Sunday Schedules

(Scripture notes from Season of the Spirit and Pulpit Resource)

December 1  Advent 1 “Prepare Him Room: Hopeful Joy”

Our first lesson for this morning will be from Isaiah 2: 1-5. God will judge between the nations, and settle disputes of mighty nations. Then they will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. The second lesson is from Romans 13: 11-14. The season of Advent is a time of anticipation. In the momentous conversation between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama that resulted in the publication of the Book of Joy, one of the “pillars” of joy they identified was “perspective.” Opening ourselves to a different perspective can bring a sense of hope in the midst of despair–allowing joy to creep in no matter what. Opening to the perspectives of others can shift our fear to compassion, turning swords into plows. Salvation is near, says the scripture, when we wake up, when we prepare room in our lives for new Light, new insight, new hope to enter. Communion will be shared at the chancel. Rev. Michele Beadle will be preaching.

December 8  Advent 2:  “Repeat the Sounding Joy: Loving Joy”
(Bulletin Not Yet Available)

The prophet Isaiah predicts the advent of the messianic king in Isaiah 11: 1-10. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him. He will rule with wisdom, understanding, and might. His reign will be good news for the poor and meek and shall inaugurate a change in the whole created order. Fiery John the Baptist in Matthew 3: 1-12, preaches his message of repentance. Research shows that our very state of being can be transformed by music that resonates in our soul so powerfully that we can’t help but join in. This is the vision of “Joy to the World” as the reverberating phrase urges us to “repeat the sounding joy” of the good news of Love. The prophet Isaiah offers a vision of radical love–the wolf and the lamb living together and being led by an innocent child. Can we lift our voices to joyfully and confidently proclaim this chorus of well-being for the world? Spirit and Young Spirit will be sharing their music gifts this morning.

December 15  Advent 3 “Make the Blessings Known: Unabashed Joy”
(Bulletin Not Yet Available)

Isaiah 35: 1-10 proclaims that the wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus, it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. Mary, in our Gospel lesson, Luke 1: 46b–55, sings about a world turned upside down – the lowly are lifted up and the hungry are filled. Mary’s song also declares that things will not always be unjust. Joy doesn’t wait for struggle to be over. Mary “rejoices” in the iconic scripture passage during her pregnancy, a state of affairs that would have put her in a position of dishonor among her people. Instead, she sings out
powerfully because she knows that this turn of events will usher in the presence of justice for the oppressed and freedom for the captive. As we join in a prophetic chorus of joy together, we are more deeply bonded as a whole, multiplying and magnifying the exuberance to all.

The Senior Choir will be sharing a cantata this morning.

December 22  Advent 4: “Make the Nations Prove: Peaceful Joy”
(Bulletin Not Yet Available)

As the Advent season draws to a close, we celebrate our annual lessons and carols service with our college students reading the scriptures.

The name Emmanuel means “God with us.” From both the Hebrew and Christian narratives, we hear the yearning for this “Emmanuel”–for God to become so present that God’s peace, truth, love, and justice reign among all the world and bring balance to what feels out-of-sorts. Our Psalm in this series names the joyful expression of all creation as the response to the news that the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, is coming at long last.

The Senior Choir will be singing.

December 24                       Christmas Eve Services

5:30 p.m. Children’s Service (Main Sanctuary)
7:30 p.m. Family Candlelight & Carol Service (Main Sanctuary)
10:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Communion Service (Trinity Chapel)

December 29  Sunday After Christmas: “Wonders of His Love: Compassionate Joy”
(Bulletin Not Yet Available)

Isaiah 63:7–9 was written about the time when the people of Israel returned from exile, the prophet’s words are a song of thanksgiving about God’s great love, God’s gracious dealings and presence with the people throughout their history. Praise weaves its way into Matthew 2:13–23. Jesus and his family flee to Egypt to escape King Herod. . Despite the threat of death, Jesus is protected. This story echoes stories of deliverance and liberation in Israel’s history that are recorded in Genesis and Exodus. On this last week of our series about joy, we encounter a narrative text about a fearful and vengeful ruler who has it out for the newborn “King” Jesus and takes it out on the children of the land. The cruelty of the story is hard to fathom, as is the situation at the borders of so many refugees around the world today. What’s joy got to do with it? The Hebrew root for “joy” used 54 times in the Hebrew scriptures–ranan (pronounced raw-nan’)–means “to shout, to cry out” and to “overcome.” Our shouting for joy trains the lungs and the courage to shout aloud for the overcoming of injustice. How will we use our exuberance for the righting of wrongs for the sake of the wonders of God’s love to come upon the earth?

This morning we will be baptizing Henry Fromknecht and confirming Ben Mercier and Aiden Baldree. The senior Choir will be singing. The service will conclude with the “Letting Go and Letting God” ceremony. This is a time when the congregation will be invited to write down on a piece of paper those things which each person wants to let go of from the old year of 2019, receive God’s grace and move into the new year with divine blessing and hope. The dissolving pieces of paper will be placed in a bowl of water at the front of the chancel. We will also share in healing prayers.


Longest Night Service
Thursday, December 19
7:30 p.m.>
Trinity Chapel

The holiday season can be filled with excitement and anticipation. As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, we await the birth of the Christ Child within us. However, the holidays can also be a time of sadness, stress, and busy-ness that leave little room for praise and thanksgiving. The death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, recovery from addiction, illness, and financial struggles all mirror the lengthening of the nights at this time of the year. ERUCC will offer our annual Longest Night Service, Thursday, December 19th at 7:30 p.m. in Trinity Chapel. There will be gentle music, readings, and a time for quiet reflection. There will also be an opportunity to light a candle in memory of a loved one, as a sign of hope. A time of refreshment and fellowship will follow the service.


Wednesday Advent Services in Historic Trinity Chapel
December 4, 11, and 18
12 noon – 12:15 p.m. Service of Prayer
12:15 – 12:50 Soup Lunch & Reflection

                        A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHRISTMAS

Based on Mike Slaughter’s popular book Christmas Is Not Your Birthday, our midweek Advent services will explore how to find peace and joy at Christmas and throughout the year.

 December 4 Expect a Miracle
December 11 Giving Up on Perfect
December 18 By a Different Road