Out of Trying Times

Litany of Confession, Grace, & Journey to the Star-Child (Advent 3)

The times were trying. The world was dangerous.
Into those times Isaiah, son of Amoz speaks.
The world is a place filled with violence and evil.

Isaiah speaks God’s vision. He names the sins of the people.
He places before the leaders and people, the consequences of their actions.
Humanity’s sins have come to roost. Hope is hard to find.

The prophet’s vision reflects the consequences of sin.
We confess we, too, have sinned. We re-commit to strive to live as called.

Speaking God’s word to a king, the prophet points to a time of renewed hope. He points to a young woman who carries a child.
By the time that baby is born, God will be with the people.

Seven and a half centuries before the birth of Christ,
Isaiah offers hope to come with the next generation.
God’s hope for humanity and the world lies within each newborn.

Times were again trying seven and a half centuries later. In the time of Mary and Joseph, life was grim and the world dangerous.
The people yearned for the messiah, who would change the world.

The nations were occupied by hatred and the power hungry. And God points to a woman with child.
The star-child, our savior, will be born to Mary.

Yet again we face times of fear. Into these violent times we yearn for hope.
Within the star-child of Bethlehem is a new beginning.
Love manifest. Emmanuel. God is with us.

The magi perceived the hope of Christ. Herod feared it. Many rejoiced as Jesus came of age and began his ministry of hope, peace, and love.
Love manifest. Emmanuel. God is with us.

Though it is hard to perceive in times like these, God does not abandon us.
Within each newborn, within each human being lies another way, the way of God.
Love manifest. Emmanuel. God is with us.

Turn away from fear and the ways of the world.
We turn our hearts and minds toward Bethlehem. 

Turn toward the ways of love and justice and hope.
We turn toward the star-child.

Love is manifest. Emmanuel. God is with us.
Let us worship!

Hymn Star-Child #174 SPP

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Tim strives to share God’s extravagant love for all–no matter what & without strings. Seeking to follow the lure of the Spirit, Tim writes about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in an era where Christianity has come to be associated with hatred and political wedge issues. “Heinous things have been said & done (& still are) in the name of the One who breathed in the Divine,” notes Tim, “but Jesus shows us that God loves extravagantly.” Following the teachings and life of Jesus is about inclusion not exclusion. It is about compassion, grace, and admitting no one has all the answers. It is about responding lovingly to the best of our human ability. It is about people not institutions. It is about social justice. It is about caring for creation. It is about being who we were each created to be. Tim is a former early childhood educator, a runner, a hiker, a devoted husband, father of two adult children and their spouses, and a grandfather of two perfect babies. The former pastor of the Condon United Church of Christ, Tim recently began serving the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Albany, Oregon. He writes from home, from the coffee shop, and wherever the trail leads him.

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Posted in Advent Series, Confession of Sin & Assurance, Isaiah, Isaiah 7, Isaiah 7:14, Matthew, Matthew 1, Matthew 1:17-2:2, Matthew 2, Old Testament, Uncategorized

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Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

All materials by Tim Graves unless otherwise noted. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

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