Service Highlights or Announcements for this Sunday
May God continue his faithful care of those in our congregation during this coming week of Thanksgiving. May God grant us comfort and companionship as this holiday we may be separated from the family we hold dear. May we seek God for his care, comfort, and companionship.
With the beginning of the Advent Season, we are blessed to have beautiful Christmas carols and instrumental by our talented musicians. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did recording it for you.
Come check out our virtual Gather(ing) via Zoom on Wednesdays at 7 pm. We would LOVE to see you there. Come ready to discuss our scripture passage and raise our voices in song! If you would like the Zoom link, please sign up here.
Reflection of the Week
During Advent this year, we will explore “Where We Find Hope.” These days, we may have lots of time to look and wait for whatever unexpected blessings or challenges will come next. In upcoming sermons, we will look and wait with the biblical characters for God to appear in different locations: the temple, the wilderness, the home, and in our own families. In waiting with hope, wherever we find ourselves, will surely discover Christ born anew in our midst.
This week we will wait with Zechariah in the Temple, as he and his wife Elizabeth learn their dreams will soon be fulfilled. We will focus on Luke 1:5-25, 57-64, which you will find below.
See you Sunday!
Peace and Health,
Scripture Passages of the Week
Luke 1:5-25, 57-64
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.’ The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.’
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, ‘This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.’
The Birth of John the Baptist
Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’ Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God.