Author: <span>Mary Pat Kleven</span>

Scripture: Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; John 3:16-21

Eternal life is not the big prize at the end of our lives; it’s more like when we begin living. It’s when we find ourselves living in the light – in the presence of God here and now, as revealed in Jesus’ own life and teaching. Going toward the light is an act of faith, of trust; living in the light is where we witness to the one whose love is a longing to save all humanity.

 

 

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Life can change in an instant. And it does, for good or ill. God is in the change, in the movement between the before and the after.
But we can also be the change, and be the Gifts needed to make the difference between before and after. We can be “the gifts of God for the people of God,” for all of God’s people.

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O God of endings & beginnings, grant to our nation this day your bountiful blessing. We claim no special favor as a country, for that is neither our right nor your way. But in this moment so ripe with change and possibility, we have need of your power and purpose.
As our new President and Vice President are inaugurated this day, we pray upon them your deep wisdom and daily guidance. Grant them the courage to confront the daunting demands of this moment. Lend them your fierce passion for what is right and true and just. Commission them to be healers among us, unafraid to touch our collective wounds and stitch us back together. Grant joy enough to make the most difficult days bearable. Summon from them their best gifts in humble service to a greater good. And protect them, O God, from every danger.
O God of Love and Justice, call upon each of us as well. Make us partners with our leaders and with you in creating Beloved Community. Move us to lock arms in common purpose. Spark within us a renewed hope & a deepened commitment to service. Soften our skepticism and bridge our divides. Compel us to seek earnestly together that “more perfect union” our founders dreamed of, for all your precious children.
Through your ancient prophets you called nations and peoples to faithfulness and mercy, justice and peace. Demand no less of us now, Enduring Presence, but send us forward to seek the future you would have us build. Hear our confessions of the sin our nation carries; free us from the selfishness and greed and hate and violence that consumes us. Refuse our useless cries that “we are better than this” and strengthen our resolve to actually be better now.
You are our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come. We trust in your abiding presence, and invite your transformation and renewal for our nation and each one who calls it home. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
Written by Reverend Shari Prestemon on the eve of the January 20, 2021 Inauguration of Joseph Biden & Kamala Harris as President and Vice President of the United States.

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Title: Today I Have Begotten You
Mark 1:1-14
Jesus is introduced at his baptism in Mark, not at his birth. That is where he becomes the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God. The early church took Jesus’ baptism very seriously; it shaped their understanding of their discipleship. What might it mean for our walk in faith?

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Today’s Scripture: Luke 2: 22-40
Today’s Sermon “Here’s to the Eccentrics.”

Eccentrics are truth-tellers, who live their lives on the outside, not inside, all bottled-up and worried about if they’ll be accepted. From the very beginning, eccentrics were drawn to Jesus, and recognized who he was and what he was about. Maybe what sets us each apart and is our where our faith becomes real, where ministry becomes possible.

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Join us for an hour of songs, readings, music,  dance and a Christmas Story from Pastor Glen Herrington-Hall. Music director Dawn Husmann. Performances by Mary Pat Kleven, Charlie Knuth, Maddy Woodman, Elaine Ohnstad, Emily Peterson, Karen Nowariak, readings by Ella, Samuel and Thomas Coyle.

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Today’s sermon – Mary? Yes, She Did Know; scripture Luke 1:26-56

The popular song asks, Mary, Did You Know? Well, yes, she knew. You can’t believe all she knew. Well, actually you can, because she tells us just what she knew. And we know it too. But what do we do with all that knowledge?

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Without the technical glitches –

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Today’s guest pastor is Minnesota UCC Conference minister Shari Prestemon.

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Enjoy today’s service of music, prayers and encouragement.  Have a blessed week!

 

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