Trinity Connections

Pastor Phil Wold

philwold@gmail.com cell - 307-763-1115

Trinity ConnectionS

WORSHIP SCHEDULE - Sunday worship at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

December 5

Second Sunday of Advent

Today is the Second Sunday Advent.

Sunday worship will be at 8:30 and 11:00. The Prayer of the Day:

Stir up our hearts,

Lord God,

to prepare the way of your only Son.

By his coming

give to all the people of the world

knowledge of your salvation;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

The service is posted online.


December 4

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness—

on them light has shined.

Isaiah 9:2

I really like this insight from the editor of Gather magazine, Elizabeth Hunter.

She wrote, in an introductory article to the December ’20 magazine:

We need a fuller version of Advent

than the simple countdown to Christmas

that …begins as soon as Thanksgiving ends.

We know that Advent is about more than our preparation.

We know that Advent is about what God gifts to us:

a savior who is Christ the Lord.

During Advent,

we look to Christ’s coming into the world –

then in a Bethlehem stable;

now, in Word and Sacrament;

and in the time to come,

when God will make all things new.

Let us watch for Christ’s coming into the world.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil



December 3

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness—

on them light has shined.

Isaiah 9:2

Howard Thurman wrote some beautiful prayers and poems for this season. I have been thinking about the lighting of candles this week, about light in the darkness and the hope of the Gospel.

I saw this blessing by Rev. Thurman and had to share it with you…

I Will Light Candles This Christmas By Howard Thurman

I will light candles this Christmas,

Candles of joy despite all the sadness,

Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,

Candles of courage for fears ever present,

Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,

Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,

Candles of love to inspire all my living,

Candles that will burn all year long.

May the light shine on you, Pastor Phil


December 2

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness—

on them light has shined.

Isaiah 9:2

I like the Advent wreath, with the candles marking the weeks of Advent.

Here are some litanies you might use in daily devotions with a candle lighting for Advent Prayer.


Jesus Christ is the Light of the world.

The light no darkness can overcome.


or


O Lord, open my lips.

And my mouth shall declare your praise.


or


The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and peace at the last.

Amen

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,

to sing praise to your name, O Most High;

to herald your love in the morning,

your truth at the close of the day.


or


Jesus Christ is the Light of the world,

The light no darkness can overcome.

Stay with us, Lord, for it is evening, and the day is almost over.

Let your light scatter the darkness, and shine on your people.

The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe,

who led your people Israel by a pillar of cloud by day

and a pillar of fire by night:

Enlighten our darkness by the light of your Christ;

may his Word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path;

for you are merciful, and you love your whole creation,

and we, your creatures, glorify you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen



December 1

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness—

on them light has shined.

Isaiah 9:2

I mentioned yesterday that when we refer to Advent as a season of light, it might be more accurate to say it is a season light in the darkness.

I am reminded of this quote from the Rev. Dr. Edmund Steimle, who was a seminary professor, pastor, and for 20 years, preacher on the radio show The Protestant Hour.

In his last broadcast he said:

"We are delivered in Christ, not from the darkness,

but from its dominion and power to bury our hopes.

That, as I see it, is the task of preaching,

not to deny the darkness,

but to shed light on our paths

as we walk through the darkness.”

One could reflect on that for the entire Advent season, and more.

Yesterday, I ended the Connections reflection with this wish: “May the Light shine for you.” In my last look at it, after having posted it on Constant Contact, I saw that I had a typo. It said: “May the Light shine off you.”

I was at first so very relieved I caught that mistake, yet, as I thought about it, I wondered if there might be something to that.

May the light on our paths show us the way, and may it reflect off of us, and bear a measure of God’s light to those around us.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

p.s. Thank you to the Kirols for providing the Christmas tree, it’s beautiful!


November 30

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness—

on them light has shined.

Isaiah 9:2

I often think of Advent as a season of light. It might be more accurate to say it is a season light in the darkness. Especially for Christians in the Northern hemisphere, as the nights grow longer, we light candles to shed light in the darkness.

Hanukkah began for our Jewish neighbors on Sunday evening. This festival of lights is a commemoration of victory for the people of Israel, and a rededication of the temple. This event took place about 160 years before Jesus was born.

I really like the line; "A candle loses none of its light by lighting another candle.”

In this season of candle lighting, of celebrating the light shining in the darkness, let us rejoice to dwell in the light.

This prayer from the Service of the Word in the ELW, (page 220) might well be an Advent prayer:

O God of justice and love,

we give thanks to you

that you illumine our way through life

with the words of your Son.

Give us the light we need,

awaken us to the needs of others,

and at the end bring all the world to your feast;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,

be honor and glory forever.

Amen.

May the Light shine for you, Pastor Phil

November 29

Jesus said to them, “When you pray...”

Luke 11:2

Advent has begun. While I will often point out that this is the beginning of the Church year - (Year C for those who like to take note of highly technical designations like that!) - I have to admit that January 1st feels like the “beginning” of the year, and Advent really doesn’t quite inspire the same felling… For instance, I’ve never thought of ‘New Year’ resolutions at the beginning of Advent.

Well, I recently ran across this list that I had set aside years ago. This is from Renovare, a group that seeks to build on and encourage: “the spiritual practices of Jesus and of the historical Church.” This list invites us to consider some “prayer practices” and it seemed to me this could offer some possibilities for Advent/New Year’s Resolutions, maybe not resolutions, so much as possibilities for your Advent devotions.…

Advent Blessings to you as we enter this season of promise!

Pastor Phil


Practicing a Prayer-Filled Life

1. I will pray 10 minutes each morning or evening

2. I will pray without words (in silence) for five minutes each day.

3. I will offer a short prayer throughout each day (for example, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner" or "Lord Jesus, come and abide in my heart more and more.")

4. In this week I will set aside one hour that will be free of distraction. I will use the time for solitude, prayer and meditation on the Bible.

5. I will take a walk outside and appreciate God through creation or simply sit and watch a sunset.

7. I will set aside in this week, 15 minutes as a time of thanksgiving. I will sit and think about everything I am thankful for. (This is not a time to pray for others, simply to say thank you.)

8. I will practice listening to God. I will take one verse of scripture and spend 10 minutes in this week just thinking about one verse.

9. I will spend 10 minutes holding my family and others before God in prayer.

10. I will pray for the pastor and the leaders of Trinity Lutheran Church. I will ask God to give them courage and strength and wisdom. I will pray for their protection.

11. I will read from a devotional book.

12. I will remember the Sabbath. I will allow myself to do nothing and sit in God’s presence.

13. I will thank God for being with me in this week.

Excerpted from "A Spiritual Formation Workbook" by James Bryan Smith, with Lynda Graybeal. HarperCollins, N.Y. pg. 87, 1999.


November 28

First Sunday of Advent

Today is the First Sunday Advent. The first Sunday of the Church year.

Sunday worship will be at 8:30 and 11:00. The Prayer of the Day:

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.

By your merciful protection

awaken us to the threatening dangers of our sins,

and keep us blameless

until the coming of your new day,

for you live and reign with the Father

and the Holy Spirit,

one God,

now and forever.

Amen.

The service is posted online


Previous Connections are in the Archive pages