This past Sunday, I challenged the contemporary worshipers at Asbury to read 1 Corinthians 13 once a day for a week. I do the same with you readers of this blog. My invitation is nuanced, though. Please let me explain.
Carla and I will celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary on December 28. For thirty-five years I have had many wins and also a few duds concerning spousal Christmas gift giving. One thing about the duds: they are memorable. Early on I believe I gave her an electric skillet! Then about ten years later I gave her an antique 5-gallon jug.
I love Christmas carols and hymns. Without a doubt, though, my favorite is Joy to the World. This hymn does not reference shepherds, angelic choruses, and wise men. It emphasizes instead the ecstatic joy that Christ's birth brought to humanity and indeed to all creation. "Joy to the World" is a paraphrase of the last part of Psalm 98:
On the first Sunday of March, 2016 Asbury Church will be celebrating its thirtieth birthday. The birth of this wonderful church came about through the vision of The Rev. Marcus Long, who as pastor of Madison United Methodist Church saw what the future would be. It continues to be a source of great joy to have Marcus present with us. I have sought Marcus’ counsel over the years. One piece of advice he has offered people over the years is a Shakespeare quote from the play Hamlet.
John’s journey was not an easy one; he struggled mightily to come to faith, and for much of his early life he was plagued with doubt about his relationship with God. It was on May 24, 1738 that he had a powerful experience of the presence and the knowledge of the forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ.
During the recent trip to Israel, our group visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem. There is a section that is dedicated to Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jewish people from the murderous Nazis. The term that is used to describe these non-Jews who risked so much is “Righteous Among the Nations.” The names of those honored are engraved along an avenue of trees at the Jerusalem memorial.
I came across this poem from Rebekah Nolt, which is a beautiful expression of trust in our loving God. I share part of it with you:
It is the tradition of many churches to mark the month before Christmas Day with a season called Advent. The word “advent” means “a coming” or “an arrival.” During this season we focus on the three comings of Jesus the Messiah: his coming as a baby, his coming through the gift of the Holy Spirit and His final coming in power and glory.