The chaplain for Evergreen Place residents invited men to an early morning breakfast for fellowship a few mornings ago. He asked us to relate to christmas memories and to perhaps include memories of events that might turn Christmas blue for us. This reminded me that the fifth anniversary of Rhoda’s passing was near.
The thought sobered me, but it did not make me blue. The last two weeks that Rhoda and I were together were happy ones because we were able to go to church together, take communion together, and go shopping by ourselves to buy a few gifts. We did not know that we would be so soon separated.
The theme for advent services this year is Freedom Bound. Pastor Talashia Keim Yoder is a minister to young adults at College Mennonite Church. On the first service (11/26/15) of the advent season, Talashia preached the sermon. She is a wife and mother and teaches theatre at Bethany Christian Schools. I believe her sermon was that Sunday unique among all the sermons preached.
The service included congregational singing, organ music, prayers, stories, scripture reading and Talashia’s sermon that ended with an interpretative dance. To invest an hour in advent preparation click here. If you wish to see only the climax of the sermon you may click here and then scroll forward 57 minutes to the dramatic conclusion.
The following Sunday (12/6/15) Lead Pastor Phil Waite preached the sermon. He decided that the theme of the season, “Freedom Bound”, should be the theme of his sermon. He reminded us that the English word “bound” has multiple meanings. In the seasonal theme bound means to move toward freedom.
But another meaning of bound is for one to be tied down with limited ability to move. Waite drove home a point by recounting a bit of Dicken’s Christmas Carol. The ghost of Jacob Marley explained his chains by saying that he had forged them in his past life.
Seeking light, Waite asked his hearers to reflect on the chains that might bind them. He offered anointing with oil, an ancient biblical rite, for freedom. Men and women streamed down the aisles to be anointed and to hear the whispered words “In the name of Jesus I anoint you for freedom”. I was there and I watched it again on my computer. You may also see this service by clicking here. After clicking you may scroll forward about 58 minutes to watch the anointing.
The congregation is engaged in strategic planning, setting goals and choosing ways to reach them. The services this advent season seem meant to free us to move forward toward freedom.
Church and pastor danced.
Bound by chains forged in your past?
freedom waits for you