1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.
Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Joining or starting or belonging to a new community, no matter what age you may be, can be invigorating. Church provides a very unique venue in doing so: like Paul and the Thessalonians, who faced intergenerational opportunities for spreading good news despite trials and tribulation.
As they discovered long ago just after Jesus’ life, trying to start new paths call us to look for learning; look for the possibility for growth. At first not all that well received, the new community at Thessalonia looked for pain’s possibilities. Paul called them to be alert. When faced with change and upheaval they were to look for the good; to render thanks.
Being in community strengthens and encourages us in faith. Trials are our common lot but we are to lean into faith, which consoles. Paul and those of the new community in Thessalonia didn’t idle during great trials but allowed loss to evolve into gain. Their failures led to learning.
So share your breastplates of faith with one another and discover threads of courage and light; the flickers of hope for tomorrow.
Savior of the Nations, Come
“Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” (English: “Savior of the Nations, Come”) is a Lutheran chorale of 1524 with words written by Martin Luther. The chorale was used as the prominent hymn for the first Sunday of Advent for centuries. The tune – simple and beguiling – fits perfectly with this season of preparation for the great Feast of the Nativity.
From God’s heart the Savior speeds;
back to God his pathway leads;
out to vanquish death’s command,
back to reign at God’s right hand.
Now your manger, shining bright,
hallows night with newborn light.
Night cannot this light subdue;
let our faith shine ever new.
Praise we sing to Christ the Lord,
virgin’s son, incarnate Word!
To the holy Trinity
praise we sing eternally.
This week’s recording is of this tune played on the Westminster Organ. Verse 1 is just the melody and showcases the foundation stops in the positiv division. Verse 2 is performed on the Oboe. Verse 3 is a choral prelude by German Baroque composer Dietrich Buxtehude. Verse 4 returns to only the melody and features our “chiffy” flute: the small percussive sound at the beginning of each note is a “chiff,” and is cause by the sudden rush of air into the pipe.
First Sunday of Advent—the Candle of Hope
The children and youth of Westminster were asked to talk about the word hope. This is their response:
Dear Lord, thank you for giving us hope.
Support the Alternative Giving Bazaar
As a part of your Advent devotion, we encourage you to participate in this year’s Alternative Giving Bazaar, which supports the essential needs of the children of the United Orphanage and Academy (Moi’s Bridge, Kenya) and those served by our other local, national and international mission partners, as well as the Westminster Community Grant program.
To participate, go to wpc-alex.org/agb, where you will find videos and introductions to these partners and how your support enables their mission. Or visit the AGB display (and potentially pick up some goodies) when you attend in-person worship the weeks of December 5 and 12.