This Sunday Advent begins! Each Sunday in Advent, we will look at a work of classic art and consider the accompanying Scripture story. This week we begin with The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner. The painting with an article about the artist is here: https://nyti.ms/2P57VJL 
and a video with commentary on the painting is here: http://bit.ly/2P4VL3N.  Our Scripture will be Luke 1.26-38, the story of the angel’s visitation to Mary. In this encounter, we find several foundational truths for our spiritual life. Other Scriptures are 1 John 4.9-10 and Revelation 3.20.

The sermon audio is not complete, but here is what we have!

 

I think the story of the Annunciation is one of the most important stories in faith formation. In it we see the major components of a life of faith.

1-We see God initiating the relationship.
2-We see God’s positive regard for Mary. God looked at Mary tenderly, hopefully, positively—looking at what could be. And that is how God looks at you, too.
3-God invited Mary to be part of God’s work in the world.
4-Mary simply opened her life to God. She said yes to God’s work in her.

A CREED FOR TODAY:

I believe in God the Almighty Creator, who is not content to leave us to go our own way, but loves us and wants to gather us home.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God in flesh, who came to be with us, to be one of us, to demonstrate the full measure of God’s love and to show us a life lived open to God.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, who moves is us today, who is God at work in us, to enable us to open our lives to God and who comes in and fills us as we open our lives.
I believe in the Church, God’s embodied presence in the world. May we encourage one another to open our lives more and more to God. May we model for each other

what it means to live open to God and God’s work.
I believe God wants me. God wants me to open my life. God wants to transform my darkness into light, and God wants to live and work in this world through me. Amen.

A PRAYER FOR TODAY:

God I have gone my own way. I have lived my life in my own strength and wisdom. I have shut you out. You have knocked on the door of my heart countless times, but I have not opened the door. I have been afraid. I have been busy. I have been self-centered. I have been stubborn and hard-hearted. I have been unbelieving. I have sometimes been occupied with good things.  I have been deaf to your call.
Today, I open the door. Lord, may I not shut it again. Come into my life. Inhabit my life. Live and work in me and through me. Each day, may I be able to open the door a little wider. Amen.