Words of Hope

December 13, 2020

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC

3rd Sunday of Advent – Year B
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC

June Worship – Hearing Other Voices

This week Church of the Servant used our worship time to hear the voices of St. Stephen A.M.E. church, led by their Pastor, Rev. Thomas Nixon. When I asked Pastor Nixon how they’re doing virtual worship in the midst of COVID-19, he shared the evolution…

It started with a video recording of worship from the sanctuary, providing Rev. Nixon with the familiar pulpit, yet preaching to empty pews. When the A.M.E. Bishops directed their clergy to no longer use the sanctuary, he began recording video-sermons seated in front of his computer camera – not his style. The congregation let him know that it was more important that they hear him preach “as he is” than to see him in a way that didn’t ring-true. So they’ve been worshiping each Sunday by teleconference. No video, just real-time, real Pastor Nixon, worship. Here is the sermon portion of that worship from today. He draws on Exodus 1:8-14.

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC

Proper 16, Year B
Ephesians 6:10-20

Listen here:

Read the rest of this entry »

God with Mary; God with Us!

December 21, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Advent 4– RCL Year B
2 Samuel 7:1-11; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

Although the Advent wreath prayers today were focused on Joseph, the text from Luke’s gospel is centered on Mary; specifically, the visit that she received from God’s messenger, Gabriel.

From out of the blue Gabriel appears to Mary saying, “Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you.”

Luke’s gospel gains immediate credibility for me when it tells us that Mary is confused by this greeting. Here she is, a young woman, probably in her early teens, most likely living a very ordinary life. As a girl, she wouldn’t have much influence on what would happen in her life. Her father had already decided who she would marry, which we know was Joseph.

From there, after their marriage, Mary would dutifully carry out the tasks of tending to the household. She doesn’t study or read scripture, but instead prepares the daily meals, carefully adhering to the dietary rules of the Jewish tradition. She makes sure that her husband’s needs are attended to, and there would certainly be an expectation that Mary would have children – hopefully male children, to carry on the family line.

And while all of these things are essential and good, they would not likely earn the greeting bestowed upon Mary this day, “Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you.” So, Mary is perplexed. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: