Take Off Your Captain America Socks
Advent begins in darkness.
It always does for those of us north of the equator.
The days are increasingly shorter, and have been slowly becoming so over the last few months, though we never really seem to notice until the November-December hinge of the year. These days I wake up in the dark and leave work in the dark more often than not.
And Advent readings, too, begin in the dark.  This year we'll be reading from the Gospel of Mark (my favorite Gospel), and the readings on Sunday continue this march through dark, apocalyptic texts that highlight beginnings and endings.
Before going on, why don't you read this Sunday's Gospel?  You can  click here to do that...the rest might not make much sense unless you read it first.
So let's get the elephant out of the room before we begin: Lutherans do not affirm the idea of a "rapture."  This theology that has totally infected Christendom is not an ancient idea, but a rather new one, fabricated (in my expert opinion) by a man named  John Nelson Darby in the 1800's.  He and his adherents, obviously in error, predicted the rapture would occur a few times...and yet, here we are.
I had a childhood friend recently write me for my opinion on the rapture.  Apparently he has a friend at work who is constantly waiting for it.  "What do you think about it?" he asked me.  "It's junk theology," I responded. "Not worth thinking about."
Usually I'm much more measured in my words, but this particular theology has caused harm to our planet, anxiety to infect our children, and has made millions of dollars for profiteers who plague on the fearful.  The only thing that should be "Left Behind" is that sort of theology (and the fiction books aren't even well-written!).
And here's the thing: someone, in every era of time, has made the claim that we are in "the last days."
And they're absolutely right in some respects: time, culture, civilization, is absolutely in continual flux.  The way of being that we were used to in previous generations is coming to an end; we are in the last days of what has been.
And they're absolutely wrong in most other respects: time continues on.  Read more
This Sunday's Readings
Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalms 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

Final Sunday for the Crossing Borders SME series in the Sanctuary at 9:30 am.  Come to listen, share and discuss the realities of immigration and the border today with Michael Dickson. Michael spent the last year living and working with our Lutheran brothers and sisters in the border region, so he has first-hand experiences to share.

This Sunday is the final Sunday for the Magi Tree. Drop your wrapped gifts (with tags attached) for children in the LFS Foster Care Program and our adult friends with developmental disabilities under the tree in the Narthex.

Parents' Morning Out Fundraiser is Saturday, December 2, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm   It's a morning of crafts, cookie-decorating, a movie, and playground time with our youth and adults for potty-trained toddlers through 3rd graders! RSVP  on the City

Mid-week Holden Evening Prayer - Wednesdays during Advent at 7:00 pm - Each Wednesday beginning December 6, join us for Holden Evening Prayer.
Does thinking of the Christmas season leave you feeling harried, hurried and spiritually hungry? Good Shepherd is using All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas by Quinn G. Caldwell as our Advent devotional this year. Discussions will be held in Tuesday Morning Bible Study (Tuesdays at 9:30 am) and Wednesday Evening Study (Wednesdays at 6:00 pm) beginning the week of December 5. 
Annual Congregational Meeting - Sunday, December 10 at 9:15 am - All confirmed members of Good Shepherd are encouraged to attend. A light brunch will be provided. Children's SME classes will begin at 9:15 am on this day, and the nursery will be available. 

O' Holy Night at Camp Agape - Saturday, December 16 at 7:00 pm - Walk the lit camp trails and watch the "greatest story ever told" unfold. Tickets are $12/person with a $45 family maximum (children under 5 free). Sign up online or contact Barb Newcomer.

Pledges - We are so close! We are less than 26 pledges away from our goal of 215. It's not too late; you can submit your pledge online by clicking here or drop your commitment card off at church.
More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements.
Health and healing for Carl Kjellberg, Paula Austin, the Brown-Jones family, Brad Buff, Nancy Bader, and Sean Bunn.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish, including Talent Sigono and Aleta Moyo.

Talent is 26 and married with a 4 1/2 year old daughter. She was our first orphan to receive a degree from post secondary school! This past October she attended graduation ceremonies at Masvingo Polytech, receiving her teaching degree in Horticulture! The Mnene bulletin board in the Narthex contains a picture of her receiving her college degree. She and her husband (who worked hard supporting himself to earn a teaching degree) will now work to find employment! She visited with our 2017 mission team while they were at Victoria Falls and again in Mnene village. Her Mail For Mnene partner is Cortney Tyson.

Aleta is 25 and was enrolled at Zvashavane Vocational School studying hairdressing. She left school before completing the program. She is not currently in our support program. We continue to hold her in our thoughts and prayers. Her Mail For Mnene partner is Cathie Strawbridge.

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