Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 This is the first time after Easter that we find the disciples even mentioning Judas Iscariot. We find Peter describing that the actions of Judas were foretold by the prophets, and that Judas truly was one of the disciples. There is no indication of blame or hate for what Judas did. No condemnation in the words of Peter. Do we treat those among us who take significant and seemingly negative actions in the same way? Not always.
UPCOMING WEEKS In addition to the lectionary resources there are thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
Bill Thomas Frank Ramirez Ron Love Mark Ellingsen Bonnie Bates
Isaiah 7:10-16 Kindness seems in short supply today. Think of nastiness of a lot of social media posts – cyberbullying. The Cyberbullying Research Center reports that in 2016 38% of American children had experienced this at least once. Let’s not forget all the unkindness appearing on Twitter since the last Presidential election. Victorian-era art critic John Ruskin once put it just right: “A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.”
What’s in a name? A lot. Parents spend months thinking and arguing about what to name their children. Before we can speak, we learn that there is a specific sound that means us. We later learn that sound is “Sam” or some other name. Our name is the first thing that is ours unequivocally. Some of us hold onto that with a firm grip, for example I am Bethany and never Beth. Others love to play around with nicknames. I have a friend who changed her name every four years or so. You can tell at what life stage someone met her based on what name they call her.
Call to Worship: Just before the first Christmas, an angel appeared to Joseph to tell him that Jesus would also be called "Emmanuel", meaning "God With Us." Let us listen to the guidance of the angels today as we prepare to receive God With Us once again. Invitation to Confession: Jesus, fill me with the awe of Christmas. Lord, have mercy. Jesus, fill me with the mystery of Christmas. Christ, have mercy. Jesus, fill me with Emmanuel -- God with us. Lord, have mercy.