Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Season of Advent

The Season of Pentecost is coming to an end the Season of Advent is about to begin. There are six liturgical seasons reflected on the Church calendar: Advent-Christmas; Epiphany,;Lent-Easter; and Pentecost.


The seasons of the church year have a long and rich history and have developed around themes emphasizing aspects of the Christian journey and experience.  The Advent-Christmas cycle focuses on the Incarnation, God coming and dwelling among us.  The Lent-Easter cycle is about The Lord’s Resurrection and God raising us to new life in the Risen Christ.  Incarnation and Resurrection are the two anchors of the Christian year.  These two great seasons of celebration are each preceded by a season of preparation (Lent, Advent). The Sunday readings assigned to these seasons reflect these themes.

There is also what is called Ordinary Time between these two great seasonal celebrations of Lent-Easter and Advent-Christmas.  Ordinary Time are the Season of Epiphany and the Season of Pentecost. 

With the arrival of Advent we begin a new church year.  The word Advent means coming or arrival.  Since it is the season before Christmas, it is logically about getting ready for Jesus’ First Coming, but if we listen to the readings that are assigned from the lectionary during Advent, we quickly realize that it is also about getting ready for Jesus’ Second Coming, which is the long-waited completion of Christ’s redemptive work in the world. 

It might seem strange to us that Advent, the first season of the Church year, is also about the very end of things.  It makes the strong theological point, however, that the flow of history, including Salvation History, has purpose direction and destination.  History is not a randomly stitched together series of events; rather, it is headed somewhere and God is in the driver’s seat.   There is a divine destination for all of us, and the Season of Advent is about discovering the Way to that destination.  The Way is, of course, Jesus.  Therefore, whether we are talking about Jesus’ first coming as a baby lying in a feeding trough in a stable at Bethlehem 2000 years ago, or about Jesus coming in power and glory at the End Times, Advent is about God coming to us; thus we have the great cry of Advent, “Come, O Come, Emmanuel!”
Father Rob

New Wednesday Evening Bible Study Series

The Story

Beginning the 1st Wednesday of Advent (Nov. 30)

The Story explores the “Grand Narrative” of Scripture

from Genesis to Revelation in five movements:

The Beginning of the Story

The Story of the Israel

The Story of Jesus

The Story of the Church

The End of the Story

We will work our way through Scripture looking at how God’s story intersects with our story.

Material will be ordered for each of us: please sign up on the board in the parish hall.

Beauty from Ashes: A Personal Reflection on Our Church’s Inner Healing Ministry, by Laura Coppernoll

What a pleasure it is to share with everyone some of the things God has done for me through the healing ministry.  My experience has been none other than wonderful.  So many times in our lives we have ups and downs.  We say things like, “Oh this is too small for God to bother with, I can handle it,” I don’t want to burden Him with this, there are others who need help more than I do.”  Or “ I could never tell anyone about that, it’s too bad and they wouldn’t understand.”   Although these are thoughts and feelings that are normal to each of us, they are simply not true.  They are lies the enemy tells us to keep us away from God’s great healing He has in store for us.  The truth is, God  DOES want us to come to Him about every little or big thing in our lives.  He already knows about it anyway.  He just wants us to talk to Him about it and open that door for Him to come in and do His wonderful work. 
 
The thorns we carry are often so painful that the thought of speaking about them or touching them are almost unbearable to think.  Some things may have been carried so long we think they are too old to even bother with.  Fortunately for us we have a Father that never gives up on us and loves us way too much to leave us where we are.  Matthew 11:28 says it very clearly, “Come to me ALL who labor and are heavy laden and I WILL give you rest.”  He didn’t say only the ones who feel like it should come, He said all should come. 

Isn’t that exciting to know we can come to Him with anything no matter how big or small.  In my personal experience with inner healing, I bought into all the lies the enemy told me at first until I realized God did care about the things that had been buried for 20 years, or the things I thought were too embarrassing or painful to share with Him or anyone else.   I had myself talked into failure before I ever gave God the chance to work.  My first few times meeting with people from the healing team were pretty painful.  It was hard with so much emotion and pain to see where God was working in the beginning, and pouring out my feelings to practical strangers was by far not fun.   A friend once told me, “The battle is the hardest at the gate.”  That statement is very true.  I wanted to give up and go back to the place I thought was safe, where I had blocked all the memories from the past.  That was another great lie from the enemy.  He doesn’t want us to be healed and exchange our sorrows, pain and misery for forgiveness, acceptance and healing from our Father.  Our secret safe places where we hide all these things are not safe at all.  In fact, it is the opposite.  The only safe place for all our burdens is with Jesus.

Meeting with the healing team to lay out all the mess I had buried away for so many years was a blessing that has changed my life forever.  The Holy Spirit led these meetings and was very gentle as we revisited old memories.  He transformed old, hidden, scary memories into beautiful treasures.  Things that were so unbearable to think about are now something that I can talk to anyone about with joy.  That is amazing!  Only our loving Father could take something in which we see no hope or restoration and turn it into something beautiful,

So my brothers and sisters in Christ, I encourage you to embrace the healing ministry at Holy Trinity and use it.  It is a gift God has given us to use.  And always remember nothing is impossible with God.

Only God can turn… a mess into a message... a test into a testimony...a trial into a triumph... a victim into a victor

Friday, November 4, 2011

Parsih Teaching Weekend

All in the broader community are invited to...
A weekend of
drawing closer to God
through
drawing closer to one another
November 11 and 12
(Fri. Night, Sat. Morning and Sat. Evening)
 
“Being Kingdom People”
"Being Kingdom People, An Outpost of the Kingdom of God."
Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday evening, November 11-12 we will explore what it means to be the Church. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but we don't always get "Being Church" right...
for details: 803-341-0075 or robhartley@comcast.net