Midweek Message

November 21, 2011

Jim Hopkins

November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to All,
I give thanks for the ministry we share and the community we are.  May God continue to work through us in the busy days ahead and may this Thanksgiving week be time of mindfulness, gratitude and peace for us all.
This Sunday, November 27, is the first Sunday of Advent.  The theme for my Advent and Christmas sermons this year is “The Many Gifts of Christmas.” Each Sunday I will invite us to consider the ways in which the birth of Jesus was a gift to one of the characters we meet in the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke.
This Sunday my sermon will be “A Gift for the Aging.” The text will be Luke 2: 21-40.  In this text the almost two month old Jesus is taken to the Temple in Jerusalem where he is greeted by the aging Simeon and Anna.  These two seniors are faithful participants in the life of the Temple.  They represent the aging of the world.  They represent all us who know that dreams don’t always come true, that promises are frequently broken, that wishing for something does not make it so.  Simeon and Anna have learned the hard lessons of life.  They know that life is difficult. Yet, in Jesus, they find confirmation for  their belief that God does not give up on God’s people.  Thus, their realism does not morph into cynicism. Their honest assessment of life does not become helpless alienation.  Rather than giving up they hold on.  Simeon’s response to the child is timeless, “Now let your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen the salvation you have prepared for your people.” 

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Grant Hanson – Garden Terrace, Piedmont Gardens
  • Shirley Jones – Recuperating at Summit Hospital SNF
  • Debra Dizen for her daughter
  • Ann Fields for her family
  • Kay Baxter for her children
  • Our Thanksgiving Basket Ministry
  • The Sims Family
  • Sandra Dunn for her father and herself
  • Lelia Sarratt for the Warren Family and the Trevigne Family
  • Helen Harrison as she continue to recuperate
  • All who are traveling
  • Toni Daniels-Gordon for Jullien, Pamela and herself
  • Phil and Gloria Meads for Joy, Charlie Fender and Erin
  • All who have lost jobs and homes
  • Geetha Thaker as she ares to go to Haiti to provide medical care
  • All our shut ins
  • All who must work on Thanksgiving
  • For all who make economic decisions that impact people, communities, states and nations
  • For the Kachins and all the peoples of Burma (Myanmar) in the face of persecution and war
  • Thanksgiving with Camille Parker that Alice Benjamin’s health is much improved
  • Lura and Art Ferguson, homebound in Concord


It will be a great help if we have a great turnout for our Advent/Christmas Decorating Party on Sunday after church.  All ages are needed and welcome.  Please bring a snack to share for Coffee Hour and a vegetable for the Stone Soup with which we will end the day.  Hope to see you there.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

O God, giver of all good, who continually pours your benefits upon us, age after age the living wait upon you and find that of your faithfulness there is no end and that  your care is unfailing.  We praise you that the mystery of our life is a mystery of infinite goodness.  We praise you for the order and constancy of nature; for the beauty and bounty of the earth; for day and night, summer and winter, seedtime and harvest; for the varied gifts of loveliness and use which every season brings. We give you thanks for all the comfort and joy of life, and for our homes, for our friends, and for all the love and sympathy and goodwill of all people.  Amen. (Book of Worship, United Church of Christ)
Tyrone and I thank the Pastoral Relations Committee and the Congregation for the beautiful, wonderful, tasty and happy recognition of our birthdays this past Sunday!!!