For several years a large sign by 1-85 near Hillsborough advertised the opportunity to purchase SHELL gasoline. This one word sign towered over nearby trees. However, the S was missing, so the sign read HELL.
I once came by that intersection at night and from a distance could see this illuminated announcement. One wonders how first time travelers responded:
“Do you know something I don’t know?”
“See, I told you Hell was near Chapel Hill and Durham!”
All Joking Aside
All joking aside, we might benefit from such a sign above our community. Imagine the impact on us if high above Grace Church was the sign HEAVEN, illuminated day and night. Wanting to live up to this claim just might enlarge our living!
In what sense will people see heaven through seeing us?
I do wonder what message we give. Our baptism sets us on a singular path all about life together around word, sacrament and community, around life together for this needy world. That’s enough for a life time, several. To live individually and collectively our Baptism is to live a well centered life.
In his Testament of Devotion Thomas Kelly writes:
“We are trying to be several selves at once, without all our selves being organized by a single, mastering Life within us. Each of us tends to be, not a single self, but a whole committee of selves. And each of our selves is in turn a rank individualist, not cooperative but shouting out his vote loudly for himself when the voting time comes. It is as if we have a chairman of our committee of selves within us who does not integrate the many into one but who merely counts the votes at each decision. We are not integrated. We feel honestly the pull of many obligations and try to fulfill them all…Life is meant to be lived for a Center, a living Center.”
May God give us the reorienting power of Advent to re-center us and all our selves.
HEAVEN is coming among us!
David A. Sloop, Grace Interim Pastor
What are you doing to celebrate Advent?
(Has anyone ever asked you that question?)
I can hear the conversation in my head,
“Wait, you celebrate Advent? I thought all there was to celebrate this time of year was Christmas, with the trees, lights, decorations, and candlelight services.”
“Actually, the season of Advent is all about preparation. We’re watching and waiting for a special event, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
We hope that you will download a copy of the study and gather with your family to share weekly devotions.
The study focuses on the weekly lectionary and includes questions for reflection, prayer and hymn suggestions centered on the theme of World Hunger.
Advent Study Weekly Themes
Week 1: A People of Promise – Matthew 24
Week 2: Bearing Fruit – Matthew 3
Week 3: Healing of the Whole World – Matthew 11 and Isaiah 35
Week 4: God in Unexpected Places – Matthew 1