Sermon, November 22, 2015

And All These Things Will Be Given to You As Well    
Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
Bradford, Vermont, November 22, 2015  
Twenty-sixth and Last Sunday after Pentecost,
Reign of Christ Sunday,
Thanksgiving Sunday, Neighbors in Need Sunday
Psalm 95; Matthew 6:25-33

Jesus appeared on earth in an anxious time and place. The leaders of the Jews were anxious about the Roman Empire whose army and colonial government imposed their might whenever they stepped out of line. The Romans were anxious, too, ever vigilant for Jewish revolutionaries stirring up the people. The people were most anxious, oppressed by both Jewish and Roman leaders alike.

Jesus appeared in the midst of all this anxiety saying over and over, do not worry! Be at peace. Trust in God, trust in the Spirit, trust in me. Jesus’ followers responded with thanksgiving to that message and to the power of God that showed through him. They saw how God rewarded Jesus’ trust with miraculous words and healings. They felt the peace flowing through him, and it filled them to overflowing, and then others caught it from them. The first church became a powerhouse of peace and joy and works of love, and it grew and grew.
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2015 Game Supper Photo Album

Click the arrows under the photo to scroll through the album.

"This is your first Game Supper? Well, congratulations!"
"This is your first Game Supper? Well, congratulations!"
Ginny Moore, Kathy Munson, & Emily Perry
« 1 of 23 »

Upcoming Service Notes: November 22, 2015

This Sunday we will celebrate Thanksgiving, Neighbors in Need Sunday, Reign of Christ Sunday and the Last Sunday after Pentecost which means the end of the church year.  It’s  a big day!  Next Sunday Advent and the new church year begin.  This week we will reflect on all the wonderful gifts of the past year in our lives and in the church (including this Saturday’s 60th Annual Wild Game Supper), and also consider the promises in scripture of far greater things to come.  We will look ahead up the path of this congregation’s aspirations, and celebrate the vision we have formed together.  The sermon title will be, “And All These Things Will Be Given to You As Well.”

The service will celebrate all this with a greatest hits of scriptures and music.  We will read two favorite passages, Psalm 95 and a section of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:25-33, and we will sing three beloved Thanksgiving hymns, Come, Ye Thankful People Come, and We Plow the Fields and Scatter, and We Gather Together.   The choir will sing the beautiful hymn, Savior of the Nations, Come, as the Introit and the traditional Netherlands folk song, Prayer of Thanksgiving as the anthem.  Organist John Atwood will play as the prelude J. S. Bach’s Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV 661, one of the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes, a master work of the great master of church music.   It is based on the hymn the choir will sing as the Introit.  For the offertory John will play a piece based on the same hymn composed by Bach’s cousin, J. G. Walther.  The postlude will be a “Fugue in C Major” by yet another of the baroque greats, Johann Pachelbel.

Advent Candle Lighting at Home

We developed a script for our Sunday School for the ritual of lighting Advent candles at home. To do this yourself, you will need five candles. You could have them in a special Advent wreath or standing alone. Traditionally three candles are purple, one is pink and one is white, as you will see in the script and photos below, but you can use all the same color, too.

Here is the link to a downloadable pdf of the script: Advent Candle Lighting at Home

And here are two images of Advent Candles:

1 sun. advent

3rd advent

Responding to Paris Attacks by Being the Church

Dear Church Family,

Jesus lived in a world where there were terrorists, fundamentalist extremists and violent revolutionaries. The politics of hate were pursued with religious fervor. Jesus felt the same emotions that we are experiencing in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris. His teachings and his life model were offered as a way to live in just such a world as we face today.

The church exists to help us follow Christ’s way in all dimensions of our daily lives, from the personal to the political, from private mundane pleasures and stresses to public moments of extreme joy or grief.

So in this time, the best thing that we can do is to be the church.
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Sermon, November 8, 2015

What Are We Waiting For?     Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
Bradford, Vermont
November 8, 2015   Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost,
         Advent Preparation Sunday
Selected Texts from Isaiah 60, Mark 1, Luke 1; Mark 13:24-37

The word Advent comes from a Latin root meaning that something is coming. The three things coming during Advent are the birth of Christ at Christmas and the coming of Christ at the end of the world and the coming of Christ into our hearts in any moment. Advent is a time of preparing for those three things. In the old days it required fasting and increased spiritual activity with no parties or singing of Christmas carols allowed. The purpose was to open our hearts as wide as possible for the burst of joy on Christmas when the glorious light arrived.

That is the theory behind Advent, but what does it really mean? What are we really preparing and waiting for? And is it worth what Advent asks of us?
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