This weeks message

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Heartland Shared Ministries is growing.

Heartland Shared Ministries is growing. Clay Center UCC is serving. Edgar Church of the Plains is compassionate. And Salem ELCA is living into generosity and looking for leadership. All these churches are learning to love God and the neighbors in a broken world that needs the healing power of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is moving among the church to be blessings to this area of Nebraska and beyond.

This advent we celebrate hope, peace, joy and the love from the One who Cares about people. During this time of cleansing and preparation there come interruptions. "Then Mary said, 'Here am I, the servant of the LORD; let it be with me according to your word.' Then the angel departed fro her." Luke 1:38. I know interruptions are God's way of getting our attention. But you don't interrupt someone's explanation. You listen till the end. Yet, life has a way of interrupting our plans at the most difficult time: You plan plenty of time to get to the church meeting and then there's two construction sites for new bridges on highway 14. You go to the doctor for a checkup and receive disturbing diagnosis.

In my first years of youth ministry we worked with two different girls who became pregnant. Both were unplanned, unexpected and upset. Neither saw a future of raising children. This required a new plan for their life's trajectory.

After encountering Mary's story through their new reality, they made the same observation, "There's now way Mary could. Just be okay with this news." Right. Mary was unwed, a virgin teenager. Becoming pregnant out of wedlock was a grave sin. The Gospel does a lovely job of condensing this story into twelve (12) verses to fit the larger plot. How does this story reflect reality?

Life is a journey littered with interruptions. Scripture has a way of wrapping these into good, tiny packages. Yes, we've lived them, we know how the story is supposed to end and miss the messy humanity found in the likes of:

  • Jonah had to be swallowed into the belly of a whale (Fish)
  • Moses fled the city after murdering an Egyptian Guard and hiding the body
  • Mary is a single teenage virgin, and she is told she is going to conceive God's Child. How was her life going to reflect God's purpose?

Isn't that how life works? We take the messiness of our lives and fashion a story of redemption out of it with Jesus Christ. That is why God came in flesh. Jesus came into our world to show how redemption work. Jesus modeled how to love one another, because of, or in spite of, the messy interruptions that shame the story of our lives. Our faith story's are so sacred and important. Let's share our stories of interruptions this Advent Season.

God loves you all and so do I. Thanks for a great year with you all. Let's keep walking in faith Church,

Rev. Pastor Bill Harrold