Imprisoned and discouraged, John the Baptist asked if Jesus really was the long-expected Anointed One. “Maybe it’s not Jesus, and we should continue looking for him,” John remarked. When we are discouraged and struggling to make sense out of our life, it is tempting to wonder that too. How did Jesus answer John’s question, and how is that answer relevant for us today?
The 2nd Sunday of Advent will begin with the lighting of the “Candle of Peace”. We then follow with lots of music as we celebrate the season of Advent and the birth of Christ.
Somehow in the midst of the music Rev. Karen Gatlin brings her message from Isaiah & Matthew:
Isaiah promises that a righteous branch shall grow out of the shoot of Jesse—a branch bringing justice and peace to all of creation. In Advent, Christians prepare to receive this branch in the birth of Jesus. Matthew warns that the peace promised by Isaiah will be accompanied by the destruction of the wicked. Indeed, the axe is already lying at the root of the tree. In the name of the one who baptizes us with fire and the Holy Spirit, it is time to lead lives worthy of repentance. Such living promises us hope for the future.
Our Liturgist in non other that Mr. John Gatlin (yes, Karen’s husband).
Looks like a busy day as Rev. Nancy Bacon joins us this First Sunday of Advent where we will also celebrate communion in addition to recognizing World Aids Day. If that wasn’t enough we also adorn our tree with the symbols of Jesus Christ during our Chrismon Service. Did I mention the kids in the cute animal masks? Rev. Nancy also brought along a few folks to help out with the service today. Dr. Steve Bacon (husband), Whitney Bacon (daughter), Katy & Evan Rodriquez (friends of Whitney). Let’s give them a warm SLO UCC welcome! From the lighting of the first advent Candle (Hope) until we sing the last hymn and the benediction it should prove to be an eventful morning!
Our Jewish ancestors faced the insurmountable challenge of rebuilding Jerusalem after their Babylonian captivity was over, and yet they trusted that God would help them restore their great city and rediscover their identity. Advent is the time of the Christian year in which we wait on God and trust that God will continue to help us rebuild our individual lives and our shared world. It is our time to rebuild with God’s help.
Congratulations Jason! He has been recently approved for ordination and is a Member in Discernment with The United Church of Christ. For more about Jason – Just click on his picture!
Once again, Jesus ignores the social conventions of his day in the parable of the widow and the unjust judge. She is the most vulnerable; he the most powerful. She is expected to remain silent. He is to be shown respect. Yet, when she was being treated unjustly, she demanded the judge to hear her case against her opponent. The unjust judge, tired of hearing her, finally grants her justice. The widow is a model of faithfulness for us, someone who refused to give up and who learned to be more than her culture expected or allowed her to be. As contemporary followers of Jesus, we are to continue seeking justice in our own context, and have been empowered by God to be more than our culture expects or allows us to be.
Jason’s message will be based upon Luke 16:19-31: the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. This is a parable in which Jesus turns the beliefs of his culture upside down and teaches that it is the “anonymous” person who will find fulfillment. The “important” people who do not help the vulnerable will themselves become “anonymous.” We know only humble Lazarus’ name; the rich man was never given a name that would be remembered. It is by serving the vulnerable in our own day that we discover life that is really life. We discover compassion that frees us from egotism and we discover new possibilities for ourselves. Service frees us from the anxieties of the future and of meaninglessness. Jesus, who served all in his day, is our model for us as we strive to serve the vulnerable in our day.
Shes back and she brought family with her! Rev. Nancy Bacon once again returns and shares her inspiration from Luke 15. Using the Parables of “The Lost Sheep” and “The Lost Coin”, she talks about how God actively seeks us when we’re lost and rejoices when we’re found. We are precious to God.
Rev. Nancy is bringing another special guest with her this week, Dr. Steve Bacon. Steve will serve as our our Liturgist and we look forward to this husband and wife ministry team.
But wait, there’s one more! Rev. & Dr. Bacon’s daughter Whitney shares a special song with us!
Come on down and join us as we “Joyfully Rejoice” with The Giver of Immortal Gladness that fills us with the light of day!
On Aug 11th we welcomed for the first time Rev. Karen Gatlin. Her message was from Hebrews 11 “Touchstone of The Eternal”. Truly a time of celebration of the Holy One as she spoke on our journey through life and the many obstacles we may encounter.
Margaret Montgomery plays her harp and there was also a special duet with Margaret and Tim Treaster.
Rev. Nancy Bacon one of our most popular speakers, returns yet again as she shares from the book of Amos. Rev. Bacon takes a basket of fruit and a pair of fancy shoes and speaks of justice and how we should treat others.
Please join us for worship this Sunday at 10:30 for a music-filled service! Along with our special musical guests, our very own Leslie Cotham will share her inspiration taken from one of her favorite Melissa Etheridge’s songs. A truly powerful and spiritual Sunday awaits you!