November '22

November 1

And when day came,

Jesus called his disciples and chose twelve of them…

Luke 6:13a

A blessed All Saints Day to you!

I shared this on Sunday, and as I think about it, I really like it…

On a daily devotion podcast I heard a nice suggestion. Listening to a reading of the story of Jesus naming the 12 Disciples, we were giving an interesting invitation:

“Imagine now that you are standing beside Jesus as he chooses the disciples by name; Simon Peter… Andrew… James… John…”Here’s the part I liked, he said: “Now he says your name.”

Then he asked - “How does it feel to be chosen by Jesus?”

Imagine. Also, know this. You have been called by name, you are God’s chosen child, and you have been called, as a Saint of God, to bear Jesus Christ’s creative and redeeming love to all the world.

Thanks be to God, Pastor Phil

November 2

To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:7

George Forell was a wonderful and insightful theologian who served most of his career as a professor of religion at the University of Iowa.

I got to hear Dr. Forell speak at a retreat in the early 1990’s and I’ve highly valued that experience ever since.

This quote comes from a collection of essays I got afterwards…

To be a Christian means to belong to a community.

Just as in the New Testament the term "saint"

does not occur in the singular but always in the plural,

so it is impossible to be a Christian in splendid isolation.

...Indeed, we are called to community

but the community which God's call establishes

is a community for the world.

The church exists not for itself but for the service of the world.

We belong to the church only if we lose ourselves in service to humankind.

- George Forell “How to speak about God in a Pluralistic World”

Isn’t that great?

I suspect we could reflect on that for quite some time.

Peace, Pastor Phil

November 3

Then Jesus looked up at his disciples and said:

"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 6:20

This coming Sunday is All Saints Day and I thought of this line by spiritual writer and priest, Thomas Merton

The saints are what they are,

not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others,

but because the gift of sainthood

makes it possible for them to admire

everybody else.

Thomas Merton from New Seeds of Contemplation

I like that, and I think it might visit in interesting ways with this African proverb:

“If you want to go fast, walk alone.

If you want to go far, walk together.”

Let’s continue to walk together in faith.

Blessings, Pastor Phil

November 4

And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

Thinking about All Saints Day - All Saints Sunday - the communal nature of our walk of faith and looking ahead to celebrating first Communion with our 4th graders… I want to share this assertion made by Episcopal priest, Father Craig Anderson:

"Human beings do not create community

but are created by it."

Craig B. Anderson

I have a suspicion that this is true.

We are most ourselves in relationship with others.

There is gift here. We have been called to be a part of Trinity Lutheran Church, and we can regularly be re-created in this community of faith.

This also bears a certain difficulty. Relationships are rarely easy, and most everyone in our culture believes we can make it on our own.

Our 4th graders need us. More than they know. More than we know.

And we need them. More than any of us know.

And we need each other, if we are going to be most fully who God has created us to be.

Blessings to you this weekend, and may we find ourselves together praising God, and rejoicing in God’s great gifts to us and all the world. Pastor Phil

November 5

Then Jesus looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,

for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 6:20

Please keep our 4th graders in your prayers, they have their First Communion tomorrow.

Here is a prayer for tomorrow, which is All Saints Sunday

Eternally righteous God, merciful judge of all the living,

in your love you called us to share the glory of Christ.

Strengthen our hearts in every good work and word,

that we may be steadfast in your ways

and always believe your truth. Amen.

Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission.


Confirmation - Affirmation of Baptism

November 6

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00. First Communion for four or our youth, two at each service. The service will be posted online.

The Prayer of the Day

Almighty God,

you have knit your people together in one communion

in the mystical body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints

in lives of faith and commitment,

and to know the inexpressible joys

you have prepared for those who love you,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.


November 7

Then I heard every creature in heaven

and on earth and under the earth

and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,

“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb

be blessing and honor and glory and might

forever and ever!”

Revelation 5:13

Yesterday was All Saints Sunday. In my reading last week, I really liked a sermon by Pastor Rachel Thorson Mithelman. At the time (in 2008) she was serving St. John's Lutheran Church in Des Moines, IA. I wonder if she’s still there.

Her sermon was titled: “Singing on All Saints Sunday.” She told a story of Esther, a member of her congregation who lived for some time in a nursing home. She had lost her hearing as she came to the end of her days. Here I share part of Pr. Thorson Mithelman’s words…

Two days before she died Esther asked one of the nursing assistants,

"Who is singing?" The young woman smiled and shook her head.

The room was quiet, peaceful. "No one is singing, Esther," she said.

But Esther insisted, "Can't you hear the singing?"

This conversation was repeated several times in those last days.

…In that thin place between life and death,

I believe Esther heard the song of resurrection hope,

the echo of the saints

"standing before the throne and before the Lamb...singing,"

as John of Patmos described in his Revelation.

Since Esther's death, the goal of my All Saints preaching has been to help those whom I serve "hear the singing." …Therefore, my task as a preacher is to …ask insistently, "Can you hear the singing?"

• Can you hear the song of forgiveness?

• Can you hear the song of resurrection?

• Can you hear the song of brilliant

and beautiful hope that is ours in Christ?

"Can you hear the singing?"

I give thanks for Esther every All Saints Sunday

Nearly deaf, she reminded me

that there is a song to sing from the pulpit,

a song of hopeful joy in Christ,

no matter what our circumstances may be.

And as always, on this All Saints Sunday

when I step into the pulpit

and look out upon those whom I am called to love and serve,

I am reminded that there is a community yearning to hear it.

That’s some marvelous preaching! May we listen for the song of God’s love, for us, for those we love, and for all the world.

Peace to you, Saints of God, Pastor Phil

November 8

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life,

bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

through the middle of the street of the city.

On either side of the river is the tree of life

with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month;

and the leaves of the tree

are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1-2

The new Church year is just around the corner - (Advent begins on Sunday, Nov. 27th) - these last Sundays of the year, we have readings that speak of the end of all things.

I wonder about how we might look forward to the end… In conversation with colleagues, we noted that while there can be speculation about these things, for most all of us, the end of our days comes before any cosmic end that fits the narrative of some fiery cataclysm like you see in a movie or something like that.

I have a feeling that what we need to know, most of all, is that God is God, who will care for you until the very end. This, in many ways, is the core promise of many “end-times” passages.

Here’s a question: “When Jesus returns, will he bring vengeance, or forgiveness?”

I suspect it is forgiveness.

I love the line from the last chapter of the Bible:

“On either side of the river is the tree of life …and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

Peace to you on this day in which we are privileged to be able to vote!

Pastor Phil

November 9

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

…Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you,

Isaiah 43:1, 4a

I got Laura a silly birthday card that said something on the cover like: “On your birthday you can shout to the world: ‘I AM LOVED!’”

Inside it suggested that one could save embarrassment by just quietly reading the card.


It is fun to laugh about such things, but it is also true that your status as one beloved by God is quite an extraordinary gift. It also speaks a word of grace to the many voices that judge and diminish you.

I like this quote:

Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.

This is the true self.

Every other identity is illusion.

- Brennan Manning

Yes, you are radically beloved by God.

May this Good News accompany you on your journey today!

Blessings, Pastor Phil

November 10

Praise the LORD from the earth,

you sea monsters and all deeps,

fire and hail, snow and frost,

stormy wind fulfilling his command!

Psalm 148:7-8

Perhaps Psalm 148 can help us enjoy the snow a bit more as we consider how all those little snow flakes might be praising God, and fulfilling God’s command!


Let’s pray that those who have to work outside can be warm and well, that all who travel stay safe, and that lots and lots of snow falls on the ski slopes!

I sometimes think our scientific knowledge can cause us to miss the miracle of life itself.

In John chapter 3, Jesus says: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” These days we kind of do know where the wind comes from, and we have a good idea when it will start, how hard it will blow and how long it will last.

This knowledge need not blind us to the wonder of God watering the earth so that we can enjoy the fruit of the earth.

Let us rejoice with the Psalmist in the wonder that God has placed you here to bear God’s love where you can and to enjoy the gifts God gives.

Blessings to you this day, and may you join the snow and frost in praising God. Pastor Phil

November 11

Today is Veteran’s Day. A blessed day to all you who have served our country with love and devotion. Thank you!

This prayer is from The Prayer Book for the Armed Forces, published 9 years ago by the ELCA and our publishing house, Augsburg Fortress.

Almighty and ever-living God,

we give you thanks for the men and women

who have served and defended our country

and the values of freedom and justice we hold so dear.

Help us be mindful of the sacrifices they made

and the hardship endured by their families and friends,

so that we never take for granted

the privileges they have secured for us.

Hear us, we pray,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


(ELW The Prayer Book for the Armed Forces p. 66)

November 12

They asked him,

“Teacher, when will this be,

and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

And [Jesus] said,

“Beware that you are not led astray;

for many will come in my name and say,

‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’

Do not go after them.

Luke 21:7-8

As we come to the last few weeks of the Church year, we hear from scripture texts that speak of the end of all things. Many who talk about “The Endtimes” have become caught up in rather … let me call them ‘detailed’ readings of what God has in store for us.

Revelation, and other “Apocalyptic literature” is not intended to map out exactly what is going to happen. (Left Behind and all the other stuff like that is, in the opinion of many who study the scriptures, nonsense. The very sort of thing Jesus has warned us to ignore.)

Jesus proclaims the most important thing. Something for you to remember today. The future is in God’s hands, and God’s intention for you is life and salvation, love for your neighbor, and praise to God.

May your praise today ring out! Pastor Phil


Luke 21:5-19

It will lead to your giving testimony.


in fall the maple trees give witness to you,

and geese fly a perfect V.


how do

we ourselves


At the end of the day let the work of our hands speak always of you.

Whether we work, eat, play, talk or take time with one another,

let these whisper of life’s fullness and of your goodness.

When we love one another, let the world know

you are here in our midst loving us first.

When our days are done, let our

whole life, all that has been,

be witness to your


Copyright © 2019, Anne M. Osdieck. All rights reserved.

Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use.


Confirmation - Affirmation of Baptism

November 13

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00. The service will be posted online

The Prayer of the Day

O God,

the protector of all who trust in you,

without you nothing is strong, nothing is holy.

Embrace us with your mercy,

that with you as our ruler and guide,

we may live through what is temporary

without losing what is eternal,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


November 14

The Psalm yesterday was Psalm 98.

I invite you to take some time to reflect on these words of the Psalmist for the week ahead.

Blessings to you today. Pastor Phil

O sing to the LORD a new song,

for he has done marvelous things.

His right hand and his holy arm

have gotten him victory.

The LORD has made known his victory;

he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness

to the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen

the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;

break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,

with the lyre and the sound of melody.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn

make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

the world and those who live in it.

Let the floods clap their hands;

let the hills sing together for joy

at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming

to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with righteousness,

and the peoples with equity.

November 15

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind,

not reluctantly or under compulsion,

for God loves a cheerful giver

II Corinthians 9:7

I liked this reflection from the daily devotion from WELCA, Daily Grace

Free From the Love of Wealth

Hebrews 13:5-6 advises:

“Keep your lives free from the love of money,

and be content with what you have;

for he has said,

‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’

So we can say with confidence,

‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.

What can anyone do to me?’

God has given us life, forgiveness, grace. How do we respond?

This text reminds us that our response should be one of confidence;

that we should not be afraid of what may lie ahead,

but instead believe that our confidence in God

can be exemplified through our sacrifice,

embodied in our stewardship.

Free from the love of wealth and our own possessions,

we are empowered to share God’s grace and hope

for the sake of others.

This message is an excerpt from “Thanking God for 20 Years” by Emily Hansen in the October 2007 issue of Lutheran Woman Today, now Gather magazine

Those who have best taught me about stewardship and giving, have made clear that our giving is a joyful response to God’s great generosity to us, and God’s never failing love.

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil

November 16

And this is the name by which he will be called:

"The LORD is our righteousness."

Jeremiah 23:6

This coming Sunday is Christ the King Sunday. The last Sunday of the Church year, we crown the year with a commemoration of the fact that God has sent Jesus to establish God’s reign of love and forgiveness, life and salvation.

In our first reading on Sunday, the prophet Jeremiah proclaims that God will provide one to shepherd the lost sheep. This new king will be known as “the Lord is our righteousness.” In this way, God will establish a new way of righteousness for all of God’s people.

I liked this reflection by Dr. Fred Gaiser, a now retired professor at Luther Seminary; our seminary in St. Paul:

God promises to begin anew in every generation it seems,

and now, with the introduction of Christ the King,

Christ the Good Shepherd,

Christ the Messiah,

we proclaim and confess a new beginning that transforms us all —

indeed, that transforms the world.

Commentary on Jeremiah 23:1-6 - Fred Gaiser Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Luther Seminary

May God’s transforming love abide with you all day!

Peace, Pastor Phil

November 17

Then he said,

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

Luke 23:42

This coming Sunday, Christ the King Sunday, is the last Sunday of the Church year. We will hear the crucifixion story from the Gospel of Luke.

We live under the irony of God’s unexpected ways in the world. To establish God’s power and life, God works through weakness and death in the terror of the cross.

We crown the year with a proclamation of the surprising kingship of Jesus, who suffered and died and rose again…

Here are some powerful words from Dr. David Lose, who now serves as a pastor in a congregation in Minneapolis.

What kind of king is this,

who welcomes a criminal into his realm

and promises relief and release amid obvious agony?

It is a king who refuses to conform

to the expectations of this world,

who will be governed neither by its limited vision of worthiness

nor its truncated understanding of justice.

It is a king who is not content to rule from afar,

but rather comes to meet us in our weakness and need.

It is a king willing to embrace all,

forgive all,

redeem all,

because that is his

deepest and truest nature.

It is,


our king,

come to usher us into his kingdom

even as he implores us to recognize

and make more manifest

that kingdom already around us.

Dear Working Preacher - David Lose - 2010

May your dwelling in the kingdom of God, manifest in the love of God flowing generously into your day.

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil

November 18

Then he said,

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

Luke 23:42

Sunday is Christ the King Sunday.

I’ve shared some insightful commentary from a couple of wonderful preachers the last couple of days. I have some more… this, again, from Pastor David Lose.

He is speaking about how God’s reign in the world calls us to live under God’s rule of love. God’s gift makes an amazing claim on our lives.

It's not the ruler that changes, but the realm in which we live.

This makes matters a little more complicated. If proclaiming …"Christ is Lord," …meant simply giving our allegiance to a different ruler,

then most of our lives could remain untouched.

As long as we didn't swear allegiance to some Caesar or king, that is, we could more or less conduct business as usual

and conceive of faith as a largely private affair.

But the kingdom –

or, maybe better, realm – of God that Jesus proclaims

represents a whole new reality where nothing is the same –

not our relationships or rules,

not our view of self or others,

not our priorities or principles –


Everything we thought we knew about kings and kingdoms,

in fact, gets turned right on its head.

- David Lose, Pastor Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis

Today I will have the sad privilege of presiding at my aunt’s funeral in Minneapolis. My Aunt Marion was one who loved her family deeply, and always delighted to see my siblings and me. She loved Jesus, and if I think about it, in the Kingdom of God, this person whose passing goes largely unnoticed by the world, in the kingdom, she will receive a welcome fitting for a Queen.

Thanks be to God, Pastor Phil

November 19

Then he said,

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

Luke 23:42

Tomorrow is Christ the King Sunday, worship at 8:30 and 11:00

Here is a prayer based on Luke 23:42. In some traditions, the man who spoke that poignant line: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” is known as Dismas.

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.


with your last breath

you cared for the lost and lonely.


remember us.

Call all of us to mind,

each and every one of us,

when you come into your kingdom!

We entrust ourselves, with Dismas, to you,

to your infinite love and mercy, and

like him, we ask simply:



Christ the King Sunday

November 20

It is Christ the King Sunday today, the last Sunday of the Church year.

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00. The service will be posted on line.

Here is the Prayer of the Day for today.

O God, our true life,

to serve you is freedom,

and to know you is unending joy.

We worship you,

we glorify you,

we give thanks to you for your great glory.

Abide with us,

reign in us,

and make this world

into a fit habitation for your divine majesty,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.


November 21

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.

Luke 23:33

It is a bit jarring to hear the story of Jesus’ crucifixion right before Advent. Yet here, in this sad coronation, Jesus takes his place of savior of the world. I like this line from our closing hymn at the 8:30 service yesterday:

Crown him the Lord of love -

behold his hands and side,

rich wounds yet visible above,

in beauty glorified.

No angels in the sky

can fully bear that sight,

but downward bend their burning eyes

at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him with Many Crowns - ELW Hymn #855 - Text: Matthew Bridges, 1800-1894

This is a nice reminder that the Gospel bears a wonder that is so amazing and remarkable, angels catch their breath.

May you find breathtaking gratitude this week of Thanksgiving.

Blessings, Pastor Phil

November 22

For it was you who formed my inward parts;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

that I know very well.

Psalm 139:13-14

As we venture toward Advent and Christmas, I think part of what captures our hearts is that this is a season for us to take note of the wonder of God’s creation and our life in God’s grace. I took a look at quotes I have set aside that use the word “wonder.”

I had several, and here are two to fuel your thoughts and prayers today…

Never once in my life did I ask God for success

or wisdom or power or fame.

I asked for wonder,

and he gave it to me.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

It is not the task of Christianity

to provide easy answers to every question,

but to make us progressively

aware of a mystery.

God is not so much the object of our knowledge

as the cause of our wonder.

Kallistos Ware

May the wonder of God’s love and the majesty of God’s creation be a great gift to you today.

Blessings, Pastor Phil

November 23

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…

And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly;

…with gratitude in your hearts sing …hymns …to God.

And whatever you do, in word or deed,

do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3

As we look ahead to Thanksgiving, I like this quote from Thomas Merton who is described as an “American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist and scholar of comparative religion.” That’s a lot, and he has so very much to offer…

“To be grateful

is to recognize the Love of God

in everything He has given us

- and He has given us everything.

Every breath we draw is a gift of His love,

every moment of existence is a grace,

for it brings with it immense graces from Him.

Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted,

is never unresponsive,

is constantly awakening to new wonder

and to praise of the goodness of God.

For the grateful person knows that God is good,

not by hearsay but by experience.

And that is what makes all the difference.”

Thomas Merton

May your gratitude flow from God’s great love for you and for all the world. Blessings, Pastor Phil

Prayers: Please keep Joan Diderich in your prayers. Joan’s mother Jean Ahlstrom, died Monday morning. Joan and Irv had made the trip to Minnesota and were with her in her last days. Her funeral will be on Monday at Community Lutheran Church in Geneva, MN

November 24

“And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:15

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Here is the Prayer of the Day for Thanksgiving:

Almighty God our Father,

your generous goodness comes to us new every day.

By the work of your Spirit lead us

to acknowledge your goodness,

give thanks for your benefits,

and serve you in willing obedience,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


Blessings to you and yours! Pastor Phil

November 25

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Matthew 25:40

I think often of a comment Mother Theresa made in an interview I read a long time ago. The reporter asked her something like: “For what are are you most grateful?”

I thought perhaps she should say something about the Gospel, about God’s gift of sending Jesus to save us…

Her response was more like this. “I am most grateful for the poor. For through caring for them, I may love my Lord.”

For what are you most grateful? Family, friends, the great freedoms we enjoy and the many blessings that come our way. They all are part of the gifts for which we give thanks.

Let us join Mother Theresa, in gratitude for the great gift that God has given us. The gift of calling us to respond to the outpouring of God’s love in Jesus Christ, by pouring ourselves out in love for the world.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

November 26

Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord…

When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified;

and fear overwhelmed him.

But the angel said to him,

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard.

Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,

and you will name him John

Luke 1:11-13

Tomorrow we begin the new year with the First Sunday of Advent. We will hear the story of the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah. Promises kept, and expectations fulfilled.

I hope to see you at worship at 8:30 or 11:00.

A Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent:

God of justice and peace,

from the heavens you rain down mercy and kindness,

that all on earth may stand in awe and wonder

before your marvelous deeds.

Raise our heads in expectation,

that we may yearn for the coming day of the Lord

and stand without blame before your Son, Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

First Sunday of Advent

November 27

It is the First Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of the new Church year.

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00. The service will be posted on line.

Here is the Prayer of the Day for today.

Stir up your power,

Lord Christ, and come.

By your merciful protection

save us from the threatening dangers of our sins,

and enlighten our walk in the way of your salvation,

for you live and reign

with the Father and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.


November 28

Those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

I liked this Advent devotion from Henry Nouwen, and I thought I would share it with you today.

In our personal lives,

waiting is not a very popular pastime.

Waiting is not something we anticipate

or experience with great joy and gladness!

In fact, most of us consider waiting a waste of time.

Perhaps this is because

the culture in which we live is basically saying,

"Get going! Do something!

Show you are able to make a difference!

Don't just sit there and wait!"

So, for us and many people,

waiting is a dry desert between

where we are and where we want to be.

We do not enjoy such a place.

We want to move out of it

and do something worthwhile.

Dear Lord, help me be patient as I await your arrival.

Henri Nouwen -

There is something holy about waiting, and yet, I am terrible at it. Perhaps you, too, have a difficult time waiting.

As we wait for this Advent to take its shape, and as we wait for God to reveal God’s own self as one who loves us and calls us to new life, may our Advent waiting open our eyes to God’s great love - for you and for all the world.

A blessed Advent to you. Pastor Phil

November 29

Those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Pretty much every single year, I need to be reminded that in its essence, Advent is a season of waiting. I suspect that faithful waiting calls for a bit of attentiveness on our part.

Here are two insights on waiting to share with you today:

The great believers

have been the unwearied waiters.

Harry Emerson Fosdick

A prison cell,

in which one waits, hopes,

does various unessential things,

and is completely dependent on the fact

that the door of freedom

has to be opened from the outside,

is not a bad picture of Advent.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison,

Blessings to you today, Pastor Phil

November 30

Luke 1:18-20

Zechariah said to the angel,

“How will I know that this is so?

For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.”

The angel replied,

“I am Gabriel.

I stand in the presence of God,

and I have been sent to speak to you

and to bring you this good news.

But now, because you did not believe my words,

which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute,

unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”

Luke 1:18-20

In our noon hour class today, we will spend some time reflecting on Zechariah’s time of silence…

I know that it is ironic for someone who talks as much as I do to recommend a time of silence as a part of our walk with God, but here we are. I blame Luke for telling us this amazing story…

Have you ever heard a musical performance that was so transcendent, that when the music comes to a halt, the performance hall is silent for a few beats, before the audience begins to applaud? At times like that, I wish we could pause a few more moments. That silence is pregnant with an un-nameable sort of wonder.

I suspect that at times in the months that followed his visit with the angel Gabriel, Zechariah knew a silence like that.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil