Thanksgiving Gratitude and 1st Sunday of Advent

This Thanksgiving I connected with close family members. I took time away from the church office, home office, computer and phone, and I used that time to be present with family. I hope you were able to do the same, and if you were unable to do so, then I hope you give yourself some measure of grace. It was great connecting with family over Thanksgiving, and it is great connecting with you as part of God’s greater community of faith.
And now, it’s time for our new year. For Episcopalians, the “new year” begins with the First Sunday of Advent, which happens to fall on December 3rd this year.

My fervent hope is that our church will be full at the 10a service this Sunday during the Advent Lessons and Carols service. Our interim Minister of Music, David Vanderpool, will direct our gifted and dedicated Chancel Choir as they lead us and sing. Dr. Ted Gibboney will play organ as our new Minister of Music. Both Ted and David have shown their love of God, their love of music, and their flexibility in agreeing to collaborate this Sunday. We’ll have the opportunity to offer our thanks and gratitude to David for his time of interim ministry and to welcome Ted to our faith family, too.

There will not be a homily offered at the 10:00 Advent Lessons and Carols on December 3rd. As much as I love to preach, to ponder ways I can facilitate God’s living word to become even more alive to us, we will use the time for additional Scripture readings and music. I have to remember that God’s love and grace and transformation can and does occur in liturgical offerings other than the sermon. Let us look for ways to be in awe and reverence of our Maker through nature, family relationships, all sorts and varieties of music, all sorts of written word, and on and on my own list could go.

I encourage you to attend our 10:00 worship this Sunday the 3rd. Invite your family and friends. We will encounter God through beautiful readings from Holy Scripture. Our ears will delight in the music created by our chancel choir and their leadership in song. And, of course, we will encounter the Risen Lord as we celebrate together God’s sacred meal. All of us celebrate Holy Communion as we remember we are God’s beloved and as we engage our hearts, minds, and souls on the remembering and the renewal and the transformation unfolding before us and within us as we lift our hearts together to the Lord.

Join us in worship this Sunday and remember that we are part of something so much deeper than ourselves. We are part of God’s beloved community, and as such our hearts need us to gather again and again that we may remember that just as a new year dawns with the first Sunday of Advent, so too do our lives begin anew as we reconnect with our Lord through our listening, our seeing, our tasting and touching, and through our words and actions.

I look forward to seeing you on the streets and in the pews (especially, on Dec. 3rd!)!

In God’s Grace,

Eric+