November 29, Day One of Week One – The Way of Peace through Hope

Bible 2Luke 24:30-32   “Jesus Has Risen.  On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.  When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”

Song:  Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone  Song LinkAmazing Grace

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Refrain:  My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

Refrain X2

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine, will be forever mine
You are forever mine

Reflection:  It may seem strange to start Advent with the story of Easter Reflection 4Sunday.  However, when we celebrate Christmas, are we not celebrating the result of the life of Jesus?  The wisdom of Jesus’ stories that teach us how to act and how to love.  The acceptance of all people, not just the ones that let us stay in our comfortable places.  The forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.  When we celebrate a small babe, we celebrate all that he brought to us with his life on Earth.  When we reflect on a bright star, it is not just the story of his birth that brings us hope.  The peace that carries us through our days is found in the Easter story, the end of a story which was really the beginning.

Action 3Action:  Consider what it means to have eternal life.  Consider how you would be different if you didn’t believe in God’s promise of hope.  Consider the emptiness of grief, the absoluteness of death.  When we attend funerals, we are celebrating the life of the one who has left us and the joy that they have entered eternal peace with God.  It is knowing that they live still that brings a measure of peace to our grief.  “Unending love, amazing grace.”  Give thanks for a God who loved us to send a babe on a night with a bright light that shone with the love of his greatest gift to us.  Live this day with that deep gratitude.

Dear God

Dear God,  like a flood, your mercy reigns, an amazing grace.  Thank you for your love that brings hope to death.  Thank you for the gift of Advent, as we prepare our hearts again to receive the blessings of the story of Jesus’ birth.  Help us to act in ways that honor such a gift.  Keep our hearts humble and wide open.  Knowing your grace is enough, Amen.

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