December 4 – Second Sunday in Advent

Good morning all!

Today’s scripture:

Luke 1:68-79 (NRSV)

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

This morning at McMinnville Cooperative Ministries we will be talking about what it means for God to guide our feet into the way of peace as Zechariah sings in the above scripture.  If you are coming to the earlier service at the CoOp this is a bit of a spoiler.  For the rest of you, we will be talking about how when Zechariah sings of peace he means more than what we see on the Christmas card. In biblical terms it actually means more of a complete wholeness.  The term is Shalom and it goes way beyond just the absence of struggle.  For Jesus later it meant the presence of love instead.   For the people of the bible it means a wholeness that is peace…beyond war with others, it has to do with resolving war in ourselves.

The question then becomes…how can you find ways to work on your own sense of wholeness? What is missing this morning?  What has kept your voice from singing full of God’s grace?  For Zechariah, he actually couldn’t physically speak until John was born and then when his lips were opened he sang of God’s peace.  What keeps us from singing?
Are you struggling with anxiety this season? depression?  family struggles? broken relationships?
Is lack of time keep you from wholeness? Diet? too much work? too little work?
Wherever you may be this morning, the season is for you. Can you spend a moment asking God to be here with you and it?  I know that sounds just a bit wu-wu new agey but in my experience, it tends to work.  To realize that it won’t be solved this morning but maybe I am not so lonely in it.  This helps me sing to God about my wholeness.  Whatever may help in healthy ways…a walk, a chat, a cup of coffee, an email, a moment of meditation…do that.
So this morning I want to give you a poem to help with that process as your prayer and send off….
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
– Wendell Berry

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