It has been a weary 2020, and a challenge for all of us, for sure! That said, in Christ, there is always hope. At risk of sounding cliché, I am convinced that love is the key to experiencing hope in the Christian faith. Without the love of Christ, we would be lost on a daily basis, let alone during a worldwide emergency such as the one we find ourselves in now. As St. Paul says in I Corinthians 13, “love…always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Our natural instincts are to lose hope at times, especially when times get exceptionally tough. Beyond this, our instincts are to turn inward, and seek self-preservation instead of focusing on loving those around us. But when we are reminded, over and over again, of the power of the love of Jesus Christ, and reminded that His love never fails, we are conformed into His likeness daily. I would say that when we realize that the worst that could possibly happen to us is death, but that death has been “swallowed up in victory,” (I Cor 15:14), and that “[nothing]…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus,” we are reminded that the Christian life is a life of hope. The Christian virtues of hope and love, in my mind, are foundational, and as a result, we likewise experience peace and joy.
In our sermon series thus far throughout Advent and Christmas, we have explored how the themes of peace, hope, joy, love, and Christ himself offer a foundation for our lives that cannot be threatened by outside circumstances. These themes also come up often in various Christmas carols that are recognizable during this season. To cap off our series, and to enter into our new year, I will be preaching on how Jesus Christ is the Rose of Sharon, and the Lilly of the Valleys. We will explore how Jesus is majestic though humble, beautiful though simple, unique though accessible to all, fragrant though offensive to those who reject him, and unchangeable though vulnerable. All of these themes are expressed in the German Christmas carol entitled “Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming.” Please join us as we experience the wonders of Christ our Savior through these beautiful words:
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.
This Flow’r, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.
Love in Christ,
Our new six-week sermon/study series starts Sunday, January 10, 2020, Major & Minor Prophets. If you are part of a small group, your group leader will have the study to email to you. If you are not part of a small group and would like a link to the study or a hard copy, please let us know. We have space in small groups and would love to have you join us. Pastor Linda can be reached at 412-531-3387 x207 or at email@example.com.
There is no adult Sunday school on Sunday, December 27, but class will resume on Zoom on January 3, 2021, with Pastor Steve teaching.
Although the church building is closed, MLEPC staff members continue to work and we are available for you! Please call the church office, 412-531-3387, if you need prayer or to talk to a staff member.
The Brookline Christian Food Pantry once again needs dry pasta (long spaghetti is preferred). If you are able to drop some off at the church, please call first to make sure someone is in to open the door.
We will be celebrating The Lord’s Supper next week, January 3, during our livestream worship service at 10 a.m.
PLEASE JOIN US!
Sunday, December 27 ~ 10:00 a.m.
Pastor Steve ~"Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue"
Scripture Verses ~ Song of Songs 2:1, 2 Corinthians 2:15-17