“Stir up our hearts O Lord, to prepare the way for your Son, the Anointed One,
the Messiah…and come soon (taken from the prayer of the day in Advent).”
The Season of Advent is here and our preparations have begun. We are preparing our heart for God to come and dwell among us. Sometimes we are blinded by this activity of decorating as we get out the tree and ornaments. We hang garland and lights, purchase groceries and presents and then take time to wrap them in pretty paper with bows. We are blinded by the business of shopping for things…that we forget to prepare our hearts for the gift of Love sent to us from God. We want to keep perspective with our church beliefs and worship practices, but the truth is that when Sunday comes our energy level is so low that we turn “sabbath” into a day of REST and not The Day of The Lord.
This is where our practice of keeping daily devotion time in Advent is so important. Advent is the time when you, O church get ready for the day of the Lord. To help you prepare, place the little booklet called “Our Hope and Expectation: Devotions for Advent and Christmas 2020-2021” in a visible place so you will be reminded to read one lesson each day. Then reflect on the promises of God and the proclamation of the prophets to look for God and to wait upon His arrival. Read God’s Word and expect it to bring about a change in your heart. Know also that it will bring about a change in this church community and unify our faith.
This is how you and I can participate in preparing our heart for Christ. Isaiah 64:1 proclaims “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down”, but how are we in a position to watch for God to come down? Isaiah 40:1 whispers to us all, “Comfort, O comfort my people says God”. Slow down in the days ahead so that you will be comforted knowing that the Messiah will soon arrive. Let’s keep our lamps trimmed, stay alert and keep watch. In that we are comforted by daily devotion, let us give comfort to those around us. Now, you will be ready for the “Day of the Lord” and the Church will be prepared when he comes again.
Do not settle for a ho-hum Sunday of rest, rather, through a habit of daily devotion prepare your heart for God’s gift that is on the way. “Stir up our hearts O Lord and come…
Are you excited to see Him? Are your preparations in place? I am excited and surely do not want anything to get in the way of His arrival. Especially not a silly distraction and I am sure you know what I mean. Carry on and prepare for His promise that stands forever.
See you in church!
Pastor John Tucker
A Message from Pastor Carrie:
On July 28, 2007 Bob and I married in Greenville, NC. The council president from Calvary Lutheran in Spencer attended our wedding and gave me the most unusual wedding gift; a set of keys to the church! The weight of that gift was enormous but I also thought, (gulp) “Ok Jesus...here we go. I can only do this with your help God!” Three weeks later, on August 18th, I was ordained. Coincidentally, Pastor Susan Bame was ordained one week later. I didn’t know that I would follow Susan in a call, but God did! So here I stand.
We moved to Rowan County and purchased a home in Granite Quarry. Being raised on Long Island; a very long sand bar. I found the quarries tremendously inspirational. What an amazing backdrop to these words.
Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness,
you that seek the LORD.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
And to the quarry from which you were dug. (Isaiah 51: 1)
There’s something so assuring when I stand on that rock!
Jesus tells Peter...
...you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. (Matthew 15: 18)
With keys in hand and the help of God, like Peter, I took up the mission of Christ.
Many of my friends from seminary express a feeling of being drained after leading worship, but for me it’s exactly the opposite. I draw my strength from leading worship! I draw strength from; welcoming, preaching, Confession and Forgiveness, presiding over the Eucharist, sending...all this fills me with more love than I thought one person could contain.
I miss worship!
I miss the pouring out of Love, the being filled with hope. I miss drawing upon the assurance that “the gates of Hades will not prevail”!
I know too that each of you miss worship also! I hear it in your voices when we talk on the phone. I hear it in frustration as the council faithfully tries to find a way that we can gather safely for worship.
The threads that tie each of you together are strong, an intricate tapestry, created by the Holy Spirit, God has woven together the frayed edges of each member at Lutheran Chapel. This tapestry is beautiful beyond measure. I know this too from your voices and stories that we have shared on the phone. And I long for the day when we will be able to gather and worship!
I long to SEE this beautiful tapestry. I long to hear the cords of your voices lifted up as one in praise to God!
Until that day comes, I remain standing on the rock, upon the assurance that “the gates of Hades will not prevail”! I lift up my voice in prayer for all of you! May you be safe. May your spirit be filled. May the Love of God that surpasses all human understanding, bring you peace.
Pastor Carrie Bishop