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 Opening Prayer (invocation)

L: From the one who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty: grace, light, and peace be with you all.

P: And also with you.

L: Let us pray. Almighty God, you once called John the Baptist to give witness to the coming of your Son and to prepare his way. Grant us, your people, the wisdom to see your purpose today and the openness to hear your will, that we may witness to Christ's coming and so prepare his way; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

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Sermon Excerpt

Joy, Philippians 4:4-7, Zephania 3:14-20
by Rev. Susan Miller

Dallas Willard begins a chapter in one of his books by pondering the kind of life God must lead. [1]  Maybe God stands in the middle of the cosmos directing universe traffic-"Whoa, slow down there, little asteroids, and let the Black Hole pass." "Okay, Star Orex 543-D, go ahead and orbit on through." Of course, God probably delegates such eon to eon details to angels. Still, what kind of life does God lead?

Willard never gets around to proposing his theory as to what he thinks the divine job description might look like, but he does conclude that whatever and however God is about in the heavens, God is full of joy.

We should, to begin with, think that God leads a very interesting life, and that God is full of joy. Undoubtedly God is the most joyous being in the universe. The abundance of God’s love and generosity is inseparable from God’s infinite joy. All of the good and beautiful things from which we occasionally drink tiny droplets of soul-exhilarating joy, God continuously experiences in all their breadth and depth and richness. [2]

We know something of what our lessons speak to this morning. We know the euphoric joy from a well-produced movie scene or from a few bars from Beethoven’s Fifth or the well-scripted lines from a poem.

Remember holding your child for the first time? What a magnificent moment-the baby is a wrinkly ball squirming and writhing in your hands. Those eyes stare up at you and you are reflected in them. And then you feel it-a deep sense of joy wells up within you.

Ever experience the quiet joy in just sitting next to a life-long companion? We’ve observed haven’t we?... Subscribers: click here to access the full sermon manuscript and all other resources

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