From the Pastor (Rusty)

Isaiah 35:10   “And so the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion.  And everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.....  And sorrow and sighing, will flee away.”  The prophet is proclaiming the good news of Israel’s return but it was written during the time of their separation from Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.  The joy of God’s presence in their lives seemed a distant cry.

As I think over this story and the encouragement Isaiah relays to Israel, I am reminded of an Advent in the recent past.  Sylvie and I have had similar feelings of challenge and triumph in our faith life.  Two days before Christmas 2010 we arrived home from M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Hospital right into the heart of the congregation’s Children's Christmas Pageant.  Her healing during and after the time of recovery was boosted by the many prayers, support, and great meals, hand delivered, along with notes of encouragement and movie selections on DVD.  It was a great outpouring of hope and faith in God’s healing and restoration.

For me, one month after the surgery we were at Scott and White Hospital with my endocrinologist being trained to use an insulin pump to better manage diabetes.  It is still a work in progress.  By God’s tender mercy and loving kindness, I too returned with singing and have found  joy in the challenge and prospect of fewer needles and more buttons to play with.  

Cancer and a pump brought us closer to God, to each other, and continues to sustain us these years where all is not perfect, but heading in God’s promised direction to be with us forever.

This Advent season I invite you to remember those instances, stories, life-occurrences where God has sustained you and you have drawn closer to the grace he offers. Consider, from the words of a past Christmas Cantata, “What can I bring to the babe in the manger?  What can I give to show my love?  ...I can sing Alleluia!  Lord I adore you.  All my days I can sing your praise.  I can give my song to you.”  

We returned and came with singing to the source of our joy.  We have been blessed beyond measure and our hearts are full of gratitude to God.  As we journey into 2016, may your hearts rejoice and be exceeding glad.  Sorrow and sighing will flee away.

 In Christ’s service,

Pastor Rusty