Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 14, Gather

good shepherdThe thought behind the photo:
Jesus, the Good Shepherd
Gathering the flock from far and wide
Strong, yet tender in the tending

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40:11 NIV
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those that have young.

The Taste of Death
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

I am held. I need to be held. I will be held.
I am held captive by downfall and falsehood
or I am held by Christ
whose outstretched arms free me from fear and captivity

Who holds me? Death or Christ?

Great Love bends low to us
Suffers with us and for us
Tastes death so we might be free

What does death taste like?
Amniotic fluid and stable hay
Breast milk and sawdust
Bread broken before sour wine
Salty tears, bitter fear
Ashes to ashes, mud pie
Blood and water served on a centurion’s spear
Linen, spices or stone?

Word made Flesh
Flesh made Mercy
Taste and see that the Lord is good

I am held. I need to be held. I will be held.
Hold me, Jesus

For an incredible video of Phil Keaggy singing Hold Me Jesus by Rich Mullins,
click here

The December 14, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 3:12 NRSV
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Clearing the threshing floor and burning the chaff isn’t quite the image we associate with Advent or Christmas, now is it? No one wants to think of judgment and repentance during such a merry time of year.

Earlier in this text, the rogue John the Baptist appears wearing camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey, proclaiming, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” and “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

What kind of preaching in the wilderness do you think needs to be heard?

As you think about the message that needs to be shared, we leave you with the lyrics to the song, Gather us In, found in the United Methodist Hymnal Supplement, The Faith We Sing:

Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven, light years away
Here in this place the new light is shining, now is the kingdom, and now is the day.
Gather us in and hold us forever, gather us in and make us your own;
Gather us in, all peoples together, fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

**********
Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><

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