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Getting Out the WORD - the second sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 15:11

the PRAYER. . .

Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son.  By his coming strengthen us to serve you with purified lives; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .

As it is written in the [prophets],
"See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:  'Prepare the way of the Lord,  make his paths straight'. . . ."


the DEVOTION. . .


Just about every Sunday morning,  here at Midland Lutheran, worship begins pretty much the same way.  Before god and everybody, we "confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. . . ."  Just about every, single Sunday!  But it's amazing how carelessly. . .  how thoughtlessly. . .  we toss those words around. . .  especially at this time of the year!


For four weeks. . .  day. . .  after day. . .  after day. . .  the countdown progresses.  We rush around trying to get everything ready for Christmas - our hearts included!  We may not raise up valleys or make low mountains, but we do our share!  Presents are wrapped!  Cards are mailed!  Decorations hung by the chimney with care!  It's as if Christmas can't come without us!  It needs us!  Our energy!  Our efforts!  But we forget. . .  We are "captive" and we "cannot"!


Christmas, like any other holiday in the church, is not something WE bring about!  It's what god brings to us!  God is the one who gets things ready!  God is the one preparing the way!  And all we do. . .  all we CAN do. . .  is wait. . .  and watch. . .  and hope. . .  and, maybe. . .  sometimes. . .  pray. . .  Christmas is a gift that god provides without our help and cooperation!


In Mark's story, there are no angels!  No shepherds!  But there is good news. . .

Christ IS coming. . .  whether we're ready  or not!

bob barndt, pastor

Getting Out the WORD - the first sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 10:30

the PRAYER. . .

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection awaken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .


[Jesus said:] "But in those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from heaven,

and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. . . .

(Mark 13:24-37 )


the DEVOTION. . .


"Is it live, or is it Memorex?"  You may remember the slogan from an ad campaign that aired about forty years ago!  Well, a variation of it came to mind, this week, as I read through this passage from Mark. . .  "Is it literal, or is it metaphor?"

So often, we hear words like these. . .  words that begin "In those days". . .  and, right away, we leap to the end of the world!  When all our dreams come true!  When our happily-ever-afters begin!  But what if it's not as simple as we think?  What if it's more. . .  figurative. . .  more abstract. . .


What if Jesus doesn't have one particular hour or day in mind?  What if he's thinking more of the person sitting in a hospital room wondering if there will be a tomorrow. . .  or the person standing in the cemetery knowing there's only yesterday. . .  or the person slouched over the kitchen table trying to figure out how to get through today. . .  All these "sufferings" - along with a thousand others - have a way of darkening and dimming our world and shaking it to its core?


Is it literal or is it figurative?  Then and there?  Or here and now?  Either way, the promise remains. . .  At each of those times, in all of those places, the Son of Man comes!  Comes with great power and glory, to be sure!  But comes with even greater compassion and love!

bob barndt, pastor
Getting Out the WORD - christ the king
Written by Pastor Bob   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 13:30

the PRAYER. . .

O God of power and might, your Son shows us the way of service, and in him we inherit the riches of your grace.  Give us the wisdom to know what is right and the strength to serve the world you have made, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .


"Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. . . ."    (Matthew 25:14-30 )


the DEVOTION. . .


Well, it's that time, again!  Over the river, through the woods, and all that jazz!  To see family and friends!  But, before we go any further, let's remember one thing. . .  Thanksgiving Day is not a church holiday!  It's a national one.  Just like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Fourth of July!  And this Thursday, we gather not, primarily, as Christians, but as Americans.


That's not to say that, as god's people, we aren't thankful.  We are!  For the harvest, to be sure!  But, also, for the cross!  For faith!  Hope!  Love!  But we show our gratitude differently.  As the church, we don't overindulge one day and overspend the next.  Instead, we echo and reflect the kindness and generosity god has shown!  We give thanks by becoming the gift we've received!  We feed the hungry!  We give drink to the thirsty!  Welcome the stranger!  Clothe the naked!  Take care of the sick!  Visit the imprisoned!  God has blessed us!  All of us!  And because of that, in appreciation. . .  in thanksgiving. . .  we become what god has been all along!

bob barndt, pastor

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