Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Candle of Hope

The first candle of the Advent wreath symbolizes hope and anticipation. Isaiah the prophet prophesied to the Israelites that “the Lord Himself shall give you a sign, behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14).
Israel as a nation had rebelled against the Lord. Isaiah condemns the empty sacrifices and rituals into which so many of the people had fallen. Yet he tells them what will please the Lord: “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean, put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good.” (Isaiah 1:16,17a).

There was hope for Israel and there is hope for us as His people. We too, have turned away from God. But Isaiah tells us Immanuel shall come-“God with us.” The Israelites could not save themselves, nor can we. But Isaiah gives us hope: “Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18a).

On this, the first Sunday in Advent, may we cling to the Lord, who alone is our strength, our Redeemer, our hope.

by Elaine Kester

First Sunday in Advent Bulletin: The Annunciation

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bulletin Covers

I took over the job of designing the bulletins for the church worship services. I also plan on regularly drawing (and sometimes finding when I don't have time) illustrations for the covers that relate to either the sermon, the scripture readings for the day, or the church calendar. Here are the three for the weeks I have designed the bulletin.

The first is an illustration ofthe parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13:31-32. I didn't illustrate this one, I found it in an old book.

The second is an illustration based on two scripture texts, Isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 5:14-16.

The third is based on the sermon text for this past Sunday, 2 Kings 2:23-25.

I will continue to post these as I make them from week to week.