I Am Silent… And Expectant…

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given.
I would be silent now, Lord, and expectant…
that I may receive the gift I need,
so I may become the gifts others need.
Guerrillas of Grace Ted Loder

We don’t usually think of Advent as the season to be silent.  We usually reserve silence for Lent.  We view Advent as a busy time, a time to prepare for the Christmas celebration – a time for shopping and decorating and gift-giving and entertaining family and friends with parties and feasts.  Carols float our across the aisles to remind us, “Tis the season to be jolly!”  This is not the time for silence!  But, silence comes.

Some evening, if for only a moment, in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, something will cause you to stop what you are doing, and listen – silent, expectantly.  Maybe you will be getting into your car, your arms loaded with packages.  Maybe things are tight, and your arms are empty this year.  But, somewhere, somehow, during this Advent season, your eyes will be drawn irresistibly to the night sky, blue-black, and filled with stars.  You will pause, eyes shimmering with awe and wonder, as out of the silence, God whispers in your ear, “For unto you, a child is born.  Unto you, the gift is given.”

Suddenly, it will be clear to you as never before, what this whole Advent/Christmas thing is all about.  Suddenly, you will understand how it must have been for the shepherds, standing out under the starry sky, silenced by the sound of angel wings beating against the night air, waiting with fear and trembling, as the God-Gift was revealed to them.  How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given; not a package, but a person – Jesus, the Christ!  A treasure, given for us forever!

History repeats itself.  Year after year, we wait in silent expectation for the God-Gift to return.  Advent after Advent, God, who lives among us, comes to us anew in the silence of our own hearts.  Suddenly, the packages and the parties pale in comparison.  For that brief moment, it won’t matter whether you have gifts under the tree or not, if you have loved ones beside you or not.  You will know that you have everything you need, right there inside you.

This Advent, as you wait expectantly for the God-Gift that is Christ to be born anew in you, may the silence of the moment bring you more joy than you have ever experienced!  May you, like the shepherds, run all the way to Bethlehem, to see this God-Gift for yourself.  May you go out from that place gifted, to be the gifts that others need.

Happy Advent and a Merry Christmas! Pastor Barb

But Mary treasured all these words,

and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

Scouts receive God and Church Awards

This article is taken from Savannah Now:
http://savannahnow.com/closeups/2009-12-29/scouts-receive-god-and-church-awards

Brother Albert Hill presents God and Church Awards to Life Scout Alex Jonas and Life Scout Johnathan Collins.

By For the Closeup

Two Boy Scouts from the Coastal Empire Council Troop 691 received their God and Church Award in a ceremony Nov. 15 at Faulkville Baptist Church.

Life Scout Alex Jonas and Life Scout Johnathan Collins, both of the Marlow area of Effingham County, received their certificates and medals from Brother Albert Hill, the preacher of Faulkville Baptist Church.

Troop 691 is in the Ogeechee District and meets at Zion Lutheran Church at Ga. 17 and Ga. 30 on Thursday nights.

Scoutmaster Norman Munthe explains: “A Scout is reverent, and all Scouts show this by being faithful in their duty to God. Some go further and give special service.”

Jonathan and Alex worked many weeks with Hill. They had to study the Bible, write essays and fulfill other requirements to qualify them for the religious emblem.

Alex has in the past earned his God and Me (Cub Scout) and God and Family (Webelo Scout) awards.

A variety of religious-emblems programs are used by the Boy Scouts to encourage youth to learn about their faith and to recognize adults who provide significant service to youth in a religious environment. These religious programs are created, administered and awarded by the various religious groups, not the Boy Scouts, but each program must be recognized by the Boy Scouts.

Since 1926, Boy Scouts have been earning these emblems. Today, there are more than 35 religious groups represented by more than 75 recognized emblems.

 

A Thank You from Bishop H. Julian Gordy

(Excerpts)
December 4, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

During my recent trip to Effingham County, I was very pleased to learn some of the details of your significant support of the Lutheran Mission of Abundant Life in Pooler, Georgia. Since the mission began, your support and partnership have been instrumental to the Gospel work of that developing congregation. …

Pr. Seth Bridger is convinced that Abundant Life would not have developed to the current point of health and vitality that it now embodies without your willingness to serve as the Sponsoring Congregation and Fiscal Agent. …

On behalf of our Southeastern Synod and the ELCA, I take this opportunity to express gratitude for your good work. I especially thank two persons who have served faithfully as liaisons with Abundant Life: Mr. Joe Studier, for his willingness in serving as the first Treasurer of the Pooler Mission and Mr. Thomas Kessler, Treasurer of Zion Lutheran, for his instrumental role and integrity.

Thanks to the entire Zion congregation for your active mission partnership with Abundant Life. May God continue to bless the good work you do in Jesus’ name.

Very sincerely,

+ H. Julian Gordy
Bishop
ELCA Southeastern Synod