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Greetings to All in this season of Advent

Greetings to All in this Season of Advent.

I don’t mention it enough, but I love my work.

I love my work for many, many reasons. One of the reasons I love my work is that I love to serve communion.

One of the most remarkable things about serving communion is the variety of outstretched hands I see.

I see hands that are scarred and smooth, rough and calloused, sticky hands, beautiful and toned, strong hands and bumpy hands gnarled with arthritis. The hands that open in front of me are bejeweled and unadorned, sensible and sensitive.

These hands tell the stories of your life; the jobs you have had, the garden you’ve planted and the children you’ve fed. Hands talk about how you use your time. And I know that there are even more stories that your hands are not telling, about tears you’ve wiped, wounds you’ve healed, about what you’ve built and what you have broken down.

And I have the honor of bestowing upon each pair of hands a piece of the broken body of our Messiah, whose hands also healed and held, worried and worked. And in this way, we continue the Christian story.

Think of the hands in the Gospel: there were Mary’s hands who held her baby tightly as they fled into Egypt. There were the hands of the fishermen pulling in their nets and the hands of the woman who bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears. There were the hands that grasped at the fringe of His garment to be freed from a lifetime of physical ailment. There were the hands of Judas that betrayed the Christ, and Pilate’s guilty hands, that were washed of responsibility. Hands that waved palms and hands that held whips. Hands that nailed Him up and hands that carefully took Him down, bathed Him and buried Him.

Jesus’ hands bear the painful mark of being pierced with nails. His hands tell the story of how his body was broken for us. We remember that story every time we open our own hands to receive that broken body.

When we take the bread into our hands and then into our bodies, we fill ourselves, strengthened as we go into the world. We prepare ourselves for the work our hands and hearts do as Christians, as God’s beloved.

Christ delivered himself to us, into our hands, and now it’s our job to carry Him out into the world. We can choose how to do that. We can choose whether to nurture or to nail. We can choose whether to clasp our hands in prayer or open them in confession. We can use our hands to gather in others, or as a barrier keeping others out. We can make our hands too busy to think about Christ’ message to us.

When we leave this place and use our hands in response to the story of the Gospel, we bring the reminder of that bread, that broken body, into a world of darkness that needs light and the promise of resurrection. The next part of the story is ours.

What happens next is our response to what has been given into our hands. Welcome to the season of Advent. May the light of Christ shine through you.

In Peace and Love,  Pastor Denise

December 4, 2019 Weekly Devotional

There’s a story about an old man who lived in the center of a city that had experienced war for over a decade. The man walked outside of his house and onto the streets and shouted "Love, peace, righteousness! Goodwill to all!" The next day he would do the same thing, he would leave his house, walk onto the street and yell at the top of his lungs "Love, peace and righteousness! Goodwill to all!" He did this every day, rain or shine, like clockwork.

One day the man's next door neighbor who was tired of the daily yelling, went out on the street and confronted him. He said "Hey man, are you crazy? What do you think you’re doing? Every day you come out of your house and yell 'love, peace, righteousness, goodwill!' Don't you know no one is listening to you! This city is full of hate and crime and hopelessness. There is no love of neighbor and there is no peace, righteousness or goodwill to be found. So give it a rest and save your breath! Don't you know that you can't change the world?"

The old man said, "You are right, my shouting about 'love, peace, righteousness and goodwill may not change the world, but one thing it will do is to stop the world from changing me."

During this week of Advent, remember to prepare the way of the Lord within your life and within your own soul. Keep in the corner of your mind the story of the old man and the story of John the Baptist to inspire you. Keep at it, whether or not you believe anyone cares, whether or not you believe anyone will listen, at least you'll care, at least you are listening.

Join us as we journey further into Advent. Our text this week is Matthew 3:1-12.

Blessings, Pastor Denise

 

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