Pastor June welcomes everyone to Ebbert!

Ebbert United Methodist Church

532 C Street Springfield, OR 97477 ebbert2@comcast.net 541-746-3513

You are invited to worship and praise via zoom Sundays 10:00 am 


We continue to meet for worship via zoom.  We continue our meals via “take out”.

 

 

We currently do not hold worship in person to help protect everyone from the Coronavirus. If you would like a link to a video recording of our worship services or the zoom invite link contact Pastor June at 541-603-8706 or juneafothergill@gmail.com.  Sermon by Pastor June for First Sunday in Advent, November 29, 2020 is below.


We have a wonderful choir.

 

Our office is open for information and to visit the church: Monday- Friday 8-11:30.


 

Sermon November 29, 2020 First Sunday in Advent

Scriptures:  Isaiah 64: 1-19; Mark 13: 24-37

      I guess you might say that guy is the opposite of staying awake!  He is indifferent.  Maybe that is why the Bible depictions of the Day of the Lord or the Second coming of Christ are so dramatic.  The heavens falling and the Son of Man coming on a Cloud.  The Heaven ripped apart and God thundering through in all his glory so that the mountains tremble!  Something amazing will happen folks, the Bible is shouting- pay attention. 

      As I studied these two passages this week, I looked at some of the depictions of the Day of the Lord  in the prophets.    For especially the 8th century prophets of Israel and Judah, the day of the Lord was a terrible day!  Amos says, why would any desire this day, it is darkness, not light.( Amos 5: 18)  Zephaniah tells of a day of wrath that will destroy all the earth. ( Zeph 1: 14-18)  For Jeremiah it is a day of retribution with a bloody sword.( Jer. 46: 10)

     Yet, when we look at the passage in Isaiah and the story in Mark, we see a different vision. For Isaiah, the coming of the Lord will show God’s glory and power to the nations and remind Israel they belong to God.  For Mark, the Day of the Lord is the Son of Man or Jesus coming back to gather up all the disciples to him.  There is sense in both depictions that this Day of the Lord is less about destruction and violence and more about reconnection. 

   One of the responses to these images and stories down through the ages has been for people to try to pinpoint when this great event was to occur.   When the year changed from 1999 to 2000, I was serving Myrtle Creek, Oregon. Several of my 7th Day Adventist and Assembly of God colleagues were very excited about the change to the new milineum. Many thought that they saw the fig tree and that this was the moment. They preached sermon series on the books of Daniel and  Revelation.   Of course, the Second coming didn’t come as they had anticipated.  Yet, they were responding to a sense of longing and maybe fear in their people.  Some of them longed for Jesus to come back to rescue them and our world from all its sinfulness and strife. 

    As I noted in the Advent wreath meditation both of these passages express the longings of people. They are longings we recognize: for God to rescue the world from its strife and suffering,  for Christ to gather together all his disciples in peaceful community,  for salvation from sin and reconnection to God as God’s people.    Jesus knew that people would want to try to predict when these longings could be realized.  So He told his disciples that no one knows expect God.  And that our response needed to be to stay awake! 

      What does Jesus mean by “ stay awake?”  I think that Jesus does not mean is to literally not sleep. That would only lead to illness, insanity and death.  I think Jesus is talking about a kind of hopeful awareness that stays alert to God. 

    So first of all I think to stay awake means to stay in tune with your longings for  God, for spiritual formation, even for rescue.   To have self awarenesss.     Pay attention to your life and priorities.  As Luke says, “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life” ( 21 34)    This can mean being awake to our struggle with sin and woundedness like Isaiah put so well, “ We have all become like one who is unclean an all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth, we all fade like a leaf and our iniquities like the wind take us away.” ( 64: 6)  and it can also be awareness of our giftedness as  God’s children.  As Isaiah also says, “ Yet, O Lord you are our Father, we are the clay and you are our potter we are all the work of your hand.” ( 64:8)  In other words Jesus invites us to stay awake to the reality of who we are!      

    There is a story about a judge who attended a worship service at which also attended a man who the judge had once sent to prison.  The two of them knelt side by side to take communion one Sunday.  On the way out of the church that day someone mentioned that fact to the judge. Yes, the judge said, it was only by the Grace of Christ.  OH you mean for the man who had changed from convict to church goer?  Oh no, said the judge,  for me, to realize that I am no different from the man I sent to prison, also in need of God’s grace.   

     Secondly to Stay awake means to keep your actions and decisions in alignment with Christ’s path of love and forgiveness. To have others awareness. Paul in Romans 13:11  puts it this way, “Let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”   Matthew reminds us of the ways of Christ through the parable of the sheep and the goats we read last week. Stay alert to the needs of others especially those who hunger and thirst, who are naked or ill or stranger or in prison.  In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul reminds people as they anticipate the coming of Christ to  encourage one another. 

     Clearly one way to stay awake and ready for the coming of the Lord is to be about doing the works of love and compassion, acceptance and  justice that God calls us to do. Jesus invites us to wake up to the needs of others around us.

    Finally, to Stay awake means to keep oil in your lamps, to practice a lifestyle that helps you stay healthy and alert to where God is at work.  I call this spirit awareness   Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 says clearly about how to be ready for the second coming of Christ, “So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober”   Matthew through his story of the brides maids waiting for the bridegroom would say, “  keep your lamp lit and have plenty of oil”   Maybe one way of thinking about this is to find ways to practice  the mindfulness that our speakers last week at the webinar suggested.  Taking the time to slow down, to pay attention to our breathing, and the reality of what it before us. 

   I can remember a time when I was extremely busy at Myrtle Creek with parenting, pastoring, starting an afterschool program and other things.  One day as I walked toward my house, I noticed the tulips were suddenly all in bloom.  I still remember what a special moment it was to stop in awe at those beautiful flowers and to just simply bow and greet them.   To be mindful.

   This awareness of spirit can also becoming awakened to new insights and realities around us.  For example, for many learning about the history of discrimination is our country can be an eye opener.  To live for a time in a culture different from ones own can be an eye opener.  To really listen to someone who has  different political beliefs than ourselves can be an eye opener.  In these and many other ways, we can continue in our lives to awaken to new things about our world, our neighbors, ourselves and our faith.    

   This awareness of Spirit can sometimes be missed by the world.  Before the Berlin wall fell,  Lutheran churches in East Berlin started having prayer services for peace and candlelight vigils at the wall.  Later after the wall fell an East Berlin Communist leader commented. “ We were prepared for everything but prayers and candles.”  ( NPR  All Things Considered, November 9, 2009)

   These passages from Mark and Isaiah express the longings of people. Longings for rescue, for connection, for salvation.  The cry of Isaiah, “Now consider, we are all your people” is answered in Jesus.  Jesus’s coming the first time, the last time, any time is a proclamation that God cares about God’s people. At the end of time- that relationship still holds. 

     So during this season of Advent, Jesus tells us to stay awake.   Wake up to our longings to be rooted in love and open to hope.  By rooted in love, I mean connected to Christ, the source of our lives and love.  By open to hope, I mean seeking a presence of love and possibility in the midst of troubles and suffering and sorrow.  This hope may trust that there will come a day when God will make all things new- symbolized by Jesus coming on a cloud or the new Jerusalem but it also recognizes that none of us will ever know the time of that great ending.  Meanwhile Jesus calls us to a day to day hope- stay awake Jesus says.  Stay awake.

 Stay awake to your own self awareness

  Stay awake to the needs of others

   Stay awake to the Spirit of God

 

                                                          

WE LIKE TO FEED  PEOPLE

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You can also join us for our  Community Meal each Wednesday at 5-6 p.m.   This meal is now a take out meal.

Click here to learn how they are feeding more than just the hunger of the stomach: http://bit.ly/1AKZNTv

You can get involved on Wednesday Night:

          Eat a great meal

          Bring food to share

          Help serve or in the kitchen              

 

Our Meals Ministry Includes:

  • Mondays 8:30-10:30 Free Breakfast – take out

  • Tues and Thurs 8-11:15 am Sack lunches

  • Wed. 5-6 pm Community Meal- take out

  • Sat Hope House 3:00 take out

  • Sunday  10:30   cancelled for now




The mission of  Ebbert United Methodist Church is to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ through welcoming, worshiping, nurturing and sending.


If you’d like more information about us you can call 541-746-3513 or Pastor June at 541-603-8706 or email us at ebbert2@comcast.net.  We are glad you came by to see us today.


The church building has space available for non-profit groups for offices or meeting spaces.  Contact the church office at 541-746-3513 or email ebbert2@comcast.net, if interested.         


Our Monday Breakfast and Sack Lunch programs are helped by  Food for Lane County.   This meals are open to all people.   In accordance with Federal law and U. S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race color, national origin, sex, age or disability.  To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.