If I could summarize what the spiritual life is, I would say it is learning to see. It is earning to see the holy in the ordinary - learning to see that everything is spiritual.
The birth of Christ is the light that has come into the world not just for the people of Israel but for the whole world, and the three kings represent that, they are foreigners from a foreign land who see the light and receive the light and pay homage to the light, too.
This light that has come into the world, this light that has cut through the darkness, is for everyone. This new day, this new dawn that marks the beginning of the end for the dark things of this world is for everyone. Salvation is for everyone.
Have you ever made a decision that led you off the path? Ever made a mistake that led you off the path? Ever had a feeling you were going the wrong way but you’ve been too stubborn, too hard-headed, to stop? And there is this moment when you go: oh this isn’t good. This isn’t right. I don’t have contentment. I’m not experiencing joy. You come to see this isn’t the life you were meant to live, you are off the path.
On December 9, 2018 the Arapaho United Methodist Church Choir alongside the Philharmonic Orchestra of Texas presented "The Many Moods of Christmas" - a collection of traditional Christmas songs arranged by Robert Shaw and divided into 4 suites. You will also hear testimonies from Sungmoon Lee, Kasey Cummings and Chris Snyder.
We are woke because of Christ. Because the Christ in you and the Christ in me stands up in the face of fear, and in the face of suffering, and in the face of dehumanization and says: I will not look away, I will not back down, I will not sit down, I will not let it go...not until the poor have good news and the hungry are fed and the sick are cared for and the stranger is welcomed.
Has this ever happened to you? You see a problem that needs to be solved but you can’t solve it by yourself? So you let your manager know and they agree but then you wait for change? And you wait and wait and wait. You have gotten agreement but what you really wanted was change. In our scripture today James is saying that if you agree on who Jesus is then there will be a change.
You are covered by Grace. Maybe you don’t believe you are covered, maybe you feel like you’ve done something along the way and your coverage got dropped.
No, you are still covered; so you messed up, so you think you aren’t worthy of coverage, maybe you’ve forgotten that this isn’t a divine points game, this isn’t about earning or achieving. I mean the rest of the world is into that but God isn’t into that and we know that because of Christ crucified, because through him, success is redefined - weak is the new strong, the way up is the way down.
We may disagree on the issues, we may have conflict with one another, but we never ever stop seeing one another as brothers and sisters.
The pull of tribalism is strong now...it is strong and it is trying to influence us to treat one another as less than human beings, it is trying to get us to name call and to have closed minds and mean spirits…but it is no match for the power of Christ that is present at this table and in this bread and cup that compels us to love our neighbor.
Pastor Blair woke up with laryngitis on Sunday morning, so she reworked her sermon. In addition to her raspy voice, you'll hear testimonies from Pastor David and Kelly Carpenter and have time to reflect on your own response to the question: 'What would going on 'all in' with Jesus look like in my life?'
Whatever it is in your life that is coming in at you from all sides, do not settle in...stand in and stand up! God's grace is here today for you: receive it, believe it, experience it, bask in it, walk in it, run it it, you are made for connection, you are made for community, you are made for this moment, you are made to be a blessing.
There is always some distance between where we are and where God wants us to be. It is always a climb from where we are to where God wants us to be but the view God wants to show us, it is so so good, so spectacular.
Our tradition calls this journey from where we are to where God wants us to be sanctification. God is calling us to become more like Christ. In order to move from here to there we have to be willing to move from what we know. We have to move from the comfortable, the familiar, the way we have always done things, the person we have always been, we have to move from our plans, our trajectory, our vision and go where God is calling us to go - which is up the mountain.