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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.
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:
Advent has its own tradition of music apart from Christmas. One of the classic Advent hymns is Wake, Awake for Night Is Flying. Below are two versions of a famous cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach based on that hymn for you to enjoy. A translation of the text is available here.
If you enjoy Bach, here are some beautiful cantatas he wrote for the season. You can find translations of the texts by clicking here.
Sermon by Deacon Marcia Tomlinson
“You show me the path of life …” Psalm 16:11a
Cited scripture: Psalm 16, Hebrews 10:19-25
Je me souviens (I remember) … we see that all the time on the license plates of Quebec cars hurtling down the interstate … and every time I see them I think back to 9/11 …
I remember 9/11 as my friends in Paris will now forever remember 11/13. Continue reading Sermon November 15
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.
Continue reading Responding to Paris Attacks by Being the Church
What Are We Waiting For? Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
The Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ,
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?
Continue reading Sermon, November 8, 2015
This short clip is the finale of Lynnette Combs’ performance at the 12th annual Katrina Munn Memorial Concert, on November 1, 2015. The piece is J.S. Bach’s Fugue in E-flat, BWV 552.