! - as we meet again this Tuesday at noon in the Uptown Ministry Center.

I'm very grateful to the ladies of the "Women of Psalms" for providing supper for the families and staff of the Early Learning Center next Tuesday. This is a great gift of hospitality, and also reminds us of the wonderful ministry that is the Early Learning Center. Laura Elkins and the members of her staff are to be blessed and affirmed for their good work.

There have been some questions about the "Blue Christmas" service to be offered in the church chapel at 6pm. The questions are understandable, as this service has not been offered here previously.

The "Blue Christmas" service is a service of remembrance and hope. In particular, this service recognizes that in the midst of a season which speaks of "glad tidings of joy" and the gathering of family and friends, there are those of us who experience terrible loss in this season. The loss may be of loved ones, of a job, of good health, of home, of friends. Remembering that the "word became flesh and dwelt with us" in all circumstances, we claim the presence of God in our midst on this longest night of the year. All are welcome to this service.

I hope to see you soon, as we journey to the birth of Jesus together.