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The Second Sunday of Advent — December 8, 2013
The Wonder of God’s Love By Louis Powell
Anyone who has lost their wallet or passport can tell you how convenient it is to have a readily acceptable form of identification; something that proves to the world who you are. There is security in proving who you are, and there is pride.
Our true identity is in God’s love for us. And that identity will be recognized not by a picture ID, not by our prosperity, not by our baptismal certificate. That identity will be recognized by how we treat others. Bear worthy fruit.
Whether it is with an oval sticker with “SCZ” or an “1199 Foundation” license plate frame on your car; whether it is wearing a coat and tie or only wearing flannel and blue jeans; we broadcast our identity all the time.
Scripture Lessons for Today
And what happens when that identity doesn’t matter anymore? What happens when we rest on our laurels? Or the laurels of those who came before us?
Upcoming Birthday Celebrations December 9 December 10 December 15 December 17 December 18 December 19 December 24 December 28 December 30
Fr. Rick Matters Gillian Byrd Alan Hewer Joan Parkinson Christo Bardis Chandler Haack Alan McEwen Reed Cripe, Luciano Smith Jacquelyn Phillips
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.
Isaiah 11:1-10 Romans 15:4-13 Matthew 3:1-12 Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Scripture Lessons for Next Week Isaiah 35:1-10 James 5:7-10 Matthew 11:2-11 Canticle 15
All Saints’ • The Weekly
Internalizing the Wonder of God’s Love By The Rev. Rick Matters
John the Baptist challenges us with a world-view that is black and white. He calls people names and issues ultimatums. It’s easy to connect his feistiness with his execution. What relevance can John have for us? The wisdom for us is John’s godly humility. We hear John being self-effacing when he says, “I am not worthy to carry his sandals.” At the same time, he speaks with an authority that reveals tremendous self-worth leading to outrageous courage. John corrects kings and speaks to nations because he is grounded in God’s love. The authority with which John speaks is not his own, but is given as a gift from God. John claims this divine authority not to build himself up, but to glorify Christ. If John were to preach to All Saints’ he might well say, “It’s not about you; it’s all about the love of Christ in and through the church.”
A Joyful Labor By Greg Troxell
Advent is a season of anticipation. Better than Hunts ketchup on a delicious burger on a warm summer afternoon, John the Baptist enters the scene and the prophet Isaiah proclaims that the Messiah will be coming. Indeed, He came, He saw, and He surrendered all. Now, at peace with God, we are able to extend God’s grace to one another and “welcome one another, just as Christ has welcomed you” (Rom. 15:7). Many of us have waited or agonized in a maternity ward anticipating the blessed birth of a little child. I’ll guarantee that there was some effort that led up to the birth, and the labor surely did not stop after the doctors left the room. Likewise, our lives have been established and enriched by the labor of others, and our salvation by the work of Jesus. It is in relationship with others that we ourselves are placed in the crucible of love. Purified there each time we engage in these relationships, we are molded by life’s circumstances. We find ourselves cast in the fire again, to be made into a people of promise. We are lovers, friends and co-laborers with Christ.
A Five-Week Series Mondays, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. January 6 to February 3 Contact All Saints’ Episcopal Church firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
Out into the World By Robin Denney
How wonderful is God’s love! In the readings today we are called to prepare our hearts through repentance for the coming of Christ, to act by welcoming and loving each other with the love of Christ, and to expect the coming of the Prince of Peace, with a vision of just how beautiful the peace of God’s Kingdom will be. Advent is a time to remember that we are citizens, not of this world, but of the Kingdom of God, and that we can participate with Christ in bringing about that Kingdom here on earth. When we turn away from retaliation and toward humility, when we give out of our abundance or out of our poverty to those in need, when we set aside time to be with the people we love or with those who have few visitors, we are participating in bringing about God’s Kingdom! God’s love is wonderful, and it flows through us out into the world.
Tis the Season… By Robin Denney
The secular season of Christmas is upon us: that time when the stores enjoy sales and cover themselves in decorations; that time when the tasks of buying and planning for the holidays take up extra room in our already busy schedules. And on top of that, there is a certain societal pressure to be happy this time of year. Into the midst of this busy whirlwind comes the Christian season of Advent, a season of waiting, of pause, of reflection, of hope in the midst of a painful world. The readings today remind us of God’s promise and mercy, of the wonder of God’s love. We need not hide from the secular observance of Christmas in order to observe Advent. It’s more important that we can open, in our hearts and in our schedules, a little more time than normal for prayer, for silence, for expectant hopeful waiting for that time when the pain of this world is wiped away, when the Prince of Peace shall come again. As we gather as the body of Christ in worship and in action this season, we not only expect, but participate in, the coming of the Kingdom of God!
Monday: Le Salon des Artistes meets at 5:00 p.m. For information, contact Marcia Jeiroudi through the office. Tuesday: The book club meets in the library at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday: Bible study from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. in Grant Hall. Come explore Jesus’ life in a chronological study of the Gospels. Santa Lucia patronal feast day celebration: potluck, songs, and fun—We’ll gather to honor the continuing and evolving ministry of Santa Lucia Mission and Campground, and recognize Jim and Izzi Shillinglaw and others for their many years of faithful service. Join us on Friday, December 13, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Seccombe Hall. Christmas Eve nativity pageant— Your child is invited to participate in the pageant at 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The script is written by renowned Christian educator Gretchen Wolff Pritchard. Anne and Pete Sibley, parents at ASDS, will be leading the music, along with Richard Wilson. Amy Buchanan, a church member who’s experienced with drama, children, and youth groups, 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. Contact the church office for more information. 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.”
Outreach Christmas ministry to Epiphany, Marina—Fr. Jon suggests warm clothing (jackets, heavy sweatshirts), art supplies, books, and toys for children ages infant to twelve years. Place unwrapped items in the red and green 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 for safekeeping. All donations should be at the church by noon on Tuesday, December 17. For information, contact Judy Kirk (620-0820) or any Outreach member. 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. Christmas memorials—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, which must be received by Friday, December 20. Memorials and thanksgivings will be included in the Christmas bulletins. 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 of you 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. Thank you for the generous contributions of canned food for the food pantries of All Saints’, Santa Lucia, and Epiphany Church. About 450 bags of food are given out monthly.
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.
Highlighted Events and Meetings December 8 Concert: Ensemble Galilei December 13 Santa Lucia Celebration and potluck 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.