Happening Now Blog

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

I love watching British murder mysteries.  I've seen every episode of "Inspector Morse" and its descendants ("Inspector Lewis," "Endeavor").  "Vera" and "George Gently" are also favorites.  I've read far fewer detective novels by English authors.  But some time ago I read a book by P.D. James, author of the Inspector Dalgliesh mysteries.  It's called The Children of Men, and I think of it every year late in the season of Advent.

The book is a spiritual meditation in the form of a murder mystery; the title comes from Ps. 90:3 in the King James Version, where the Psalmist, addressing God, says:

"Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men."

The plot turns around one stunning development: in 1995 human reproduction ceased.  No women get pregnant.  No more babies are born.  By 2021, the "Omega generation" had begun to reach maturity.  Despair prevails.  No babies, no future for the human race.  People turn to weird religious cults or waste their lives in dissolute living and drug-induced numbness.  They check out of life in a variety of ways.  Where is meaning and hope when likely extinction stares you in the face?

But then, among a small bunch of rag-tag revolutionaries who oppose Britain's fascist government, a woman becomes pregnant.  The father's identity is unclear — no likely suspects are known.  Government intelligence agencies discover she's with child.  State security forces begin the hunt.  Can this small group of revolutionaries find her a refuge where the baby will be born free to inspire hope? Or will the police capture her so the government can use the baby for propaganda purposes?

I won't tell you how it turns out — you'll have to read and discover the truth for yourself.

But this story shows me what is at stake in the birth of the Christ child.  The babe of Bethlehem is not sentimental kitsch.  The birth of Jesus is a world-shaking, history-making blessed event.  Now is the time to turn your attention to the Christmas story and think on what it means for days yet to come.

Psalm 90:11-17 (KJV)
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.
14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.
16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.
17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

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Lessons for Sunday, December 18, 2016

Isaiah 7:10-16
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25


Thursday    10:00 am LLL
                   12:00 pm All Church Luncheon

Friday        9:00 - 12:00 pm KOK preschool
                  7:00 - 9:00 pm Private Event

Saturday   9:30 & 11:30 am SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday      8:30 & 11:00 am Worship Service

Join us for caroling
Sunday, December 18th, meeting at SOV at 5:15 pm
Followed by a chili potluck supper

Christmas Eve Candle light Services
4:00 pm & 6:00 pm

Christmas Day Service
Service of Lessons and Carols
December 25
10:00 am