Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian 

"What's the pink candle for?"  Every year, someone asks why there's one pink candle with three purple ones in the Advent wreath.  Answer: it signifies "Rejoice!" Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent.  In the early centuries of the church, Advent was a forty day penitential season leading to Christmas, as Lent leads to Easter.  These days, Advent is shorter and the penitential flavor largely lost amid the consumerist ecstasy of the holidays.  But for some Christians, Advent is still a time to prepare for the Nativity of our Lord — still a time to practice quiet and simplicity as aids in awakening to the mystery of God's Word made human in Jesus of Nazareth.  For such folks, the third Sunday of Advent offers respite from strenuous spiritual practice; the pink candle marks an oasis on their pilgrim journey. 

When I see the pink candle, I always think of one of my professors from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Edgar Krentz was a distinguished scholar and superb teacher.  But he gave the impression, in class and in the hallways, of being somewhat standoffish and grumpy.  Ed and his wife, however, had a cherished annual tradition: their "Advent Gaudium" party.  "Gaudium" is Latin for "joy."  Advent at LSTC was a time of waiting and preparation: waiting for the semester to get over, and preparation for the shock of final exams!  Surely, this was a penitential season, when we attempted to rectify our academic sins of commission and omission!  Amid the stress of this season, Ed and his spouse threw a lovely party during the third week of Advent.  It was an event of ease and joy.  They were gracious hosts to the anxious students in all of Ed's classes.  The frenzy of the holidays and all the pressures of school were left behind as we enjoyed good food and drink in a generous spirit of care, compassion, and joy.  It was a gift of time to give thanks for Ed and for one another, and to celebrate all of God's goodness to us.

Jesus is the light of the world.  His truth and love still shine no matter how stressed we are by life's demands, no matter how dark the clouds and brief the day as old December flies away.  May the pink candle mark an oasis for you, and remind you that there's good reason to take joy in Christ.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"Two are better than one, because they have good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone?  And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one.  A threefold cord is not quickly broken.        Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

          Sitting at the top of our driveway taking in a bit of the bird show, the hedge was alive, mostly with tiny fowl who can't seem to stop flitting about.  There was an addition when a flicker flew through and offered up its high pitched call. I heard that same call later inside at Lowe's.  It was meant to scare the other birds inside who are not wanted.  I didn't know other birds would be frightened by a flicker's call, and apparently neither did they as none of them seemed to leave the building.

          And then there was a grand addition of hundreds of geese flying over, one big V after another.  They are fascinating.  I don't know exactly where they were headed, but they knew and together they cover thousands of miles in the by-ways above us.

          Forgive me if this is too repetitive.  Many times over the past nine months I have felt so alone, tired frustrated and disappointed.  But God has lifted me again sometimes in tears, sometimes with a grin.  Thankful for the ways of geese and God's love as well. Consider these things I read about geese and their flying.

  1. Those in front rotate their leadership.  When one lead goose gets tired, it changes places with one in the wing of the V-formation and another flies point.
  2. By flying as they do, the members of the flock create an upward air current for one another.  Each flap of the wings literally creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.  One author states that by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock gets 71 percent greater flying range than if each goose flew on its own.
  3. When one goose gets sick or wounded, two fall out of formation with it and follow it down to help and protect it.  They stay with the struggler until it's able to fly again.
In peace and power of the Creator of all things,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, December 14th
Isaiah 6:1-4, 8-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

THIS WEEK

Wednesday    9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                     10:00 am Bible Study w/Pastor Randy
                      5:30 pm Advent potluck soup/bread supper
                      6:30 pm Advent Devotion - Jesse Tree
                      7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal
                      8:00 pm Band Rehearsal

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten

Friday          9:00 - 11:30 am KOK Preschool
                    1:00 - 9:00 pm Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      10:00 am  Choir Rehearsal
                    1:00 - 3:30 pm Palmeter Piano Recital
                    5:00 - 8:00 pm SOV Youth Fundraiser Babysitting Night
              Drop your children (11 yrs and younger) off for a fun night of pizza, crafts, games, movie etc. Tell your neighbors and co workers...

Sunday       8:30 & 11:00 a Worship w/Pastor Brian
                  Scrip Order Sunday, last chance for Christmas

Christmas Program and Choir Concert
December 21st
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Don't forget to add our wonderful staff here at SOV to your list of people to buy for this season!  If you want to contribute to Christmas gifts for Pastor Randy, Pastor Brian, Jameson and Tammy, please mark your donations "Staff Christmas Gifts" and either put them in the offering plate on a Sunday or get them to the church office anytime before Christmas Day. Contact Elaine at TreasurerSOV {at} gmail.com if you have questions.