Rockford Reformed Church Weekly News: December 1-7, 2019
About our Advent Sermon Series "Messiah"

In the wake his recent conversion to Christianity, Kanye West, last Sunday, presented his “Nebuchadnezzar” opera and took a beating from critics for what they said was really an oratorio. Almost three centuries ago, George Frederick Handel, in 1741, was struggling because London audiences were losing their taste for his operas and so he made the shift to oratorio in Dublin and composed, in just 3 weeks, and presented “Messiah” to enthusiastic crowds.
An oratorio is an extended musical setting of a sacred text made up of dramatic, narrative, and contemplative elements. And like Kanye, audiences struggled with the presentation of a sacred story in a secular venue. But unlike Kanye, whose “oratorio” will likely soon be forgotten, Messiah is yet today probably the most-performed and most-beloved piece of music ever written.
Unlike most oratorios, “Messiah” has no plot or characters as such, only Bible verses telling of the mysterious divine events. Charles Jennens’ careful compilation of the texts (60% from the Old Testament) are perhaps more responsible for the enduring power of “Messiah” than the music itself. And this is why we will focus on some of these key texts. The music and texts form a narrative that portray God’s salvation through Jesus.
Messiah was not written for church worship; Handel’s creative life was in public performance. But Handel famously said, “I should be sorry if I only entertained them, I wish to make them better.” Jennens, as he compiled the texts, was also clearly motivated with a desire to hold up Jesus as the Messiah (Anointed One) for the increasing numbers of skeptics and scoffers in his day. Legend has it that Handel said after finishing the Hallelujah chorus that “I did think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God himself!”
Part I celebrates the birth of Christ, in prophecy, fulfillment, and thanksgiving. Part II tells of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection and their significance. Part III is an affirmation of faith, based primarily upon events chronicled in the Book of Revelation, building into majestic praise. Over these next five Advent services (including Christmas Eve), we will focus on the texts from the five scenes of Part I and seek to become “better” by seeing the glory of God and his salvation in new ways.

click on image to go to event's web post • changes/additions in red
Single Ladies' Lunch
Saturday, December 7, 1pm.
December's restaurant is Timbers Inn at 1pm, then we'll head over to Barb Ribbon's home. RSVP with Carol Knox.
Tree of Hope
Items due Sunday, December 8.
North Kent Connect needs your help to provide items for families in northern Kent County this Christmas season. To participate, please take a tag form the tree in our lobby. On each tag is a suggested gift item (things such as blankets, sheets, toys, clothes, etc.). Purchase the item and bring it back to the lobby by Sunday, December 8. Thank you! 
Annual Congregational Meeting & Potluck
Sunday, December 8, 5pm, gym.
On the agenda ( see Tim's latest letter for more details ): Vote of affirmation for elder and deacon candidates, 2020 Budget, and Ministry Updates. Nursery will be available for the meeting portion of the evening. Potluck: Main course (pulled pork) will be provided. Care Groups 1/2: salads. Care Groups 3/4: sides. Care Groups 5/6: desserts.
KidLife Club Christmas Program
Wednesday, December 18, 6pm dinner, 6:45 program.
Everyone is invited to our annual KidLife Club Christmas Celebration! Be sure to tell your family, friends, and neighbors to join us for this fun event!
Rockford Christmas Celebration
Friday, December 20, 7-9pm downtown.
Everyone is invited to join local residents and guests in celebrating our Savior’s birth at the “Rockford Christmas Celebration & Live Nativity” to be held in downtown Rockford. More info here .
Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
Tuesday, December 24, 4 & 6pm.
Join us for a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 4pm or 6pm in the Sanctuary. Childcare available for kids Kindergarten and under (in the nursery). Hot Chocolate Bar in between services!
Ladies' Book Club
Thursday, January 30, 7-8:30pm, Fireside Room.
The Ladies Book Club is always open to new faces! We typically meet the last Thursday of the month at 7pm in the Fireside Room (may be adjusted due to holidays). This is not a Bible study or religious book study – books from a wide variety of genres are picked. January's book is The Reckoning by John Grisham.
new Organic Outreach Conference
Saturday, February 1, 9am-4pm at RRC.
Come join other Christ-followers from other local churches at the Organic Outreach for Ordinary People Workshop. Together, we’ll join hearts and minds for a day of inspiration, fun, collaboration and practical insights. Learn more and register here .
Life Groups
A Life Group is a small group of 8-12 people that focuses on three priorities – sharing, study, and support. Life Group members will commit to meet together at least every other week through the school season—and even better, through the summer. We call these “Life Groups” because they are focused on (1) helping us grow in our life in Christ and (2) sharing life together. If you are interested in joining a life group or starting one up, please contact our Life Group Coordinator, Pam Jacobs .