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Mystical And Real

Best Wedding Meditations
An Anthology
(This wedding meditation was used at the marriage of a young couple in the author's parish. The service included the hymn, "O Perfect Love" and Psalm 128, with the guests participating. The wedding party took their places in the front pew following the processional and remained there until after the meditation.)
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Advent 2
30 – Sermons
130+ – Illustrations / Stories
36 – Children's Sermons / Resources
33 – Worship Resources
32 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Advent 3
29 – Sermons
120+ – Illustrations / Stories
36 – Children's Sermons / Resources
35 – Worship Resources
30 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Advent 4
32 – Sermons
140+ – Illustrations / Stories
37 – Children's Sermons / Resources
30 – Worship Resources
32 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Plus thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
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New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
Thomas Willadsen
George Reed
Dean Feldmeyer
Quantisha Mason-Doll
Katy Stenta
For November 27, 2022:

Emphasis Preaching Journal

David Coffin
Imagine a church women’s group who meets monthly in the church basement around coffee and snacks. The women in this group are elderly. The youngest women are recently retired school teachers in their early 60s of age. It is a cold December evening, when it gets dark outside around 5:30 p.m. After their Bible study, the women have a business meeting regarding their financial resources in this Christmas season.
Mark Ellingsen
Bill Thomas
Frank Ramirez
Bonnie Bates
Isaiah 2:1-5
Advent is a time for new beginnings. Regarding the new era described in this text, John Calvin once offered advice on how to live in this time of anticipation:
Frank Ramirez
One of the joys of Thanksgiving is having a reason to give thanks to our Creator. Some years its more difficult to give thanks. For many of us these past two years there were tough choices to be made in the midst of the pandemic, and as I write this, though I am an optimist, I consider myself a realistic optimist. We have the assurance from God’s Word that, in the words of Julian of Norwich, “All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.” That’s true for the long term. Sometimes it’s true for the short term as well.
Mark Ellingsen
Bill Thomas
Frank Ramirez
Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Psalm 100
Thomas Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky in 1866. He received his education in a little country schoolhouse, and at age sixteen began teaching there. He became a Christian at the age of 27. With no college or seminary training, he was ordained to the Methodist ministry at the age of 36. He served as a Methodist minister for a year, but ill health made it impossible for him to continue. He then moved to Vineland, New Jersey, where he opened an insurance office.


John E. Sumwalt
Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (v. 42)

I kept a daily journal for many years in which I jotted down some of the interesting things that occurred in my life as a pastor. I was aware that what I was doing was a great privilege, that to be able to be with people during some of the most significant moments of their lives is no small thing. But I am more humbled now as I look back at these holy moments.
Sandra Herrmann
"Practice Makes Perfect" by Sandra Herrmann
"Dance to the Music" by C. David McKirachan
"Bread" by Keith Hewitt

* * * * * * * * *

Note: This installment was originally published in 2010.

Practice Makes Perfect
Sandra Herrmann
Deuteronomy 26:1-11


John Jamison
Object: Three signs, like those you might hold at a rally; a poster on a stick. One sign should have the word “MOUNTAIN” on it in big letters, another should have the word “DESERT” and the third should have the word “TEMPLE.” Select three children who can play the roles of sign wavers and shouters.

* * *

Hello, everyone! (Let them respond.) Are you ready for our story? (Let them respond.) Awesome! Let’s go!
John Jamison
Object: Little paper sacks of food, such as small cookies. Have each piece of food individually wrapped so it can be handled. Sacks should have different amounts of food inside, with some very full, and some half-full. You could even have one or two sacks empty. It is best if the sacks are paper or made from something else that does not allow the children to see what is inside. For extra fun, fill the less empty sacks with paper or something to make them appear to be more full.

* * *

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Call to Worship:

Jesus said that we must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. In our worship today, let us explore how we might make ourselves ready to meet Jesus.

Invitation to Confession:

Jesus, sometimes you seem so remote that I don't think you are real.

Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, sometimes I don't want to meet you.

Christ, have mercy.

Jesus, sometimes I'm too busy to spend time waiting for you.

Lord, have mercy.


Gregory L. Tolle
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. (vv. 3-4)

Constance Berg
Carla's back ached, her wedding ring wouldn't go on her finger, and her baby was kicking like crazy. She was eight months along and she and her husband, Brad, were eagerly looking forward to the birth of their first baby. Carla had had an uneventful pregnancy but today she was a little tired. The washing machine was going to be fixed tomorrow, but today all she could find to wear were old knit pants. At least her shirt was nice!
Alex A. Gondola, Jr.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me ...
Let us walk with each other
In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me ...
To take each moment and live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

Timothy J. Smith
Advent always seems out of place with everything else that is going on around us. While people are rushing toward Christmas in a shopping frenzy our observance is markedly different. Sometimes we get so lost in the sentiment and traditions of Christmas that we have difficulty connecting with the themes of Advent. Advent is about waiting expectantly while longing for God to act. However, we must admit that we grow impatient and demand immediate satisfaction.
Donna E. Schaper
In the letter to the people at Philippi, Paul wanted us to think on things that are beautiful, pure, and excellent. He wanted to teach us asset-based thinking. He wanted to teach us the art of appreciative inquiry. He wanted to limit criticism and the culture of complaint. Paul wanted us to be thankful.

Oddly, being thankful does not come naturally to us.

R. Kevin Mohr
In law I believe there is a basic legal principle that goes something to the effect that "possession is nine-tenths of the law." In other words, in a property or land dispute, the onus is really on the person who claims the other has his or her possession. It is a corollary, I suppose, to "innocent until proven guilty." Therefore, the person who has possession of the disputed property does not have to prove ownership, the plaintiff does.
Susan R. Andrews
It's the same year after year. On this most somnolent of American weekends when it takes three days to recover from one day of gluttony, this lazy weekend when some people sleep in for four days in a row - it is this Sunday that the church decides to defy the culture and catapult us into a new year - smacking us first with judgment and then with demand. It is this weekend that the liturgical calendar tells us to "Wake Up!" Life as we know it will eventually end. Get up! The world as we experience it will surely change. Watch!
Robert S. Jarboe
(Distribute this sheet to the readers.)


Reader A:

Reader B:

(As the introit is being sung, Readers A and B come forward and stand by the Advent wreath until the music is finished.)

Reader A: Please turn to the Advent litany in your bulletins.
(Pause as they do so.)
Blessed is the man who hopes in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

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