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"What is important is to realize that we are a family... and that the reason we are at church is not to be entertained but to worship God, increase our relationship with God, increase our recognition of God’s worth in our lives..."

 

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  Pastor Michael's Musings

 

 

Advent – that other holiday season

You’ve heard it before and you’re going to hear it again. Slow down!!!  I know it’s hard, especially at this time of year. Who can slow down when there is so much to do; cooking, presents, decorating and parties.  Then the usual work and school functions not only continue, but often increase. Oh yeah, and you’re supposed to stay on top of church activities and more!  Just stop!  It’s ADVENT…remember? Let me remind you. Advent and Christmas are not the same; they’re completely different holiday seasons, that happen to be connected. Advent is when we’re expectantly awaiting and preparing for the arrival of Christ; joy and love, personified. Advent is the journey TO Christmas.

 

Are you missing out on the journey? Are you truly preparing? And putting up the tree and wrapping presents is not preparing for Christmas…those are secular activities. I’m talking about the religious and spiritual activity of Advent. With everything that’s going on around you, have you stopped? Stopped to be quiet - to be “IN” silence. And then, whilst in the silence, you breathe in the Spirit. You focus on the love of Jesus. You take time to remember God’s gift to the world. Take time to feel joy rain down upon you and warm embraces – from God, family, friend and humanity. At this time of year, we’re so rushed to get to Christmas that we forget Advent. 

 

We forget WHY we get excited and for WHAT we’re preparing. It’s not about presents, trees and decorations. Those are wonderful and important, but they’re not the reason for the season! We should take time every single day to pause and be with God in order to demonstrate and express our gratitude, but my hope and prayers for you during this Advent season, is that you really will take intentional and purposeful time every day (5 minutes?), to STOP! Stop and enjoy Advent. Before you know it, it’s going to be December 26; you’ll be in the midst of Christmas and will have missed out on the journey.

 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven (Ecc. 3:1).

 

Don’t miss out on the journey.

 

Have a joyous Advent, then have a Merry Christmas!

 

Pastor Greg’s Gandering     

 

 

I HATE TO KNEEL

 

As many of you know, I did a short stint, about five years, as a devout Roman Catholic. One of the things that I recognized the value of, but hated to do, was kneeling.  There are a couple of times in the mass where everyone who is able is required to kneel.  This kneeling was a sign of honor, love and respect to God, but I hated to do it. It hurt my knees and my back, so I found ways around it.  I would kneel but then I would sit back against the pew. It still was not comfortable.  But the thing about kneeling is that everyone did it. The rich, the poor, the powerful, the powerless; everyone knelt in honor, respect and love of God.

 

That being said, when I see athletes kneeling during the anthem, I see that as a sign of honor, respect, love and allegiance to a loving God, who I believe is the inspiration for their protest. But, I also see it as a sign of allegiance to the flag of the U. S. which is the flag that stands for a republic, under God, with liberty and justice for all.   They are telling us all that the flag that people are wrapping themselves in has become a flag that stands, not for liberty and justice for all, but liberty and justice for a select group who are of the right race, immigration status and connections to power.   The action of kneeling is a pledge of alliance to the flag for which our country was intended to stand. 

 

I hate kneeling, even to God.  But I did it out of love, respect and honor to God.  I too, will kneel with those who find it the only way to pledge allegiance to a flag of a Republic, that is UNDER God and that holds as its highest value liberty and justice for ALL.

 

 

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