Isaiah 40: 1 – 11

–from Steve
It is Wednesday night and I am studying the Scripture for next Sunday. The text is Isaiah 40: 1 – 11 — a truly beautiful passage of scripture. It begins with, Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. God’s people are in exile in Babylon. Captive, homeless, and in need of comfort.The passage not only speaks of comfort but it is also an announcement of homecoming.
As I read it tonight, I am hearing God speak to First United Methodist Church in Salinas — Comfort my people. Maybe our mission is in this passage. Many people today are living lives of exile.They feel banished. All people need a home. There is no sadder state than to be homeless. We are called to comfort and to offer the church as a home to people so that they can find a home in God.
“Wilderness” in the Bible is a metaphor for lostness, exile, homelessness. From the wilderness Isaiah and later John the Baptist appeared and spoke — Prepare the way for the Lord: make his paths straight.
Advent means “Coming” — God coming. Our task is to prepare for his coming. Help each other get ready. Christmas is about turning and returning to God. Homecoming. Maybe you have felt distant from God for a while — maybe it is time to return even if it is to a place you have never been before. Maybe it is to a place you were always meant to be. Prepare.
I hope we can reflect together on this in worship on Sunday. Advent Blessings!

Waiting and longing for the coming of shalom

Waiting and longing for the coming of shalom — the desire of the nations. We all know something of waiting and longing for something more — something better — peace on earth and goodwill. Sometimes we feel it as we watch the news and sometimes we feel it in our bones, deep and personal. This is what the season of Advent is all about. A season of waiting and longing for the coming of shalom, the word made flesh, a greater power come to us in the infant savior. 
What are you waiting and longing for this Advent season? How are you preparing for the reality of God with us, Emmanuel? As you decorate your home and as you prepare to celebrate — as you come to worship, let’s get ourselves ready for the invasion of the Divine into our lives. Every time we prepare for and celebrate the coming of the Christ at Christmas, we prepare to receive him once again, to be made new. Advent blessings to you!

Pastor Steve Lundin