Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church

Worship Focus for
December 16
Third Sunday in Advent

"Beyond the Man in the Camel Hair Coat"
Rev. Dale Bracey, preaching

I am looking forward to worshiping together as we come nearer Christmas! Not just the Christmas tree and greenery, nor just the colors and glowing candles. Not just the meditative and joyous music of the choirs, nor the better moods that lift many of us. Not even as a respite from the daily news and angry international conflicts. At least part of us hopes that there was truly a definitive intrusion into the world by Presence Beyond Us/Jesus Messiah who made a new life and world possible.

See you on Sunday,

P.S. Be sure to join us at 6:15 p.m. for our All-Church Advent Dinner! Register online to let us know you're coming.
Theme for Sunday

We may assume that we know pretty much all there is to know about the man Jesus, but even Jesus’ progressive contemporaries were not sure whether he was their Messiah. “Are you the one?” they asked. Maybe it’s because Jesus was God’s way of bringing change and meaning in a non-traditional way—as it is in heaven.

Questions for Reflection

  • What is it about Christ that is transformative, compelling and reassuring, even in a time of great tension?
  • What does this "transformative Christ" have to do with us many centuries later?

Luke 3:2-4, 7-18

During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.