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or use the Meeting ID: 935 7268 3852
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Meeting ID: 935 7268 3852
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The meeting opens at 9:45
THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
December 13, 2020
“Rejoice always,” says 1 Thessalonians 5. Isaiah and the psalmist make clear that God is turning our mourning into laughter and shouts of joy. “All God’s children got a robe,” go the words of a spiritual. It is not so much a stately, formal, pressed outfit as it is a set of party clothes, clothes we are happy to wear. We receive that robe in baptism, and in worship we gather for a foretaste of God’s party.
Prayer of the Day

Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that, anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.
 

First Reading
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11


Though the people had returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, they continued to face hardship and oppression. In the language of the jubilee year described in Leviticus 25, the prophet, moved by the spirit of God, announces deliverance for those who are oppressed and comfort for those who mourn.

 1The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
  because the Lord has anointed me;
 he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
  to bind up the brokenhearted,
 to proclaim liberty to the captives,
  and release to the prisoners;
 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
  and the day of vengeance of our God;
  to comfort all who mourn;
 3to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
  to give them a garland instead of ashes,
 the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
  the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
 They will be called oaks of righteousness,
  the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
 4They shall build up the ancient ruins,
  they shall raise up the former devastations;
 they shall repair the ruined cities,
  the devastations of many generations.

 8For I the Lord love justice,
  I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
 I will faithfully give them their recompense,
  and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
 9Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
  and their offspring among the peoples;
 all who see them shall acknowledge
  that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
 10I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
  my whole being shall exult in my God;
 for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
  he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
 as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
  and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
 11For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
  and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
 so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
  to spring up before all the nations.


Gospel Reading
John 1:6-8, 19-28

John’s gospel describes Jesus as the “light of the world.” John the Baptist is presented as a witness to Jesus, one who directs attention away from himself to Christ, the true light.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

19This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, 
“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ ”
as the prophet Isaiah said.
24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
 
Unity Weekly Zoom Events

Mondays

4:30 pm  Junior Confirmation 

(Grade 5 and below)
5:00 pm Confirmation 
(Grade 6 and up)

Tuesdays
7 pm  Inspired Book Study

(use the Sunday worship link)


Wednesdays
1 pm  Coffee Corner Fellowship

(use the Sunday worship link)
It is Gifts From the Heart Season again from Canadian Lutheran World Relief.

You can give online by going to https://clwr.donorshops.com or by giving through your Unity offering with "Gifts from the Heart" marked in the memo.

Tiny Hearts gifts include goats ($35); bees ($5), garden tools ($12), and a water jug ($8), or a whole garden for $75.
This week's

colouring page

and

children's bulletin.
Given the new health restrictions, the bell ringers for the Salvation Army kettle campaign will no longer be needed.  Thanks to all who volunteered.
 
Don't forget to share the photos of the Unity Christmas ornaments on your tree at home.
 
Invite your friends and family to Zoom worship with us.

There's nothing private about our zoom worship, so please invite your friends and family. You can forward this newsletter by email along with the link at the top, or you can direct folks to our website www.unitymh.com: there's a login button right on the homepage.
From Bishop Larry Kochendorfer


Dear Beloved of God –

As a child I delighted in viewing CBC Hymn Sing on my grandparents black and white television screen with my identical twin and three younger siblings. I loved the arrangements of the familiar hymns, as well as the physical arrangement of the choir. Often at night for many years my brother and I would sing the concluding Hymn Sing benediction before we closed our eyes.

I was enthralled as the Von Trapp family sang during the movie, The Sound of Music. My siblings and I would break out into our own musical renditions often performing for family and friends.

Together we sang for weddings and celebrations, with our mother at the piano. As children our song favorite was a version of a hymn sung now at all family funerals, “Children of the Heavenly Father,” with a simple descant line that soared into the heavens.

And then I began to play for worship. My piano playing often in duet fashion with the organ. Soon my cousin and I were leading the singing during Sunday School openings.

My love for music continued post-High School with piano performance serving as my second major. Accompanying college musicals and voice and instrumental majors, leading congregational song from the piano during chapel services, playing for convocations and graduations.

And, playing for my own personal need. When I needed to step away, or forget, or rest, or vent, or weep.

These past months I have returned again and again to music as a spiritual practice.

Music has again become my prayer, for music is life-giving for me – body, mind, and spirit – a spiritual practice that grounds me, refreshes me, and quietens me when I am inclined to go madly off in all directions. I am reminded of Luther’s words that, “next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”

Music, in these past months, has served as a reminder to me of what it is that I believe. Music and text seep into my bones in ways that didactic information never will. Music sinks under my skin shaping the very way I perceive this world – this uncertain time.

Music, in these past months, has been born anew in me for music, profound music, is born at times when there is no other possible way for something to be expressed. Here I am mindful of

the words of Aldous Huxley, who in his magnificent essay titled, “The Rest is Silence,” said: “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

Music, in these past months, has connected my experience with that of the people of God of all times and places. The incredible and moving performances of individuals gathered around the world via technology to sing, to dance, to make music together. The grandmother cradling and humming gently to the child who is afraid. Those gathered to grieve and mourn the death of a church leader from this vicious virus and hearing the trumpet proclaim God’s presence andresurrection promise.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma often shares the story of the first concert he played after September 11. In the face of that country’s catastrophic loss, the orchestra members wondered: Do we play, or do we cancel? Together, they chose to continue with the performance as planned. Remembering that moment, he wrote, “Music will be the way that we will come together, because we’re asserting ourselves as a community, as a people, as a city, as whatever. And we need to be together.” Yes, together.

Music as spiritual practice. Life-giving music.

Recently I have learned a new hymn which continues to make its entry into my life. “God of the Movements and Martyrs.” This hymn was written by David LaMotte on a commission from the North Carolina Council of Churches in honor of their 85th Anniversary. It was arranged and recorded in six different styles by five different artists and premiered the week of June 15, 2020. Search the hymn title on YouTube. Please.

The lyrics form images which come repeatedly to my mind. The melody is simple and memorable. The cadences locate me in God. I am grounded, refreshed and quietened. The hymn is life-giving. It shapes my perception of the world even in this time. It expresses profoundly what is not easily, if at all, able to be expressed. It connects my experience with others, bringing us together.

Music as spiritual practice.

The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

In Christ Jesus – Shalom,
+Larry

Unity Council Notes for November 2020
  • We will be looking for new council members beginning February 2021. Please consider serving the church in this way.
 
  • We won't be decorating the church Christmas tree this year, so instead each household will get a Unity Christmas ornament to place on your trees at home (thanks Louise!) (please take a picture of the ornament on your tree to share with Pastor Jeff). If you haven't received an ornament and would like one please contact Pastor Jeff.
 
  • Forums will be held in January after worship to think through the shifting ministry questions together
    • How has God been at work at Unity in these last months?
    • What seemed so important before COVID that we might give less attention to or let go of altogether?  
    • How do we engage people in this new virtual way of ministry?
    • How do we creatively fund our ministry?
Our offering for October was $7,870.
Thank you for your faithful giving to Unity's ministry.

You can give by joining PAR (your offering is debited automatically on the 20th of each month);

by  e-transfer, using the church's email unitymh@yahoo.com
(it's an automatic deposit without a security question)

by mail or by dropping it off at the church
599 - 12 Street NW, T1A 6R3
Copyright © 2020 Unity Lutheran Church, All rights reserved.


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