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“Ordinary and Extraordinary Promises of God”

Adams United Methodist Church Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church Worship Bulletin Pastor Missy McCarthy Music: Sue& Craig Gamet, Mike Tyo, Sharon DelSignore December 27, 2020 1st Sunday of Christmas

Scripture: Galatians 4:4-7 Luke 2:22-40 Children’s Moment: Do you have any times during the day that you schedule to meet God? Those are called routines or rituals. They are important because they make sure we have space to pay attention for God and remind us to look for God other times of the day too. Mary, Joseph and Jesus were going about their family rituals at the temple and that is when they had these important conversations with Simeon and Anna that confirmed and reminded them how important Jesus was and that Jesus was going to change everyone’s life for the better, but it was also going to be hard. It was going to be heartbreaking journey for them. They may have gotten discouraged along the way if they had not had the reminder that Jesus’s journey was going to be good for everyone but also hard. They probably still did get discouraged like when Mary tried to stop Jesus speaking with his brothers. Yet, she was still there when he died on the cross – just as Simeon said she would be. Anna and Simeon had to pay attention to hear God so that they could tell Mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph had to show up so that they could hear Anna and Simeon even if they were not quite ready to hear from God. God speaks in different ways to different people. What are some ways God can speak to you? Some rituals you can do so that you meet God everyday are praying before Bed, or before Dinner, thanking God for five different things every night before bed, starting your day out with a Bible reading or a prayer for the day, spending quiet time with God for five to ten minutes just breathing and listening. What are your routines? What can you do this week to listen like Simeon and Anna listen?

Reflection: “Ordinary and Extraordinary Promises of God” It’s funny how God shows up sometimes isn’t it? Here is Mary and Joseph doing what they are supposed to do. They are going to the temple to bring their offering – they are bringing the offering of a poor family (two doves rather than a dove and a lamb) for Mary’s purification ritual when they encounter Simeon and Anna. I know sometimes people complain about rituals, that we don’t need them, that they are useless, or that you can find God anywhere – which we can find God anywhere. But the thing is, by having a ritual, setting time apart to find God, you are making intentional space for that Holy encounter to happen. We see that happening here. They are setting apart the space to have Jesus named and circumcised on the eighth day. To go back and do the rituals which were costly yet important to them and their family, so they did them after forty days. And They go back for the dedication of their son, which would cost a month’s wages as he was the first born. These were rituals, and spaces for encounters with God. It is in making the space for God to show up that they encounter these two Holy people who make space everyday to listen to God intentionally. Simeon and Anna give them so much to think about. They tell them their son will do great things and cause division. He will bring judgement and freedom. He will be the promise to come, the light in the darkness, and the most important part as Simeon says he may now go in peace. Simeon is attesting to his own trust in God keeping God’s promises. With all the heartache he sees, there are all the promises, and God keeps God’s promises. Now Simeon can go, knowing God will keep God’s promises, he can go in peace trusting. He can trust God to do God’s thing and even in the hard moments, know God will pull through and keep his promises for the people just like he did for him by showing him the child which will be the salvation for all the people. God will do what God promises. That is the thing about rituals and making time for God with them, they help us to make space for God even when we are having an off day, when we are struggling, to remember God’s promises on a day when we aren’t our best. We can see God anywhere, but we forget to look, if we don’t practice seeing God everyday somewhere. It is why I ask you to light a candle every Sunday if you are joining us at home. It seems a small and minor thing, yet in that intentional act we are making space for the Holy instead of just flipping on another screen. Why you should do some sort of small intentional thing when you pray. You set apart space, you become mindful and expectant of God to show up. These small practices carry us through on our rough days. Just like Simeon warns Mary of her heart being pierced – this child that brings so many wonderful things, it isn’t all roses and sunshine everyday this life as a Christian. Some days are hard. It is when the ritual becomes the thing you worship that is the problem, or it becomes automatic and stops getting your attention – then it isn’t helpful any longer. We need these little things on the hard days, because as Simeon says there will be hard days ahead my friend, but it is okay, God’s got this, I can go in peace. What are your rituals or practices that help you to stay connected to God? How do you pray? If you don’t have any, can you start any? What ways can you share with others like Simeone and Anna to bring them hope and promise? Where do you find your peace? Additional Readings Monday – Isaiah 9:2-7 Tuesday – Psalm 96 Wednesday – Isaiah 61:10-62:3 Thursday – Psalm 148 Friday – Titus 2:11-14 Saturday – Hebrews 1:1-12

Announcements and Updates Men’s Bible study on Acts on Tuesday at 7:00 pm please join us. One hour – We will be reviewing Exodus 28-30. Yarn/Fiber ministry will meet Wednesday at 12:30 in the fellowship hall to work on prayer shawls/blankets. All are welcome, even if you want to learn, will be meeting again January 6. Wednesdays – 10:30 am Sunday School in the Fellowship Hall, kids can unmask at tables, open to anyone. Come hear a story, do a craft and play, will resume in January. January 5th at 3:00 we will have a meeting in the fellowship hall regarding Kingdom Bound. Please let us know if you are interested in going this summer so we have solid numbers to work with. No Thursday Morning Bible Study on the next two Thursdays, but will resume in the New Year on Thursday January 7th – 10:00 am Bible Study on Acts. (about an hour and a half) Ch 20. No Prayer group Bible Study on the next two Thursdays, but will resume in the New Year on Thursday January 7th Prayer group/Book Study – Thursday evening at 7:00 pm, please be ready to discuss Brene Brown’s Book The Gifts of Imperfection. Join by zoom for the discussion (about 2 hours). Section 10 and 11. January 10, 7:00 Ad Council at Adams, we will also RAD our protocol for meeting in person. If things change and we need to close the building due to COVID we will announce it through our website, email and Facebook. We are streaming on Facebook, YouTube and our Website (adamsumc.com). Our YouTube station is: (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMz_gyuD38XKJ6GWgB2atFg) Once we get 100 followers we can make our YouTube actually say our name so folks can find us easier – so for right now just click the link. If you are willing to read scripture Sue Gamet can record you over the phone for the services! (suegamet@gmail.com)