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Father Mark, Sermons

Advent 1C; Luke 21 ff

One of these days…   How many times do you catch yourself saying to yourself, “One of these days….?”   Do you have a list in your mind called the “One of these days list?  Do you ever find yourself saying, One of these days I’m going to___________. How would you finish the sentence?  

What’s on your One of these days list?   It’s easy to put off something on our one of these days list.   We have so many demands on our time…but how many of the demands on our time are the things we have chosen—not that have been imposed upon us?   Do we really have to do all the things that we think we have to do?  By what authority? Sometimes I wonder if we surrender to the “Have to do list in our heads without even examining if we really have to do themout of habit or outside influence , if we are giving away our God given free will. 

Jesus is coming…where is it or in what way do you think that Jesus wants to show up to us this coming year?   The best way we prepare for the Advent of Jesus’ coming by being in the present moment.   

Research reveals that our minds at least 47% of the time (I think it’s more) are involved either in past memories or thoughts about the future.   How easy it is for the mind to wander….   Our minds whether we like it or not, put thoughts in our heads.  Our minds are good at noticing what we want and ignoring what we don’t.  

I used to read a series of books to my children and now my children read to my grandchildren.  They are a series of books called Find Waldo Now.  

Just in case you don’t know about the series, there are detailed pictures where there are people in various detailed settings and you have to look diligently to find the picture of Waldo in his red and white striped clothes. I think that Advent is something like this:  Find Jesus Now.  

Where is Jesus hidden in the picture of our lives waiting for us to find him?   

Where is Jesus showing up?   

One question I have found helpful is the concern Jesus shares with his disciples:  Be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down….   

Where is it that our hearts are weighed down?   Where are hearts are weighed down we are not free and our wills become imprisoned in a world that is neither created by ourselves or by God. 

Sometimes we find the weight laid upon us through external events.  Other times we inadvertently choose them.  Either way, our hearts become burdened and the eye of the heart unclear.  

Our lives can be going pretty well—but I am not sure that with a little reflection each of us might find somewhere in our hearts where we are weighed down—weighed down just enough, so that we’re not really running on all of our spiritual cylinders.

Jesus is coming to take the weight off our hearts. Our first step to removing them is by the practice ofbeing present to him with what it is that weighs down our hearts.  Sometimes it’s the little things that we disregard that can weigh us down so it’s easy to minimize their importance—hoping they will go away.  But if unattended, like mold and mildew, they proliferate. 

St. Paul mentioned this in that as spiritually strong as he was, he spoke of that thorn in the flesh that often seemed to hinder him.   So what are some of the things in our lives that weigh down our hearts?  They can be past events or present challenges or even preoccupation with the future.  

Where is Jesus now in your life picture waiting for you, like Waldo, to find him?

Do we wish that Jesus would go to another part of the picture because where he is waiting would be a place that we don’t especially want to visit?  Thorns are uncomfortable. Metaphorically, as I travel the countryside, I see acres of pasture that was once wilderness which has been cleared of thorns. 

A new year brings opportunities.   We have 365 days of present moments where we have the opportunity allow Jesus to hold our hearts in his and to release us from that which has prevented us from fully receiving the life of God given to us.  

It’s Advent.  We wait for Jesus.  But Jesus is also waiting for us. 

Stop what you are doing.  Take time to seek the Eternal One who waits for us.  

2018 ARMISTICE DAY CELEBRATION
News

Observation of the 100th Veterans Day at Annunciation

The Rev. Lt. Colonel Chaplain Mark Lee of Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio preached during Veterans Day ceremonies at the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Chaplain Lee brilliantly described the Christian use of power and authority to be used for the benefit of those he serves. “Our gifts and talents were given for the purpose of serving others.” Like the unknown widow who gave all she had with the two copper coins, no matter what our gifts are, when we give of them God can use them for good.

Chaplain Lee said that military experience teaches the Soldier, Sailor, Airman and the Marine how to serve something that is greater than themselves.

2018 ARMISTICE DAY CELEBRATION
ARMISTICE DAY CELEBRATION – The veterans and congregation of Annunciation gathered to celebrate the
Eucharist on Veterans Day, November 11th, on the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day marking the end of World War I. The Rev. Lt. Colonel Mark Lee, who serves at Ft. Sam Houston, preached. Veterans participating in the service were, from left, Mike McDaniel, Jack Fraim, Frank Clark, Butch Ward, Jon Wallace, Lt. Col. Lee, Chet Robbins, Fr. Bigley, Kenwood Meaker, and Jim McVea.
News

A Chat with Chet – 2018 December

Thanksgiving has come and gone. But what is not gone are the many things I continue to be thankful for. For me it is God, country, family and friends. We now look forward to Christmas. I have been in the Midwest pheasant hunting and spending time with my 91 year old father, children and grandchildren. And yes, the pheasant hunt was successful! Just ask me the next time you see me.

The finance and budget committee will be meeting the latter part of November and Decem ber to prepare the 2019 budget. Sure we have some challenges, but I am confident a budget will be established to meet our congregational needs and assessments. I am thankful for those that have volunteered to be on the committee. They are Butch Ward, Betty Fraim, Fr. Russ Mathews, Jim McVea, Debbie Moses, Brandy Carter, Fr. Mark Bigley, Peggy Ussery and me. Please pray for us as we gather together on behalf of our church and congregation.

As I drove to Missouri and Kansas from Texas I was amazed looking at the beautiful fall foliage. Sunrises and sun sets were magnificent too. There is no way man caused what we call “nature”. Think about it. God is indeed good!

Kind regards,
Chet Robbins
Senior Warden

Events, News

Las Posadas – Welcoming the Holy family into our homes and lives

Las Posadas, an enactment of Mary and Joseph’s asking for shelter, has been planned for Sunday, December 16, beginning at 2 p.m. 

Las Posadas, as a tradition, grew out of a community celebration which takes place on each of the nine evenings leading to Christmas. With a song, or letania, the community reenacts and remembers the journey of Mary and Joseph for a place to stay in their journey to Bethlehem. Las Posadas usually ends with a reading from the Bible and the breaking of a pinata filled with fruit, candy and food. 

It is customary for a family to host a Posada and invite their family, friends and neighbors to participate.

We are co-sponsoring this year’s event with First United Methodist Church. The youth will be playing a part to help lead the activity.

We will begin at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church and con-

clude at Church of the Annunciation at around 3 p.m. Wear appropriate clothing and comfortable walking shoes.

For me a Posada is a meaningful event because it is an opportunity to get together and welcome the Holy family to our home and life. Although singing and breaking the piñatas is a fun and special moment, hosting a Posada is my favorite part because it gives us the opportunity to share the joy of the upcom-

ing birth of the Son of God.

Laura Currier

Note from Fr. Mark: I hope that many of us will participate in this intergenerational activity. Bring your families and friends.