People, Get Ready!

12.2.18 Jeremiah 33:14-16

The signs are all around us.  When we arrived at our rental condo for our Thanksgiving family gathering last Wednesday, the entrance lobby was decorated with pumpkins and wreaths with orange ribbons. When we left on Sunday morning the pumpkins were gone and there were preparations for Christmas decor being made. Thanksgiving is behind us now.  Emotionally,fall is over.  It is time to get ready for Christmas.  I often bemoan the early jump that the stores make toward Christmas, pushing us to think about gift giving and decorating even before Thanksgiving hits.  But in a way, our commercialized society is doing just what the church is calling us to do—creating an extended time to get ready.  Target or Amazon or Macy’s—just plug in your favorite store name– want you to get ready to spend money, to meet everyone else’s expectations, to find the newest style or device or toy, which often can stress you out.  Advent is the time when the church is calling you to get ready for a birth into something new.  Something new is about to happen,and we need to be ready to participate, to receive, to celebrate. Advent means coming.  It begins today and marks the four Sundays prior to Christmas as days to get ready for the Coming One. We know that Jesus has already come.  That we celebrate again and again.  But Advent offers us a time to reflect, to pray, to give thanks, to give time to others.  It is really more than getting ready to celebrate Christmas again.  It is getting ready for a return of Christ, it is looking forward to a time when this world we inhabit will be a new place, a more just world that is safer,more accessible, fairer, and even a place that empowers those who have been left out in the cold, and I’m not just talking about the weather.  We are anticipating the kin-dom of God, the place where our relationships with one another create a more just world for the children in our midst, children of God of all ages and stages of life. 

Continue reading “People, Get Ready!”

Reasons to Praise God: The 10 C’s

Psalm 146    Rejoice, give thanks and sing!       9.9.18

Hallelujah!  What a joy it is to be gathered in this historic place sixty years after this Moller organ was first installed, listening to its pipes shout out praises to God.  We are grateful that so many of you who have been a part of this church family in the past are able to celebrate with us today.  We are grateful to those who made the current renovations to our organ possible earlier this year, including a special gift from the Hokusei Gakuen School System in Sapporo, Japan, with whom Hunting Ridge formed a bond in the 1950’s through a missionary school teacher named Dorothy Taylor.  At Dorothy’s insistence, our church donated an organ to their school’s chapel many years ago, and now they have made a gift toward our organ renovation project!  We are grateful to be a diverse, energetic family of Jesus who call Hunting Ridge home so that we can be Christ’s hands and feet out in the world.

Our text for today kicks off the last five psalms in the psalter which are called the “hallelujah psalms”.  Each one begins and ends with Hallelujah—when we translate the Hebrew  into English we get:  “Praise the Lord.”  How fitting for us to begin and end with Hallelujah today!  Today we praise the Lord for what God has done and will do in and through this community of faith.  Today we praise the Lord for the use of an organ which has been provided for us by our ancestors, an organ that is being preserved and cared for so that future generations will enjoy it’s sounds.

Several years ago, when I spoke with Michael Britt,  who is the organist at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian, about the need to refurbish our 1958 organ, he seriously encouraged us to not let this musical treasure go to waste by deferring necessary maintenance.  He offered to help us raise funds by giving a concert with a silent movie, which he does periodically at Brown Memorial.  Continue reading “Reasons to Praise God: The 10 C’s”