Advent Devotional – December 23, 2022

•December 23, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion 

Saturday, December 24

5:00 p.m. – led by Mayfair Heights

7:00 p.m. – led by Mosaic

Christmas Day – ONE SERVICE @ 10:00 a.m.

It is close.  The time is near for the Christ Child.  And the world will change.  

These lyrics are from “The Canticle Of The Turning.”

My soul cries out with a joyful shout

That the God of my heart is great

And my spirit sings of the Wondrous things

That you bring to the ones who wait

You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight

And my weakness you did not spurn

So from east to west shall my name be blest

Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears for the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

Though I am small, my God, my all, you

Work great things in me

And your mercy will last from the Depths

Of the past to the end of the age to be

Your very name puts the proud to shame

And to those who would for you yearn

You will show your might

Put the strong to flight

For the world is about to turn

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears

For the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

From the halls of power to the fortress tower

Not a stone will be left on stone

Let the king beware for your

Justice tears ev’ry tyrant from his throne

The hungry poor shall weep no more

For the food they can never ears

There are tables spread, ev’ry

Mouth be fed

For the world is about to turn

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears

For the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

Though the nations rage from age to age

We remember

Who holds us fast

God’s mercy must deliver us from the conqueror’s crushing grasp

This saving word that out forebears

Heard is the promise which holds us bound

‘Til the spear and rod can be

Crushed by God

Who is turning the world around

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears

For the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

My heart shall sing of the day you bring

Let the fires of your justice burn

Wipe away all tears

For the dawn draws near

And the world is about to turn!

Here is a link to the song from Mosaic’s service this past Sunday.

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 22, 2022

•December 21, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Jeni and I both enjoy cooking, and we especially enjoy cooking around the holidays.  We appreciate eating good food as well. Sometimes, I  almost enjoy the cooking more than I enjoy the eating.  

For me it is a sense of anticipation, anticipating the blend of spices, cooking methods, and ingredients which will go into this meal.  I anticipate those who will eat it, hoping that it will both nourish and bless them in this moment.  

I see that analogy in the season of Advent.  With the careful readings of Scripture, the hymns, the liturgy, anticipation grows.  We are getting closer now.  

May that sense of anticipation be with you today. Peace be with you. – Paul

Our song today is Angels from the Realms of Glory.

Angels from the Realms of Glory

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 220

Text: James Montgomery, 1771-1854 

Music: Henry T. Smart, 1813-1879 

Tune: REGENT SQUARE, Meter: 87.87.87

Angels from the realms of glory, 

wing your flight o’er all the earth; 

ye who sang creation’s story 

now proclaim Messiah’s birth: 

Come and worship, come and worship, 

worship Christ, the newborn king. 

Shepherds, in the field abiding, 

watching o’er your flocks by night, 

God with us is now residing; 

yonder shines the infant light: 

Come and worship, come and worship, 

worship Christ, the newborn king. 

Sages, leave your contemplations, 

brighter visions beam afar; 

seek the great Desire of nations; 

ye have seen his natal star: 

Come and worship, come and worship, 

worship Christ, the newborn king. 

Saints, before the altar bending, 

watching long in hope and fear; 

suddenly the Lord, descending, 

in his temple shall appear: 

Come and worship, come and worship, 

worship Christ, the newborn king. 

Below is a link to a video of the song.

Angels from the Realms UMH #220 – Aldersgate Chorale

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Advent Devotional – December 21, 2022

•December 20, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion 

Wednesday, December 21, at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 24

5:00 p.m. – led by Mayfair Heights

7:00 p.m. – led by Mosaic

Christmas Day – ONE SERVICE @ 10:00 a.m.

Every congregation has certain traditions which surround Advent and Christmas.  It doesn’t matter whether a church is large or small, rural or urban.  And we find a great deal of comfort in these traditions. 

It might be a particular nativity, as it is at Mayfair Heights, or the giant lovely Advent wreath, of the nativity placed outside the church.  It might be a particular service, or particular people who like to light the candles.  

It happens in families as well.  Ornaments which have been around for decades.  Or holiday dishes according to someone’s favorite recipe.  Maybe it is putting out fudge on Granny’s old candy dish.  

This year, give thanks for all the traditions which feed us.  May they give life to our days and to our families.  May they nurture our spirits, and remind us of loving times and loving people.  

If you don’t have many loving people in your family, then make a commitment to be one.  Be a safe person, one others can trust.  Make yourself available for others to talk.  And then listen, listen with all your heart, with all the love you have within you.   

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional- December 20, 2022

•December 19, 2022 • Leave a Comment

In our hymnal, we have a song entitled Toda la Tierra (All Earth is Waiting). It is hymn number 210 in our hymnal, and was written in the 1970’s.  

Toda la Tierra (All Earth Is Waiting)

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 210

Text: Catalonian text by Alberto Taule, 1972; English trans. by Gertrude C. Suppe, 1987 (Is. 

Music: Alberto Taule, 1972; harm. by Skinner Chavez-Melo, 1988 

Tune: TAULE, Meter: 11 11.12 12

All earth is waiting to see the Promised One,

and the open furrows, the sowing of the Lord.

All the world, bound and struggling, seeks true liberty;

it cries out for justice and searches for the truth.* 

Thus says the prophet to those of Israel,

“A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel,”

For his name is “God with us,” our brother will be,

With him hope will blossom once more within our hearts.

Mountain and valleys will have to be made plain;

Open new highways, new highways for the Lord.

He is now coming closer, so come all and see,

And open the doorways as wide as wide can be.

In lowly stable the Promised One appeared,

Yet, feel his presence throughout the earth today,

For he lives in all Christians and is with us now;

Again, with his coming he brings us liberty.

Here is a link to the song as it was sung Sunday in the Mosaic service:

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 19, 2022 

•December 18, 2022 • Leave a Comment

For we pastor types, this is the week!!!  We are starting the countdown until Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  So let me just remind you of the special services this week:

Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion 

Wednesday, December 21, at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 24

5:00 p.m. – led by Mayfair Heights

7:00 p.m. – led by Mosaic

Christmas Day – ONE SERVICE @ 10:00 a.m.

The music of this season, of Advent leading into Christmas, begins to blend a bit for most congregations as we get closer to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  What endears these songs to many of us is not only the tune, the feelings of being in a meditative place, and singing together with others, but some of the language used in these wonderful hymns.  Today’s carol / hymn has one of those lines for me.  

He comes, not mighty to destroy, 

To bid us love each other.

Today is a day to remember that we are here to love each other.  Jesus’ very life teaches us that.

Peace be with you. – Paul

Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 223

Text: Johann Rist, 1607-1667; st 1 trans. by John Troutbeck 

Music: Johann Schop, c. 1590-1664; harm. by J.S. Bach, 1685-1750 

Tune: ERMUNTRE DICH, Meter: 87.88.77

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light, 

and usher in the morning; 

O shepherds, shrink not with affright, 

but hear the angel’s warning. 

This child, now weak in infancy, 

our confidence and joy shall be, 

the power of Satan breaking, 

our peace eternal making. 

This night of wonder, night of joy, 

Was born the Christ, our brother;

He comes, not mighty to destroy, 

To bid us love each other.

How could he quit his kingly state

For such a world of greed and hate?

What deep humiliation

Secured the world’s salvation.

Come, dearest child, into our hearts,

And leave your crib behind you!

Let this be where the new life starts 

For all who seek and find you.

To you the honor, thanks, and praise,

For all your gifts this time of grace;

Come conquer and deliver

This world, and us, forever. 

Here is a link to the song:

Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light – UMH 223

Advent Devotional – December 16, 2022

•December 15, 2022 • Leave a Comment

There is a lot going on in most everyone’s lives right now.   There is a lot of pressure to try to get everything done so that this holiday will be perfect for everyone.  

So I need to remind you of something.  The birth of Jesus Christ was a time of great political unrest.  And the relationship between Joseph and Mary was strained with all the news they were receiving.  

I also imagine that there were all kinds of people who gave voice to the politics and to the religious arena of the day.  They were all clamoring for a voice.

I believe when everyone is clamoring for a voice, it is more important than ever to have some times of silence.  When one can block out all the rhetoric and the furor.  

Today, spend a few minutes in silence.  Turn off the radio in the car.  Step away from the computer.  Put the phone down.  

Let the world go for a bit.  Listen to your breathing.  Feel your heartbeat.  Watch the wind blow and rattle the trees.  Enjoy the sun. 

Listen to a sound which has been playing in your heart for a very long time.  Listen to the rhythm of your steps.  Listen to birds.  

Just listen.  Not to the voices of loudness, trying to out-shout each other, but to the inward speakings of the Spirit of God within you.  Listen to the word of great love and grace.  

That is enough.  

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 14, 2022

•December 13, 2022 • Leave a Comment

In Oklahoma City, Tuesday was an incredibly beautiful sunny day after many days of cloudiness, fog, rain, and even some storms.  It was the kind of day that made you look at it and enjoy it like crazy!  

It was a beautiful respite from the gloom.  Today, I know several people who are still in the gloom.  One who has had two people from their family die in the last few weeks, another who is back in the hospital with a heart episode after barely surviving one last year at the same time.  

Others are trying to finish up this semester at school, students, teachers, professors, staff.  Others have had sick children and harried schedules.  

It has been a hard time for many, and some will be dealing with what has happened for a long time to come.  So, pray for them today, for all the ones you know who are in similar positions.  Let them know you love them, are thinking about them.  Offer to help in ways that you can, or perhaps drop off a meal for them so they don’t have to make one more decision.  

Bring a little light for them out of the gloom.  That’s what Advent leads us toward.  

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 13, 2022

•December 13, 2022 • Leave a Comment

This day, please pray for the person in your family for whom you care the least. 

There is a song by Paul Thorn entitled “I Don’t Like Half The Folks I Love.”  I won’t quote those lyrics here today, but you might hear me quote them another time.  Family can be the most judgmental and the most loving, and those contradictions can drive the most stable of us a bit crazy.  So pray for “that person” today.  

Pray that they have a day of peace, love, and strength.  Add anything else you want them to have as they experience this day.  

Today’s song is one which we don’t sing very often, but is quite beautiful.  Enjoy!

Savior of the Nations, Come

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 214

Text: Martin Luther (sts 1, 2); trans. by William Reynolds 

Music: Enchiridion Odeer Handbuchlein; harm. J.S. Bach 

Tune: NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND, Meter: 77.77

Savior of the nations, come; 

Virgin’s son, here make thy home! 

Marvel now, O heaven and earth, 

that the Lord chose such a birth. 

Not by human flesh and blood; 

by the Spirit of our God 

was the Word of God made flesh, 

woman’s offspring, pure and fresh. 

Wondrous birth! O wondrous child

Of the Virgin undefiled!

Human and divine in one,

Eager now his race to run!

God Creator is his source,

Back to God he runs his course,

Down to death and hell descends,

God’s high throne he reascends.

Now thy manger’s halo bright

Hallows night with newborn light;

Let no night this light subdue,

Let our faith shine ever new.

UMH 214 – Savior of the Nations, Come

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 12, 2022

•December 11, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Our song for today is “Away In A Manger.”  Today, we are being treated to Rev. Jeni Markham Clewell and Lee Skinner-Noble playing a cello duet in our sanctuary.  This video is from 2020.

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 217

Text: Anonymous 

Music: James R. Murray, 1841-1905 

Tune: —, Meter: 11 11.11 11

1. Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, 

the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. 

The stars in the sky looked down where he lay, 

the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay. 

2. The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, 

but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes; 

I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky 

and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh. 

3. Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay 

close by me forever, and love me, I pray; 

bless all the dear children in thy tender care, 

and fit us for heaven to live with thee there. 

Here is the link to the song:

Away In A Manger Cello duet

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Advent Devotional – December 9, 2022

•December 8, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Our hymn today in this time of Advent is Blessed Be The God of Israel.

Blessed Be the God of Israel

The United Methodist Hymnal Number 209

Text: Michael Perry, 1973 (Lk. 1:68-70) 

Music: Hal H. Hopson, 1983 

Tune: MERLE’S TUNE, Meter: 76.76 D

Blessed be the God of Israel, 

who comes to set us free;

who visits and redeems us, 

who grants us liberty.

The prophets spoke of mercy, 

of freedom and release;

God shall fulfill that promise 

and bring our people peace.

Now from the house of David

a child of grace has given;

a Savior comes among us

to raise us up to heaven.

Before him goes the herald,

forerunner in the way,

the prophet of salvation,

the harbinger of day.

On prisoners of darkness

the sun begins to rise,

the dawning of forgiveness

upon the sinner’s eyes,

To guide the feet of pilgrims

along the paths of peace;

O bless our God and Savior

with songs that never cease!

Here is a link to a video of the song. 

Blessed Be the God of Israel. Michael Perry & Hal. H. Hopson. United Methodist hymnal 209.

Peace be with you. – Paul

Peace Be With You. – Paul