Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

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Advent 12/16/2019

Traditionally, the Third Sunday of Advent is known as Joy Sunday, in Latin it’s Gaudete Sunday; if your Advent wreath has a pink candle, today is pink candle Sunday. With that in mind, while we do deviate a little bit from the texts assigned for today and focus a little more on the Christmas story itself, it is quite appropriate that on this Joy Sunday the choir and the Sunday School kids become the primary proclaimers of the word, with that word being accompanied by music, music itself being a source of joy.

Before we do that though, I don’t want to forget that we do have the second of Advent’s two John the Baptist weeks. In last week’s reading John was boldly preaching repentance and announcing the one who was to come after him, one who would wield a winnowing fork of judgment. This week, John is in prison having been arrested by King Herod and, noting that the presence of Jesus’ hasn’t changed the existing power structures or anything else very much, John seems to be questioning himself and his proclamation about Jesus being the one who was to come after him. “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” John has his disciples ask Jesus.

Our situation is obviously quite different than that of John the Baptist, but we too can question why the here and now doesn’t seem to reflect the kingdom that Jesus announced. Especially at this time of year we talk about peace on earth, good will to all, yet it can seem like we’re no closer to it than we ever have been; further away if anything. We might not be so bold as to come right out and ask as did John the Baptist, but we wonder; we wonder if Jesus’ coming into the world makes any difference at all, and so we think, “Are you really the one we’ve been waiting for?”

Jesus’ response to John’s disciples is interesting. As usual, he doesn’t give a straight answer but instead says, “Go tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have good news brought to them.” All of those are hopeful images of good things happening and maybe that’s Jesus’ point. It’s not a denial of the situation in which John finds himself, it’s not a denial that the likes of Herod still have power. But it’s saying to John that there’s more going on; there are good things happening, things that do reveal the kingdom of God.

Maybe the hope of Advent, the hope that leads to Christmas is about refusing to give up on hope. It’s continuing to proclaim the love and forgiveness of Jesus, continuing do God’s work with our hands even if the little we do feels like it doesn’t make much difference. But it does, as it becomes a sign of God at work in the world and it helps us to see other such signs around us.

There are many forces out there whose goal seems to be to want us to think there is no hope. But we still hear the voice of Jesus, we hear the good news of the gospel and today we hear it musically. With that, we continue to have hope.

Rev. Warren Geier


Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor

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one such child in my name
welcomes me, and whoever
welcomes me welcomes
not me
but the
one who
sent me.”


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