The Journey Continues on our ADVENT TRIP
We continue our journey through Advent–this year focused on prayer. Prayer as a TRIP – Thanksgiving – Regrets – Intercession – Purpose
As we light the third candle on the Advent wreath this Sunday. There are plenty of intercessions due the coronavirus pandemic. Some visitors to our church were not there this Sunday because they were a part of Thanksgiving celebrations that left them exposed to COVID-19. The dangers to our population are quite acute in this holiday time. So, we wait for vaccines which are on their way hopefully. Meanwhile, we pray for those affected physically, financially, psychologically.
This will be a Christmas like no other. I have fond memories of Christmas past.
Memories of all the cousins, in their younger years, together in one home, opening gifts with expectant eyes;
Memories sharing a shrimp plate between Christmas Eve services and my daughter, years ago, saving the 11 pm service on Christmas Eve by running the Power point and sound when no one showed up;
Memories of our whole family joining in providing music for one of the Christmas Eve services at Faith in Menifee, just two years ago.
Memories of last year, caroling with Lucas who ran with his brother Joey to the greet the shut-ins, the Christmas party at church, the Christmas concert and worship music, the fabulous preschool Christmas presentation.
Christmas, this year, is a shadow of former years. The shadows do come in life. Those of you who have live long have known many “shadow” times. For example, the depression of the 30’s and the WWII years when Christmas was quite different and the song “I will be home for Christmas” hit a chord, because so many were not home. There are national shadows, there are personal shadows as well, loved ones fading into shadow through drugs, dementia, disagreements.
The date of Christ’s birth is an unknown. Perhaps it was in the spring when the shepherd would more likely be grazing flocks. The early church, though, chose the December date so that the celebration of Christmas could be an opportunity to push back against the growing darkness of the winter sun in the northern hemisphere.
Prayer is a way to push back against the darkness, even if all our intercessions are not answered as we hoped. Our prayer life can be deepened in the shadows. We cannot push away all the shadows but we can bring them to the light. We bring to our awareness and before God the desires of our hearts and the darkness is lessened.
The “I” in TRIP prayers is for intercession. It is the portion of prayer dedicated to naming our hurts, hopes and need of healing, thus allowing the light to shine upon it. Sometimes these prayers are answered in wondrous ways. Other times, just the process of prayer brings illumination. John the Baptist, Paul and Isaiah all lived through shadow times and yet found a way to be bathed in the light. They join us this week to aid us in our journey through the shadows. Our services both here at Faith and on our website are opportunities for word, worship and music to bath us in the Light.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor John Bunge
MEMBER UPDATES AND CONTINUAL PRAYERS
- Glenda Kirker had her surgery, it was cancer, continue your prayers.
- Geri is feeling relieved, pneumonia, not COVID.
- Continue prayers for Lynda.
- Michael Shea’s daughter, Rebecca, requesting prayer as she ponders her future.
- Carol Jensen’s Great-grandson, six-year-old, Jameson Collins, who just came through a diagnostic procedure.
- Becky Malinowski continues her treatments for a reoccurrence of cancer and is doing well with them.
- Carol Fultz’ sister, Barbara Colangelo, who lives in NJ, underwent surgery, to amputate her leg from just below the knee. She now has COVID.
- Nelsonand Karen’s friend, Mike, is disabled and on dialysis.
- Thanks for your prayers, Pastor John’s Mother, Myrene, age 99, is now back in skilled nursing.
WORSHIP – NEW TIME 10:00 a.m.
Per state regulations, we are meeting outside under Gazebos. The weather was nice last week, especially at our new hour of 10 am. Next Sunday is supposed to be sunny and 68. We are fortunate to live in southern California. There is not a lot of opportunity for outdoor worship in St. Peter, MN, where one of my sisters lives.
These days will pass, we strive to stay safe. Easter is April 4, 2021 next year, perhaps by then we will be back inside, without the need to be masked or distant. Meanwhile, outside here is nice. Our website is available and I will also pass along other opportunities for worship and music. Pat Motschall texted this one to me from Redlands University – Feast of Lights at www.redlands.edu/virtual-feast.
PANTRY THANK YOU
Our next pantry day is this Saturday, December 12th. We have turkeys a plenty. The entire distribution this time will be coming from Feeding American San Bernardino/Riverside with our thanks.
- Thanks to Lou and Debi Hitter and grandson, Bryce, and Joe Koenig, Steve Cady and pastor for putting together the third metal Gazebo and putting up solar lights. This makes a wonderful shelter for our Sunday service, our NA groups and our Christmas Eve service, which will be at 4:30 p.m.
- We are continue working on the landscaping in front of the church. This week we will be putting up new poles for our seasonal signs.