posted Monday through Friday
Last week, Anne and I traveled to northern California so that we could gather with family as we attended her uncle’s funeral. He had lived most of his adult life in and around Lake County, a place that, like his North Dakotan childhood, is built on a vibrant agricultural economy. Like so much of this world, the seasonal rhythms of planting and harvest define much of life. I was thinking of the orchards and vineyards of Lake County as I prepared this week for our Thanksgiving Eve service, during which we heard from the prophet Joel:
Do not fear, O soil;Joel 2:21-22
be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
Do not fear, you animals of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
While significant parts of California have been particularly stressed by drought, wildfires, and worker shortages, the areas we explored last week seemed to be living richly into an abundant harvest. The branches of trees still sagged under the weight of ripening fruit. Vineyards, ready for fall pruning, looked healthy and the wineries were boasting of full tanks.
It’s into an abundant landscape such as this that the prophet reclaims God’s promises for a future. Our family gave thanks last week for a life filled by many blessings and all of God’s work made possible through Anne’s uncle. Look around you today and discover the ways that your own harvests may reveal God’s abundance of blessings. “Rejoice and be glad.” Give thanks and be reminded of God’s promised future.
May God’s peace come to you this day. -Pastor Peter
Let us pray…
Let the vineyards be fruitful, Lord,Text © 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, admin. Augsburg Fortress.
and ﬁll to the brim our cup of blessing.
Gather a harvest from the seeds that were sown,
that we may be fed with the bread of life.
Gather the hopes and the dreams of all;
unite them with the prayers we offer now.
Grace our table with your presence,
and give us a foretaste of the feast to come.
“Those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2)
These words welcome us into the Advent season. This year especially we may feel like we’re living in darkness. Not only are the days shorter but the pandemic lingers on, the climate is a mess, the economy is uncertain, politics are messy, Covid numbers continue to rise. It may feel like we are without hope.
Five years ago, singer/songwriter John Hermanson released an album called “Isaiah” which includes a collection of songs inspired by the words of the Old Testament prophet of the same name. The prophet’s words and the coming season of Advent have been linked ever since the church began its practice of preparing for the joy of the incarnation celebrated on Christmas. Isaiah speaks to the already and not yet qualities of God’s presence. Similarly, John’s music leads its listeners into a deeper contemplation of God’s activity, both that happening now and that still longed for.
“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” expresses the heart of Amos’s preaching. How do you hear these words?
I know I have often thought of them as a bit threatening—like a flash flood roaring down a canyon or wadi, washing away everything in its path.
Today's Author: Carol Swanson This last Sunday was Commitment Sunday, when we celebrated our partnerships in ministry and our commitment to fund our mission statement: We are claimed, gathered, and sent to build the church and love the world. I loved Pastor...