The thought behind the photo:
Our annual back to school fair brings together congregations, businesses, schools, organizations and government to bless our neighbors with story books, a Bible, a haircut, toiletries, a backpack full of supplies, gently used clothes, and a shopping trip to pick out a brand new outfit including shoes. People stay and have great conversations while enjoying the homemade goodies. The relationship building is so beautiful we’re expanding our year-round food pantry to include more services and more opportunities for conversation, prayer and blessing.
The righteousness that we need is not obedience. It’s a loving relationship—and this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God. In repentance we pray toward both God and neighbor, “I am not on my own. I am yours.” – Steve Garnaas Holmes, Prodigal Brothers
Your reach extends to every neighbor, every nation
Offering grace, forgiveness, wholeness, and hope
A saving embrace
Drawing us to you and each other
Make us your children
Grateful for a place in your family
Humble before your love and generosity
Faithful in honoring and welcoming all
Joyful in sharing what we have found in you
– Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, Make Us Your Children
SCRIPTURE: Galatians 5:13-14 CEB
You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.
The December 23, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:4-7, CEB
Lord God of heavenly forces, how long will you fume against your people’s prayer?
You’ve fed them bread made of tears; you’ve given them tears to drink three times over!
You’ve put us at odds with our neighbors; our enemies make fun of us.
Restore us, God of heavenly forces!
Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
Someone’s not happy. The familiar cry, “How long?” is echoed here. And according to the psalm, it’s not the people at fault. It’s God. The people see no sign of God’s presence in the midst of the turmoil they are experiencing. They are being made to look ridiculous in front of their neighbors. They are hurt and scorned.
How long, O Lord?
When was the last time you admitted these raw feelings to God? When have you screamed, asking, “Why, God?”
This Advent season, what is it you lament? What is it you are asking God to restore?
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 <><