Gentle Falling Snow

The gentle falling snow
Puts a momentary pause
To my wandering
As I sit wrapped within the 
warmth of my room.
Wonder is born from within
As a gasp of gratitude leaks
from my lips; 
Christ will come again in 
humble glory
For all the world to see
Like this gently falling snow.
 Fr. Steve Kluge
Composed 4:00 am on the Second Sunday of Advent, 2018

Second Sunday of Advent

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, 
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, 
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis, 
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, 
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, 
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, 
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Make straight the pathways of the Lord

Words from Fr. Steve Patti
We hear in the gospel today the words of John the Baptist who, from the desert, cries out “Make straight the pathways of the Lord.” I hear those words and then look at a photo someone sends me this morning of his truck, spun around and stalled in the snow, trying to get it straightened out, and a helpless plea of “I’ll try to get there when I can!”
“Make straight the pathways” the voice of John cries out, and sometimes it’s not easy, sometimes in our lives we get spun around and stuck, and yet, as someone once said, “God writes our stories with crooked lines,” meaning, even amid our false starts and stalls and stucks, even there, God acts in our lives.

God’s Advent on this Second Sunday of Advent

 by Fr. Jim Sabak
How many of us secretly tire of all the proclamations of God doing great things to rescue us, to have the final victory, to be triumphant over all that makes us less than human or less than what God created and intended us to be? To be honest, it isn’t easy at all to believe all that the prophet Baruch foretells in today’s first reading. The world keeps stumbling and bumbling along through history and the powerful appear always to get more powerful, while the weak continue to suffer. Where is God who does great things or will do great things? When will it happen? It makes us appear as if we are hoping against hope for a fantasy to come true, which it never will.
So enter Luke, and the proclamation that there was indeed a John the Baptist because Luke situates this in a particular and defined time and place in history. What might seem to us pointless names and places is provided to help those whose faith is constantly tested as to whether or not there is a God who cares that truly the answer is yes! The coming of God into this world, into our time and place, is not a fantasy, is to a dream, is not some myth that we tell our children to only temporarily assume their fear of darkness. But as Paul says to the Philippians we must discern when and how God’s happening is being revealed in our own time and place — and the way we accomplish this is by knowing “what truly matters,” never forgetting that God will fulfill the promises God has made to us. It is easy to lose hope and to lose sight of all these things, especially when our desire for instantaneous fixes cannot ever conceivably address the real problems and burdens in our lives and in our world. This is why we must wrestle with the open-ended nature of faith, with what it means not just to believe in God’s promises, but to really struggle with seeing how God’s Advent is being fulfilled in this here and now. Such a perspective opens for us the necessity of remembering that believers are led by some one thing much more powerful and dynamic than our own limited and fragile abilities. To neglect this part of faith condemns us to mediocre, if not meaningless faith, that is better left to fairy tales and make-believe.

Sharing the Spirit in Advent

Advent Giving Trees
The Advent Giving trees continue to be filled with ornaments for giving and gifts will continue to be accepted in Clare Fellowship Hall.
Online Monetary Giving
eGiving: Through Faith Direct you can support our parish using electronic funds transfer from either a bank account or credit/debit card just as you may do now with your mortgage payment, cable bill, or other expenses.
Text-to-Give: It is easy to use. Here’s how in just a few steps:
1. From your smartphone screen, create a new message. 
2. Click the “To:” field and enter the following phone number: 919-629-1199. 
3. Enter the dollar amount you want to donate. 
4. Tap the link to complete your gift. 
5. Register your credit/debit card. (You will only need to register once. Save this phone number as a contact in your phone to make future giving faster and easier.) 
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