The prophet Joel’s vision a new future for God’s people included the promise that God’s Spirit would be poured out on all people, from young to old. This week we learn about and celebrate the ongoing work of God’s Spirit through Laura Hermanns, who represented ELCA in Rwanda for a year through Young Adults in Global Mission. Laura will preach at all three services about the lessons we all can learn from Rwandans’ amazing ability to heal deep societal divisions. Read more about Laura’s experience abroad with YAGM in her blog entry: https://peaceonourwings.wordpress.com/
A pastor’s kid from Racine, WI, Laura Hermanns recently returned from a year of service in Rwanda with the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program. During her time in Rwanda she taught English at an ecumenical university, guided a bible study, and attempted to sing Kinyarwanda hymns in the university’s choir. She is now working as an ambassador for the YAGM program, which is one of the mission priorities of the Campaign for the ELCA. Laura plans to start the Masters of Sustainable Peacebuilding program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee next fall.
Worship this week with Holy Communion:
Saturday 5:00 p.m. in the chapel
Sunday 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship
9:30 a.m. Sunday School and forum with Laura about her time in Rwanda
10:30 a.m. Contemporary Worship
Devotions for this week: Turn to a Merciful God
SHARE: What was a high point of your day? What was a low point?
READ: Read the following daily readings to deepen your understanding:
Sunday: Turn to a Merciful God, Joel 2:12-13, 28-29
Monday: End of Babylonian Captivity, Ezra 1:1-11
Tuesday: Lament over the Ruined Country, Joel 1:1-12
Wednesday: Call to Repentance and God’s Response, Joel 1:13-20
Thursday: Dedication of the Temple, Ezra 6:13-22
Friday: Ezra Restores Torah as Law, Nehemiah 8:1-12
Saturday: Dedication of Jerusalem’s Wall, Nehemiah 12:27-47
TALK: Consider some of these ideas:
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Joel 2:12-13
God desires that we turn to God. At this Christmas time, we can remember that love (for God and for others) is all that truly matters.
- How do God’s people respond to God’ deliverance?
- How is your community of faith preparing for Christmas? What difference will your preparations make in the larger community around you? What can you do to bring hope and renewal to people in need?
- What in your life requires repentance and renewal? Who in your life needs hope? How can you bring hope to those who need
PRAY: Lord, we have nothing to fear from you. Bring us back into your presence, rejoicing in your promises and basking in your mercy. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
BLESS: May God fill your days with love. Amen.