Reminder: Retirement party for Father Tim: Tomorrow 11am to 3pm at the Downingtown Country Club. Tickets will be available at the door
Join us in Bartholomew Hall during coffee hour this Sunday to make an Advent wreath out of fresh cut greens (bring your candle ring if you still have it from last year). We will also have kits for children to little to work with the greens.
If you took a tag for the Lord’s Pantry Christmas gifts for the family we are helping – all gifts need to at the church this Sunday!
Advent Vesper services begin this Sunday at 5pm. Dec 1, 8, 15, 22. Correction: there will not be dinner after the services
Sunday School Christmas Concert and Potluck Dinner – December 7 beginning at 4pm. Everyone is invited, family and friends too
Downingtown Christmas Parade – December 14. We will have a float this year and we will be finishing up the candy canes and tags this Sunday during coffee hour
Wonderful news IMPORTANT NOTICE: Special visitor this Sunday
This Sunday, December 1 at the 9:00 service, Lt. Col. Mark Delvecchio, the Air Force officer we
sent so many packages for the troops to when he was stationed in Afghanistan
will be visiting us with his wife, children, parents and in-laws. He wants to thank us personally for
the support we offered him and those stationed with him, and I hope we can all make a special effort to attend church
this Sunday to greet Mark, welcome him home, and thank him for his service to our country!! ~ Father Tim
Hi Luann, my parents, plus my in-laws (Mike and Kathy Doyle) and my sister-in-law and her husband (Katie (Doyle and Scott Parsell) will be there too. Total of 11 to include my wife, Mollie and our children, Matthew, Andrew, and Hannah. ~ Mark
Let’s break out the tambourine band this Sunday in support of the troops and give Mark and his family a true St. James’ welcome!
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. See you tomorrow for the retirement party and on Sunday
Theme for this Sunday: “Therefore you must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” (God promises that he will come – that’s HOPE. We live our lives in anticipation of that coming – that’s FAITH. We believe that we’ve figured out just exactly when God will come – that’s ARROGANCE).
- In the reading from Isaiah, God’s astounding promise and vision for the future of Jerusalem is offered: Jerusalem will be the city on the hill which will draw all the world into it in search of peace and light.
- In the reading from Romans, Paul tells us that when Jesus comes again we shall awaken as from a deep sleep and discover the salvation of God. We are called to “live honorably” in the day to prepare ourselves for God’s coming.
- In Saint Matthew’s Gospel, we are reminded to be awake, mindful and alert for the coming of God. No one knows the day or hour (not even Jesus himself!) but if we remain watchful, we will be able to detect the presence of God even in the mundane events around us.
One Hundred and Fifty-Third Weekly Meditation
“FROM THE READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY…”
The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem…
· Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. (Isaiah 1:1-2)
· Therefore says the Sovereign, the Lord of Hosts, the Mighty One of Israel…I will turn my hand against you; I will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy. And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. (Isaiah 1:24-26)
· In the days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Isaiah 2:2)
The great Hebrew Prophet Isaiah, whose voice we will be hearing all through the season of Advent, burst on the scene in Jerusalem over six hundred years before the birth of Christ. It must have been something to see, for the first thirty-nine chapters of his prophetic writings have to do with judgment and condemnation! In the first two chapters of his writings, in the space of fewer than fifty verses, Isaiah lays out a three part “visualization” growing out of the twisted and distorted relationship between God and his “chosen people”.
The first vision, sometimes called the “disappointed father” vision, describes God’s growing anguish for his chosen people who have rebelled against him (1:2-23). The second vision has to do with the “chastisement” of Judah and Jerusalem, whereby God vows to smelt the dross out of his people “as with lye”. Finally, and this is our reading for this Sunday, an astounding vision of Jerusalem’s bright future as the “Mountain of God” which will draw all the nations of the world into its gates.
Isaiah uses all of his poetic skill to bring this vision of God’s will and purpose to life, and he does it with great beauty and power. A vision, essentially, is a product of our “enlightened imaginations”. Isaiah hears God’s word and discerns God’s presence lurking in the dismal dross and bewildering turmoil of sixth century Jerusalem. His power of poetic imagination allows him to literally see through a wall of discord and confusion to a hope which lies on the other side of the chaos which has enveloped Jerusalem.
Jerusalem had not been a “great” city since the days of David and Solomon. And even then, Jerusalem was never a particularly significant city, at least compared to the commanding powers which surrounded her, such as the Egyptians, the Assyrians and, later, the Babylonians. The Israelites were often little more than vassals to the great powers which held sway in the Ancient Near East. But God announced through Isaiah that everything was about to change: “It shall come to pass in the latter days…”
The startling vision of Isaiah is that Jerusalem will one day take on a significance among the family of nations which cannot be exaggerated. In this extraordinary vision, “the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains,” (Jerusalem was built on the top of a mountain – Mt. Zion – which was hardly the highest of any other mountain, but “poetic license” does have its advantages), and “all the nations shall stream to it.”
Citizens of Jerusalem, living in the time as Isaiah, could reasonably be expected to hope that Jerusalem might one day become as glorious as she once was during the time of David and Solomon. They might also hope that the city might one day become powerful, prosperous and diplomatically influential as a result of its growing political and military accomplishments. But those “reasonable” hopes are relentlessly earth-bound and hopelessly tied to the limited and closed expectations of us humans. Isaiah’s bold vision launches us into a new order of what it means to be a citizen of Jerusalem, not based on human expectations, but on God’s divine will.
The nations of the world will stream to Jerusalem, the vision tells us, not because the city has regained something of its past glory, not because it has at last become a “power player” in the arena of world affairs, but because it has become something entirely new (and unexpected).
· It will become the place where the word of God can be heard again;
· it will be the place where the presence and love of God can be felt again;
· it will be the place where the purpose of God can be realized;
· it will be the place where the nations will come to participate in God’s judgment and find peace at last;
· it will be the place where they can learn how to beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks
· it will be a place of mass-production, not of weapons for death, but of implements for life.
In a word, Isaiah simply sees the city which God intends. And that which God intends, God brings about – somehow.
God bless, Tim