Advent 2: a great reversal

This week we continue to explore the “Good News” through Mary’s eyes. After Mary learned that she was pregnant, she visited an elderly relative, Elizabeth, who was also expecting a child (John the Baptist). When the two met Mary praised God with words that foreshadow Jesus’ main theme, that God’s love and mercy are not just for the strong and the holy, but also for the weak and the lowly.

Check out Luke 1:39-55 at

Mary’s words get at the powerful center of the gospel, the “great reversal” that her son Jesus will preach and, eventually, be killed for: God provides for, and loves (to death) all those who humbly seek him and are willing to be who God created them to be.

Being pious and holier-than-thou doesn’t cut it. Following religious rituals and practices isn’t the answer (although they can be helpful in developing spiritually if used well). Jesus’ core teachings are so simple – forgiveness, reconciliation, care for the poor, loving one’s enemies – that you can spend your entire life on them.

This week our plan is simple…to contemplate where we hear good news and “bad news” in Mary’s words, and how God is calling us to be good news to others. Join us Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4 pm at Fletchers’. Call Bob at 267.702.4262 to find out more.

To get a different take on Mary’s song, check out this recording by JJ Heller, called “My Savior’s Love Endures”:

Sample band press kits

Another favorite is “The Canticle of the Turning,” lyrics here:

Written by Bob Fisher in: uncategorized |

Advent: sharing our blessings

blue candlesLast week we began our Advent journey by exploring the “good news” that Jesus came to proclaim, the prophecy of Isaiah that he brought to life in front of a hometown crowd:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

We saw that the people of Nazareth found Jesus’ “good news” – God’s favor for the poor, the blind, and the outsiders, not just for them – to be bad news. (Luke 4:14:30,

We also started a benevolent project, using an Advent Giving Calendar that we distributed. This calendar asks us to look at what we have been blessed with and then respond with a small gift for those who are less fortunate. Together, we’re collecting the coins the calendar asks us to set aside, and after Christmas we will pool the resources and decide on a worthy cause to support.

You can download the calendar here:

Don’t worry if you didn’t start on the first day. Just jump in where you are. You can always catch up if you desire. Whatever you can do is a way to embody Christ’s message and “bring good news to the poor.”

Written by Bob Fisher in: advent,being church,gatherings,lent,service,spirituality |

Advent begins Nov. 29

blue candlesTomorrow (Sunday, Nov. 29) we start our Advent celebration with worship and dinner at Gallaghers’ starting at 4 pm.

Advent is the time we celebrate a new beginning, remembering how God came into the world as Jesus Christ to free and heal and save all of us. This Advent we’re focusing on “the Big Story,” the Good News that Jesus brought to us. Our reading for tomorrow is Luke 4:14-30 where Jesus announces his mission to the people of his hometown, and gets a surprising reaction.

Tomorrow we’ll light that first Advent candle, and we’ll have an Advent calendar for each family to use throughout the season. We’ll also provide some ideas for marking this season in your family. We really hope that you’ll join us as we look forward to a new season and a new year. We’re looking forward to being together to prepare to receive again the gift of Christ at Christmas.

Written by Bob Fisher in: uncategorized | Tags:

Persistent faith

Luke 18:1-8

“Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.”

Last week’s Kairos explored this parable, in which Jesus calls the disciples to persistent prayer. In this story, Jesus tells of a widow denied justice by a judge. She keeps going back to him, petitioning for justice. Eventually this judge gives her what she asks for. Not because he respects God or wants to do justice, but essentially to get this woman off his back. Jesus caps the story by saying the God, who loves us more than the judge cares for the widow, will be even quicker to respond to our cries for justice.

As we discussed this, several of us admitted to being uncomfortable with badgering God for what we want. One of the group expressed it well: “If I’m resting in my faith that God is supporting me all the time, then continually asking for what I want seems to mock that trust.” Someone else pointed out that the widow is seeking “justice,” not her own advantage; perhaps that is an acceptable thing to ask for.

Another question came up: Does Jesus have a deeper meaning in telling us to “pray always and not lose heart”?  What could he be pointing to? The parable’s example of asking for justice, and our discussion about asking for our needs/wants, are focused on outward circumstances, looking for God’s intervention in our external world. What would it look like if we focused Jesus’ example on our internal reality? (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,gatherings,spirituality,worship |

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