December 18, 2012

The angelic message for December 23, the fourth Sunday of Advent, is “I bring you good news of great joy.” This proclamation is found in Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ birth(2:10.)  In Luke chapter 2 the messenger is deemed worthy of some note as is the message delivered as well the recipients of the message. The messenger, the message and recipients of the message combine to help us grasp the significance of this good news of great joy.

Luke tells us that the messenger is an angel of the Lord.  When the angel of the Lord shows up the presence of God is readily apparent and those to whom the angel appears are thus, overwhelmed and afraid. Luke says they were terrified. The angel seems to matter greatly.

Luke also makes it clear that the message of the angels matters. He describes their message as good, as a source of great joy, as having significance to all people, as having immediate relevance, and as having to do with a Savior sent from God. A message well worth paying attention to.

Further, Luke makes it clear that the recipients of the message matter. He identifies them, he identifies their work, he identifies their response to the angel. These shepherds, who live in the fields, stand in stark contrast to Cesar Augustus who can order a census of the world, to Quirinius who governs on behalf of Cesar and even to the common citizens like Mary and Joseph who are traveling and have sought lodging in an inn. The shepherds live outside the boundaries of everyday life. They live in the fields. Yet, to them comes a message of stunning importance and eternal significance.

Luke seems to be saying to his readers – “I don’t expect you to understand all that is going on. I do think there is ample reason for you to pay attention to the rest of the story.” Clearly, he is convinced that he has good news to convey.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • The grieving families of Newtown, Connecticut
  • The grieving families of Portland, Oregon
  • The grieving families of Oakland, CA
  • Our nation as it searches for a way to end the epidemic of gun violence that so afflicts us
  • Ryan and Amy Parker on the death of Ryan’s grandmother
  • The Grand Lake Gardens Community as it mourns the death of Stan Benson
  • Sharon Gordon-Greer for Louis Greer
  • Leona Sims
  • Thanksgiving for all the musicians of Lakeshore
  • Thanksgiving with Kay Baxter that Stacey has returned to work
  • Naomi Nutting as she cares for her mom
  • Helen Roberson as she cares for her mom
  • Karen Hopkins for her brother Jeff and family
  • Theresako Harris for her aunt
  • Art and Lura Ferguson (Lura is in hospice care)
  • Darby and Dudley Lockett (Shell Ridge Community Church) as they mourn the death of their son
  • Ann Fields for Theresa
  • Brenda McCarthy for her family
  • Ted and Doris Evans for their family
  • Jeanne Robinson for her sister in law
  • Sybil Alexander and family
  • Mary Lee seeking employment
  • Carol and Steve Leichter
  • Rae Rita Thompson for her dad
  • Sandra Dunn for her dad
  • Sheryl Gattey for her mom
  • Darnell Sims for James Everett and family
  • All who participate in our Adopt A Family Christmas Ministry

Announcements

Our Children will present their Christmas Play this Sunday following worship. We have a tradition of great plays and this year promises to be no exception. Thank you Helen Harrison and Karen Okusu.

Our Christmas Eve Worship Service is at 7:30 p.m.

The Kachin Baptist Church invites members of LABC to join in their Christmas Day, 1:00 p.m., and New Year’s Eve, 11:00, p.m. services. I will be participating in the New Year’s Eve Watch Night Service.

The next Midweek Message will be sent on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

Advent Prayer

The Alliance of Baptists share this Advent Prayer:

Daring the Dark

As the shadows lengthen, we enter into a season in which we dare to cross through a threshold into the dark.

Help us, O Holy One—
you who are discovered
in the silence of the cave
and the darkness of the womb—
to courageously encounter the mysteries of life.

In this Advent season,
help us to pause for Christmas,
that we might attend deeply
to the birth of the Christ
within us.

May this be the gift we offer,
to ourselves and our loved ones,
as we wait in holy darkness
for the surprising birth of God.

—Excerpted from Bruce Sanguin, If Darwin Prayed