NEWSLETTER

December 2019

 

Advent 2019

As has been written over and over, Advent is a

season for preparation. We take time to reflect on

scripture relating to the coming of the Christ

Child on Christmas. Then too we need to prepare

ourselves for the Second Coming of our Lord.

The writers of the Old Testament and the New

Testament bring into focus the continuing work of

the Messiah who is expected to come and deliver

His ultimate destiny and work, the salvation of

man. The prophecies found in the Old Testament

of this Savior’s deliverance of mankind from the

Fall bring us to the first coming of Christ. In the

New Testament we get the realization of the

Suffering Servant of Isaiah found in his prophecy

as the one God has sent to redeem us and then

on His return to come in splendor, power and

majesty to judge and reign.

 

Hebrew scripture is very old. We can go back

2000 years to the birth of Christ. Then we can go

back another 2000 years to the patriarchs and the promises to Abraham and his seed. Then we can

go back 2000 more years to the creation stories and the compilation of these stories in first book

of Genesis by Moses.

 

As we read in Genesis everything goes well in creation in chapters 1 and 2. Then we have the

temptation of man and the fall. The relationship between God and Adam and Eve is destroyed.

They can no longer live in the Garden of Eden as they have been cursed and expelled from the

garden. Their lives will now be ones of work and toil and a separation from God. In Genesis 3:15

we read of the coming hope of the “seed” who will defeat the serpent identified as the evil one of

the world. With this hope of a Messiah, God promises to accomplish three tasks. Evil will be destroyed along with the influence of evil. Creation will be restored to its state found in the beginning of life in the Garden. And God will once again dwell with his people just as he did previously with Adam and Eve .

 

These three promises are developed greatly throughout the rest of the Old Testament as we come to the promise to Abraham. God again promises to accomplish three tasks. Destroy evil through the seed of Abraham. Restore creation by the blessing of all nations. And allow God to dwell with his people forever. So we see God’s first promised hope offered to Adam and Eve prior to the fall is the same hope offered to Abraham.

 

We can see the consistency of God’s Word. Genesis certainly presents us with the hope of the

future “seed” who will bring the world back to the Genesis 1 and 2 state. The first coming is to send

an individual who will come and restore the world.

 

EPIPHANY NEWS

The photo above indicates the weather conditions we experienced during the Thanksgiving week. Jan Rasch’s outside cross was festooned with icicles. That week was to be a busy one at Epiphany. First was the scheduled community Thanksgiving service on Wednesday evening. Unfortunately it began to snow at about three o'clock and we made the disappointing decision to cancel that service. The weather reports were confusing but we did manage to have our congregation’s Thanksgiving dinner at

the church on Thursday. Eighteen of us gathered together to have an abundance of turkey, ham

and delicious side dishes in the grand family style setting.

 

Then we gathered Friday morning to set up the church for our Christmas Cabin sale of holiday

items with vendors ready with their goods. Again the weather intervened and cut down on the

attendance for the Friday and Saturday event. We still had a good time and enjoyed the company

and visitors who weathered the conditions.

 

Sunday was good and Father Frank celebrated the service of the First Sunday of Advent. And we

had the drawing for the stained glass panel and the name out of the jar was Brian Chambers.

Congratulations to him and he can claim his prize.

 

Advent Blessings,

Pastor Fred+

 

From Fr. Frank

GIVING OF GIFTS

The greatest gift of all – Savior and Redeemer! The love of God acted out in a way that many still are

unable, or perhaps unwilling, to understand and accept. The celebration this time of year for us as

Christians is not one in which “. . . visions of sugar plums dance in our heads.” In our celebration, we

welcome the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. Our Advent preparation for His coming accepts that the infant child in the manger in Bethlehem will die on a cross in Jerusalem. We recognize that even as the heavenly chorus proclaims, “Glory to God in the Highest!”, the echo of salvation booms across the centuries, “IT IS FINISHED!” There is no greater gift, made complete in His Resurrection and Ascension.

 

For the most part, Christians in the U.S. track with the culture and join in the giving of gifts at the

season of Christmas. Our gifts, however, can reflect the centrality of our love for Jesus in our lives. This year consider gifts to others (and maybe even to yourself) that will foster growth in your Christian walk and draw you closer to Him Whose birth we celebrate. I find nourishment in daily readings, daily

meditations, and daily prayer. The key word is “daily.” My hunger for Him needs to be fed daily. There

are lots of resources available for daily use. I am familiar with and can recommend any of the following:

 

The Daily Bible, commentary by F. LaGard Smith. I will provide one for you if you wish.

Encounter with God, distr. by Scripture Union. The church has these on hand for your use.

My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. The most popular daily devotional ever

Resources from Bible Reading Fellowship (biblereading.org) or UK (brf.org.uk).

My wife Carolyn also reads Mornings with Jesus and a number of others.

 

The Anglican Book of Common Prayer (2019) provides a useful structure for daily prayer and reading

known as The Daily Office. On page 6, in the section titled CONCERNING THE DIVINE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH, we learn:

Daily Morning Prayer [pp. 11-31] and Daily Evening Prayer [pp. 41-56] are the established

rites (offices) by which, both corporately and individually, God’s people annually encounter

the whole of the Holy Scriptures, daily confess their sins and praise Almighty God, and offer

timely thanksgivings, petitions, and intercessions.

 

Also provided at ABCP, pp. 734-763 is the Daily Office lectionary, setting forth the Scripture readings for each day of the year, Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and Gospel. A good study Bible (like ESV Study Bible by Crossway) is essential for your use. If you prefer using your computer, all of the ABCP resources can be found at anglicanchurch.net, the website of the Anglican Church of North America, and you can use your own online Bible. May you bless others, and receive God’s blessing, in your reading and study each day of 2020!