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Advent - Week 1 - Hope

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Throughout the season of Advent, each Saturday you will find a post here containing one of the Advent lectionary texts as well as a short devotional on the text.  Use them by yourself, with a group, or with your family. If you have an Advent Wreath, you might want to use it as you experience these readings.
It is our hope that Advent would be a time for your to slow down and embrace the season.


Week 1 This week we light the first purple (or the blue) candle in the Advent wreath.
“We light this candle in hope, the bright hope of Jesus, the Christ.”
SLOW DOWN, EMBRACE HOPE.

Questions:
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word hope?
In a world that is often so cluttered with stories that seem to be void of hope, where do you find it?

Scripture:  Isaiah 64:1-9 "O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your a…

The Doctrine of Fear

A doctrine of fear is void of substance.

One can hear its folly in the voices of those who damn others to hell in order to justify themselves; one can see its madness in the red faces of its prophets and preachers whose volume betrays their uncertainty; one can feel its absurdity in the violence contained in their message and their ways.

These ministers of mayhem know that fear sells and motivates people. The missive is ravenously purchased as if it were a scarce precious resource no one can live without. And it seems as though the world is being consumed by it. As a result, fear becomes a way of life and spawns hatred.  
However, whether it is hidden behind a mask, a sheet, a saber, a hood, or a bullhorn the message of fear is destined to fail.

There is another way: a better way.

It is the way of hope; of grace; of mercy; of peace; of love. This way of truth is spoken from pulpits in mosques, churches, synagogues, and cathedrals around the world. You can hear it ringing out in the co…