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The Third Sunday of Advent — December 15, 2013
The Wonder of God’s Love Actively Waiting in Advent –By The Rev. Rick Matters Each Advent we are reminded to hurry up and wait. This annual message does not sit well, because we’re especially busy in December. But waiting is not necessarily passive: we can wait by preparing. We see this active waiting in the lives of John and Jesus. They both waited, and in their waiting God acted. The world waits for the fruit of God’s love and reconciliation to be borne on the tree that is our life. This Gospel fruit can feed both the bodies and the souls of people everywhere. We’re reminded this week how Nelson Mandela put his faith into action by waiting. He waited by protesting, by sitting in prison, by serving as
Upcoming Birthday Celebrations December 15 December 17 December 18 December 19 December 24 December 28 December 30 January 1 January 2 January 3
Alan Hewer Joan Parkinson Christo Bardis Chandler Haack Alan McEwen Reed Cripe, Luciano Smith Jacquelyn Phillips Anthony Fletcher, Grace Heidtke, Mia Kotelec, Emily Larva, Jordan Willeford Sara Bardis Marie Henderson
Watch over thy children, O Lord,
as their days increase; bless and guide them wherever they may be. Strengthen them when they stand; comfort them when discouraged or sorrowful; raise them up if they fall; and in their hearts may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of their lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
president, and by witnessing in retirement. We help the world wait for reconciliation by enacting the liturgy and by caring for others in the name of Jesus Christ.
Scripture Lessons for Today Isaiah 35:1-10 James 5:7-10 Matthew 11:2-11 Canticle 15
Scripture Lessons for Next Week Isaiah 7:10-16 Romans 1:1-7 Matthew 1:18-25 Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18
Christmas at All Saints’ December 24 Christmas Eve at 5:00 p.m. Nativity Pageant & Holy Communion Christmas Eve at 10:00 p.m. Carols & Holy Communion December 25 Christmas Day at 10:30 a.m. Festal Eucharist December 29 8:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. Christmas Lessons & Carols with Holy Communion
All Saints’ • The Weekly
The Dark Night of Faith for John the Baptist By Bill Reed
In today’s Gospel, Jesus declares that there is no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet several verses earlier we read: “Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” Is this the same John the Baptist who at the initiation of Jesus’s ministry, at his Baptism, saw the Holy Spirit descend and heard the voice of the Father proclaiming him his Son? The John who proclaimed Jesus the Christ, the One who is to come? If we trace the ministry of John the Baptist from beginning to end, we are surprised to learn that he finally questions whether or not Jesus is who He claims to be. The strength of his earlier proclamation seems to be compromised by this final equivocation. But John, like many of his contemporaries, had ideas about the Christ and His messianic reign, as a victorious warrior enforcing
righteousness on Israel and her enemies, ideas that Jesus was changing. At first glance, we might not identify with John since we believe in the proclamation of the Church, which sees Jesus Christ very differently. But if we look deeper into the development of John’s faith, we may recognize a pattern we can with which we can identify.
Wednesday: Join us for Bible study from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in Grant Hall as we explore Jesus’ life in a chronological study of the Gospels.
The Way of Patience By Robin Denney
“Beloved, do not grumble against one another,” James urges us in the Epistle reading today. James tells us instead to focus on what is important, to strengthen our hearts on the hope of the coming of the Lord. Waiting in hope requires patience; refraining from grumbling against others requires patience. But when we lose patience we are not alone. Even John the Baptist began to lose patience with Jesus, asking, “are you the one who is to come, or should we wait for another?” And yet Jesus responds to this lack of faith with an affirmation of John. God’s love and acceptance of us is wondrous to behold! Somehow that assurance of forgiveness and mercy makes patience easier to find. When I find myself feeling frustrated with someone and losing my patience, when I want to grumble unkindness against someone, I try to stop and think of how that person looks to God. In that moment, I remember how wonderful God’s love is, and how God forgives and loves that person just as God forgives and loves me, and suddenly my desire to grumble seems small, petty, and foolish, and I can chose another way, the way of patience.
A Five-Week Series Mondays, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. January 6 to February 3 Contact All Saints’ Episcopal Church email@example.com 831-624-3883
The Rev. Rick Matters
All Saints’ Church Ninth & Dolores Carmel, California
The Gospel of Matthew
Its Relevance for the 21st Century
All Saints’ • The Weekly
Farmers of the Kingdom By Robin Denney
I grew up as a farmer, and so I love it when farming references show up in scripture. James uses the example of the farmer waiting for the “precious crop” as an example of how we are to be patient and hopeful as we wait for the coming of the Lord. The reference to a farmer has another layer of meaning as well. The concept of patience can sometimes be confused with sitting around and doing nothing, but that is clearly not the kind of patience a farmer has. Farmers work hard preparing the soil for the seed, keeping the weeds away from the young plants, pruning, thinning, watering… there are months of toil without reward, before the day of the harvest finally comes. So also are we called to be farmers of the Kingdom of God. We are called to toil for peace and justice, for love and forgiveness, even though we may not see the harvest. We toil because we are children of the Kingdom, and we know that our hope is not in vain. We toil, not to be worthy of the Kingdom, but because the Kingdom dwells in us, and we long for the world to know its peace and joy.
The Wonder of God’s Love Perfectly Expressed By The Rev. Rick Matters
We like the beginning of today’s Gospel, that Jesus can be recognized as the Messiah because the blind see and the lame walk. As we care for the poor, sick, and outcast we bring to fulfillment that same prophetic promise. Sometimes we are not as comfortable with the conclusion of Jesus’ message, that those who take no offense at him will be blessed. Occasionally members of All Saints’ share with me their discomfort in professing Jesus to be the Messiah. Their faith consists simply in caring for the poor. In reality, the conclusion of Jesus’ message helps us integrate caring for others with the wonder of God’s love in the Gospel story. We might feel caught between respecting other religions and proclaiming the Christian faith. However, this either/or is a dead-end symptom of our broken world. In today’s Gospel we hear once more the mandate to respect, serve, and actively love others precisely because God’s love is perfectly expressed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today: First Christmas pageant rehearsal— Your child is invited to participate in the pageant at 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Anne and Pete Sibley, parents at ASDS, will be leading the music, along with Richard Wilson. Church member Amy Buchanan will direct the pageant. Children are asked to attend at least one rehearsal (11:45 a.m. on 12/15 or 12/22, with pizza!), and to come early on Christmas Eve to prepare for the pageant. Tuesday: Outreach Christmas gift deadline— Place your unwrapped gifts (warm clothing, art supplies, books, and toys for children ages infant to twelve years) in the box in the church. Gift cards (not to exceed $25), checks (made out to All Saints’, memo: Outreach Christmas gifts), or cash are also welcome, and should be taken to the office. All donations should be at the church by noon on Tuesday. Wednesday: Join us for Bible study from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in Grant Hall as we explore Jesus’ life in a chronological study of the Gospels. Wednesday: The Friends of St. Benedict will meet in the library from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. for study and prayer. We meet the third Wednesday of every month, and all are welcome. Friday: Christmas memorials deadline—We welcome your donations to help adorn the church for Christmas. You may use the forms located at the back of the church and in the office, or send instructions along with your check. Memorials and thanksgivings will be included in the Christmas bulletins. Christmas pageant assistants—Help is needed with sorting and fitting costumes, and warming pizza for rehearsals. Contact the church office if you can help. Greening of the church—Join your friends on Sunday, December 22, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. as we clean and decorate the church for Christmas. We’ll enjoy sandwiches and cups of warm soup as we work. Worship in your work clothes, if you like, and bring work gloves if you have them.
Outreach can use your extra Christmas cards for our I-Help guests. Leave them in the office or on the tables in the church. Stamped cards were offered to the men at November’s dinner and all were taken; one man said, “My mom is 3,000 miles away. She’ll be glad to get this.” Crèche sets from around the world—You’re invited to bring interesting crèche sets to display in the baptistry for all to enjoy during Advent and Christmas. Please label your set. Santa Lucia Mission, Big Sur, is forming a book discussion group in December or early 2014. We will read The Four Elements: Reflections on Nature by the late John O’Donahue, an Irish priest, writer, and poet. We will share our thoughts, as well as the art, photographs, paintings, or poetry that his work inspires in us. We may meet only once a month, allowing for creative time between meetings. Contact Mother Cynthia at 831-667-2310 or 520-260-5158. Pledges for 2014—The vestry thanks all those who have turned in a pledge card. This information helps us prepare for next year in a fiscally responsible manner. If you have not completed a form or communicated your intent, please let us know soon. Pledge cards can be found at the back of the church or in the office. Year-end tax planning opportunities— Parish treasurer Jackie Graham can help you make donations of appreciated stock, or contributions from an IRA. This can be a convenient way to receive a 2013 tax deduction while paying your 2014 pledge without using cash. As with any action having financial and income tax implications, always check with your financial, tax, or legal advisor first, to make sure it is appropriate for you. Pastoral care transportation help—The pastoral care team is putting together a list of potential drivers for members who need help with transportation, such as for a medical appointment. If you’d be willing to occasionally give a fellow member a lift, please contact Susan Stanton via the office.
Sunday handout deadline—To be included in next Sunday’s handout, your announcement must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on the preceding Wednesday. Most special parish events are included in the announcements for three weeks before they occur. Contact Andrea Matters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-3090.
Highlighted Events and Meetings December 17 Last day to bring in Christmas gifts December 22 Greening the Church December 24 Nativity Pageant, Carols and Holy Communion at 5:00 p.m. December 24 Candlelit Eucharist and choral anthems with Bishop Mary at 10:00 p.m. December 25 Christmas Day Festal Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. December 29 Christmas Lessons and Carols with Holy Communion at all three services Read more news online at: www.allsaintscarmel.org and join share your own stories of faith, joy and service with us on Facebook, Twitter and GooglePlus.