Wednesday, November 16, 2016


November 27 … the First Sunday in Advent

We begin our Advent series with a focus on hope!
╬ Hope

Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops – at all –”  She captures the essence of this fluttering of the Spirit in the hearts of people of faith.  It is a force – at once fragile and gentle, but unwavering and unstoppable –  that ministers to our souls.  It speaks to us of goodness when all about seems threatening.  It speaks to us of persistence when despair gnaws at us.  It speaks to us of a light, growing brighter, when shadows crowd round us.  It is the song that accompanies us in the night, promising the dawn.  It is fitting that we begin our Advent journey here – in the place of hope – as we long for the light that is coming.

Here is as bulletin cover image.  Sermon and Reflection Slides are attached.  The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

In the most challenging of times, my hope is in the Lord and the mission we share as a community of faith!

Blessings and peace to you all, 

- Pastor Brad Highum

The following links will work after Sunday Nov 27th, 2016

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------------------------------------

Creating God, we are unafraid and undeterred, for our hope is in you.  Our trust is in your grace, and your goodness.  Hope in you is a light that grows in us, leading us to the fulfillment of your promise of deliverance, redemption and peace.  Amen.

READINGS -----------------------------------------------------------

First Reading:  Isaiah 2:1-5

1 The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  2 In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.  3 Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths."  For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Psalm 122

1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
2 Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem — built as a city that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:  "May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers."
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

Second Reading:  Romans 13:11-14

11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Gospel:  Matthew 24:36-44

36 "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. 

Christ the King Sunday

Worship on November 20, Christ the King Sunday …

╬ King Jesus

The title “king” is used with regard to Jesus in different ways throughout his life, literally from nativity to crucifixion.  Magi follow a star seeking the birthplace of the one born “king of the Jews.”  It becomes a cruel taunt of derision as he hangs upon the cross:  “Hail, ‘king of the Jews’ … save yourself!”  He is honored by the faithful in the words of the prophet – “King of kings and Lord of lords!” – even as Pilate, in a trial for his life, asks him:  “Are you a king?”  Jesus himself defies worldly conceptions of kings.  Yet we proclaim him this day “Christ the King” … even as he his crucified between two thieves.

Here is a bulletin cover image.  Sermon and Reflection Slides are attached.  The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

Here at the turning of the church year, we celebrate the reign of Christ, even as we prepare for his birth among us.

Blessings all, 

- Pastor Brad Highum 
The following links will work after Sunday Nov 20th, 2016
PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------------------------------------

God of all, we proclaim your Son king in a world struggling with oppression and fear, injustice and violence.  Keep your Christ ever before us that his light and love might guide us as we seek his rule and reign in our lives, for the healing of the world.  Amen.

READINGS ----------------------------------------------------------

First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6

23 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.  5 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah 
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth."
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 

Second Reading:  Colossians 1:11-20

11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Gospel:  Luke 23:33-43

33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.[34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."  39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise." 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

To Everything a Season

Worship on Sunday, November 13

We are taking an opportunity here at the end of the church year to connect with the theological calendar that overlays the seasons and cycles of the year.

╬ To Everything a Season

In this change of seasons, we are coming to the end of the church year.  Our chronological calendars chart the natural seasons of the year and keep us centered in the natural cycles of life.  At the same time, we follow a theological calendar of spiritual observance and celebration that keeps us centered in ongoing revelation of God in the world.  Each season brings a beauty and richness of its own, in the cycles of nature, flowing one into another, and in the changing seasons of our relationship with the One who gives us life.  We take time to locate ourselves in the spiritual calendar and to see the way the coming year and the journey of faith unfold before us.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.

We are in a beautiful season of time, in the calendar of chronosand in the spiritual calendar of faith life.  What a blessing to share it all with you!

- Pastor Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------------------------------------

Creating God, the seasons flow in the current of nature and bring shape and meaning to our lives.  Awaken us to the seasons and cycles of our spiritual walk that continually return us and draw us ever closer to you.  Amen.

READINGS -------------------------------------------------------------

First Reading:  Exodus 12:33-42

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hasten their departure from the land, for they said, "We shall all be dead." 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35 The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewelry of silver and gold, and for clothing, 36 and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians.  37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. 38 A mixed crowd also went up with them, and livestock in great numbers, both flocks and herds. 39 They baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt; it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.  40 The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41 At the end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 That was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. That same night is a vigil to be kept for the Lord by all the Israelites throughout their generations.

Responsive Reading:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Second Reading:  Leviticus 23:15-21

15 And from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation offering, you shall count off seven weeks; they shall be complete. 16 You shall count until the day after the seventh sabbath, fifty days; then you shall present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 You shall bring from your settlements two loaves of bread as an elevation offering, each made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of choice flour, baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord. 18 You shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, one young bull, and two rams; they shall be a burnt offering to the Lord, along with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord. 19 You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of well-being. 20 The priest shall raise them with the bread of the first fruits as an elevation offering before the Lord, together with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. 21 On that same day you shall make proclamation; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. This is a statute forever in all your settlements throughout your generations.

Gospel:  Luke 22:7-13

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it." 9 They asked him, "Where do you want us to make preparations for it?" 10 "Listen," he said to them, "when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters 11 and say to the owner of the house, 'The teacher asks you, "Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?" ' 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there." 13 So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

The following links will work after Sunday Nov 13th, 2016