From Everywhere to Everywhere
Advent & Christmas 2022
Room for Us--All of Us
December 24, 2022 • Rev. Ric Shewell • Isaiah 9:2–7, Luke 2:1–20
The word for “guest room” is same word for “upper room” where Jesus has the last supper. There were no “inns” in Jesus’s time. There was no room in an upper guest room for Jesus to be born in. Jesus begins his life as one for whom no one makes room, and he ends his life by making room for all at his table. Even when we think we can’t make room for Jesus in our lives, Jesus makes room for us in his life.
The Holy Chosen Family
December 18, 2022 • Rev. Ric Shewell • Matthew 1:18–25, Isaiah 7:10–16, Psalm 121
Joseph is already bending the law to quietly divorce Mary rather than have her punished for being found pregnant. But then Joseph is called to do one better: take in Mary and adopt the boy. Jesus knows what it is to be adopted, to be welcomed into a family. How did this affect Jesus’s ministry? We don’t know much about Joseph or what kind of father he was. But we do know that Jesus’s preferred metaphor for God was “Father.” Joseph must have done a few things right.
In the Wheat and in the Weeds
December 11, 2022 • Rev. Ric Shewell • Matthew 11:2–11, Isaiah 35, Psalm 146
John preached that Jesus would come and separate the weeds from the wheat, but now that Jesus’s ministry is in full swing, John finds himself in prison. John is in the weeds, and now questions whether or not Jesus is the One. We still got weeds. Jesus tells John’s followers to go back and report the good deeds (the wheat) that are happening, even though John can’t see them because he’s in prison (the weeds). Even when we are in the weeds, our hope is not misplaced in Jesus. We live in a time, for some reason, where the weeds and the wheat grow together.
A Voice for the Outsiders
December 4, 2022 • Rev. Ric Shewell • Psalm 72, Matthew 3:1–12, Isaiah 11:1–10
The temple in Jerusalem, like all religious systems, can become an echo chamber, losing its spark and aliveness. The temple, and all religious systems, need a shock to the system to hear again God’s world changing love. John the Baptist is that shock to the system! Leading a movement of people who were deemed unworthy for the temple, he calls the world the change and prepare for the coming of Christ.
The World Is Waiting
November 27, 2022 • Rev. Ric Shewell • Matthew 24:36–44, Isaiah 2:1–5, Psalm 122
The call of the first Sunday in advent is always a call of hope! Hope is the promised future breaking into the present. Hope is like walking through a kitchen before dinner is ready and tasting the meal that’s to come. Hope is not having the gifts yet, but feeling they’re in the house somewhere. Our world is hoping for love and peace to reign in all things, and if we look around, we find tastes and hints that that world is on the way. Are we paying attention?