Hearing the prophets


"Prophecy is a way of thinking as well as a way of living." - Abraham Heschel

This Advent we've committed to an examination of the prophets.  Isaiah in particular stands out, both in our lectionary, but also in his portrayal of the Savior yet to come.  As I reflect on the prophets of our scripture, I've been struck by how different their role was than the call of God to be prophetic today.  This was further accentuated as I listen to Dr. Hunt's presentation this past Sunday (now available via YouTube on our website).

The religious culture in the time of the prophets was far different than what exists today, or even in early Christianity.  Judaism remains the last example of 'primal' religion; having no expectation of converting others.  Primal faith expanded only through birth and kingdoms conquering other kingdoms.  The prophets spoke boldly of God's claim, without fear of someone simply going to another church, or having their spiritual needs met through other means.  Don't mistake me, the role of the prophet was still inordinately difficult.  Today, we face a different challenge as we aim to be prophetic.

How then, do we speak prophetically without scaring people away?  We continue to proclaim the truth and wisdom that the scriptures captured from the prophets and Jesus.  God calls us to share the grace and love we experience as we encounter God.  This call is magnified with those who are oppressed.  As we move toward the celebration of the Incarnate God, may the blessedness of the human form be known.  God's love triumphs over sorrow and oppression.  May God give us ears to hear the call of the prophets, may God grant our hearts capacity to respond to the needs of those around us, may God draw our awareness to the completeness we experience in Christ.

Advent immersion

"Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise." - Karl Rahner

Advent is upon us.  We have begun well and may continue our focus throughout this sacred season.  Our worship will mark the progress of the season.  This Sunday we will continue our sequence of extraordinary preludes as we begin our worship.  During the procession you may see 'Saint Nicholas' who will help share this part of our history with the children during chapel.

Several people have commented how much they have enjoyed the Advent devotionals, which remain available on the Welcome Desk and kiosk.  The #adventword has also been a great way to stay focused on the season daily.  Even if you aren't on social media, you can see some of the posts through our website (see the 'Social' tab under 'Media', or click here).

I also want to note the Blue Christmas service that will take place next Wednesday at 5:30.  While this season is noted for hope and expectation, it is also very difficult for many.  Perhaps most especially for those who are mourning or experienced a loss recently.  The hope with this service is creating time and space to acknowledge our loss, to unite in prayer and move toward the Incarnation in peace.  I look forward to seeing you in church as this season continues.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul 

Advent is upon us

In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. - Isaiah 40:3

This Sunday, December 3, marks the beginning of Advent and with it a new church year. Advent is a season of preparation and expectation as we anticipate the arrival of our Messiah. Our worship reflects these priorities and we hope to infuse the whole season with these qualities. We hope that our worshipformation and outreach will all work hand-in-hand to enrich this season.

This Sunday we begin with "AdventFest" at 9am. This intergenerational formation time will help us dedicate ourselves to this season of preparation. There are also several options for all ages, including some fantastic coloring sheets. Come early and allow yourself some time to move from station to station. There are also devotionals available for your use throughout the season.

I want to encourage you to be deliberate to arrive a little early throughout Advent not only to participate in formation, but also to be seated in the Nave by 10am to prepare for worship. While the procession won't begin until 10:15, those seated early will observe an extra prayer as we light the Advent wreath each week at 10:05. We hope to observe sacred silence as we listen to the vocal arrangement with each prelude leading us into worship.

The Live Nativity (December 17) is coming up quickly, too. Our set up will be a little different than in years past and we hope it will make it easier to be a part of it, and easier to share with others. Sign up here or on the sign up sheet in the Narthex to participate. There are roles and jobs for everyone!

Throughout Advent we will be collecting diapers to support our ministry partner Pamper Lake Highlands. Please bring diapers to the display in the narthex as you're able.

Blessings -
Fr. Paul