Lent & Advent

Advent 2020 – December 14

Jim Hopkins

December 13, 2020

Visioning Texts for Today
Mark Liebenow
(Mark Liebenow is an essayist, poet, blogger and a longtime friend of Lakeshore)

Psalm 125 (NRSV)

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people,
    from this time on and forevermore.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
    on the land allotted to the righteous,
so that the righteous might not stretch out
    their hands to do wrong.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
    and to those who are upright in their hearts.
But those who turn aside to their own crooked ways
    the Lord will lead away with evildoers.
    Peace be upon Israel!

Those who trust in God shall be strong like El Capitan,
                        which cannot be moved.
As the Sierra Nevada mountains protect Yosemite Valley
                        so God surrounds the faithful from now until forever.
The power of the wicked
                        will not control the hearts of the righteous,
                        nor cause them to turn from their paths.
                        They will stand tall against the raging storms
                        like the giant sequoias that weave their roots together.
Take care, O God, of those who are trying to do good,
                        those who are upright in their hearts.
As for those who do wrong,
                        those who seek only money, prestige, and power,
                        God will lead them away from the mountains.
Peace will flow down like the seven waterfalls
                        and nurture those in the valley who are humble,
                        who show compassion for the broken, the sick,
                        the troubled, the widowed, the hungry,
                        the homeless, and those lost in despair.

Ephesians 6:10-17 (NRSV)

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Put on the clothing of God so that you can deflect the beguiling persuasions of the haughty and evasive, withstand the lies and parlor tricks of the deceptive, and live long lives unconflicted by greed or by fear. Fasten the shoes of truth to your feet to keep you grounded. Wear colorful hats, cashmere scarves and spats, and walk down the street with happy smiles and balloons. Sing the slow blues of sorrow’s many hues. Sing of redemption, salvation, and the conviction of faith. Sing of the heartbreak that unbinds the restrictions on love. Play the hoop drum with the rhythmic hum of your heart. Tell others your stories of struggle and hope, of triumph and the wait for enduring peace to come. Give thanks for today and the warmth of each other. Remember your need for community and grace, for deliverance and places where you can blossom. And when you become too serious, go outside and listen to the deep-hearted thrum of this cosmic birth. May joy dance in your feet and the glances of your eyes. Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God.

LABC Zoom Gatherings

LABC Youth Group – 7:00 p.m. Monday

No Soup, But Study – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday

LABC Church Council Meeting – 7:00 p.m. Tuesday

Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study – 10:30 a.m.

Together in Spirit – 6:30 p.m. Thursday