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The Exile of Innocence
By the order of King Herod all the male babies, two and under, where to be put to death. This is a part of the Christmas story that often gets passed over. However, in a year of so much reflection on our own mortality and on humanities capacity for evil and death, we would do well as a church to reflect on the Dark Side of Christmas. As Jesus was teaching and preaching he said to his disciples, “let the little children come unto me, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.” There is an innocence about a child that the Lord longs for all of us to never outgrow. There is stark difference between being childish and childlike. Herod, with his executive order, caused a weeping to be heard in Bethlehem like never before and ever since. We all have experienced loss, but the loss of a child is a very unique kind of suffering. Would you join us on Sunday over Zoom as we worship, sing, and pray for those who have lost and give hope to one another as we march into this New Year.
The Exile of the Wise Men
This will be a Christmas like none other in your lifetime. The country and the world has shut down and families will gather in limited capacity due to Covid-19. We have already endured 9 months of life changing events, and as the darkness of winter is upon us, a young lady is about to have a baby. In the midst of another pandemic, the pandemic of exile, sin, and death, the light of God came to save us! Christmas is the season of darkness that is exposed by the light, and there is no doubt that we are in the darkness. As the body of Christ, we are committed to grieving with a world that has seen so much suffering and death this year. Would you commit to joining us each week over the next couple months as we look at Advent in Exile: Stories of Christ in the Winter of Covid. Believe Church! The light is coming! The light is winning!
The Exile of God
Refugees. Conquered nations. Banished criminals. That is who deserves to be in exile. Yet, John’s account of the birth of Jesus begins with something totally unique in our universe. He claims that the God of creation in the beginning is fully present in the humanity of the person of Jesus. Fully God and Fully Man. The light that was commanded in Genesis, “Let there be light” is the “light of mankind” and he is the one who also said, “I am the light of the world.” Why would God exile himself or for what reason would he abandon his riches in glory to come and be made in human likeness? He has no rival and no equal. Great is our God and greatly to be praised for his wisdom far outreaches our own and his love is deep enough to come and rescue us. Join us via Zoom this Sunday as we gather online, hear testimony, sing songs of Advent, and pray for one another. Be strong and courageous CG! You are loved and not alone!
The Exile of Bethlehem’s Shepherd’s
As we light the candle of Joy this weekend we hear the angels singing “Glory to God in the Highest” right above our heads. As the Shepherds were watching their flocks by night, God interpreted their darkness. We are inviting this same God to interrupt our darkness this winter as well. As we put this pandemic in perspective, we have to acknowledge the pain, loss, and frustrations that so many of us have felt. Yet, it is in our very suffering and bondage that a child was born into the earth. Born to rescue and save us! Shepherds were considered some of the lowest people on the social ladder and God chose to announce the birth of Jesus to a class of people who were considered thieves and uncredible. Why? Join us on Sunday as we gather outside to raise our voices our lift our prayers for one another as we worship the newborn king!
The Exile of Mary and Joseph
We will light the candle of peace this Sunday as we move to Zoom for this week’s worship gathering. We have a testimony lined up and we are excited to hear what God has for us in this second week of Advent. Mary and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem when the time came for Christ to be born and they found that even in Joseph’s hometown there was no place to call home. Christ was born in a stable. Have you ever felt exiled even at home? Have you gone back to your hometown and things were just different? What can we learn in the winter of Covid from the fact that there was “no room in the inn”? We have all felt so many emotions this past week and it will be good to see your beautiful faces church as we anchor into the waiting of Advent. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
The Exile of Simeon and Anna’s Thanksgiving Sermon
We will light the candle of hope this Sunday and we can’t wait to worship with you near the River! We begin our Advent season looking at the person of Simeon. What an amazing story of long anticipated hope in the Lord’s Messiah. He lived in occupied Jerusalem and he was filled with the Holy Spirit, long before Acts chapter 2! What was so special about this man? What was so special about Anna who was a prophetess in the temple? Come sing some familiar songs as we long for the same hope of God’s final restoration!