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Advent Worship

“Joy to the World,” a beloved Christmas classic, turns 300 years old this year.

Composer Isaac Watt’s interpretation of Psalm 98 invites us to sing a “new song”–and it is a powerful cosmic performance of all creation being renewed and freed. Rather than “joy” being yet another word for “happiness,” we will discover that the depths of joy can be found especially in the midst of suffering, the work of justice, and the presence of compassion–all part of the coming of Jesus to this world and a message the world still so desperately needs. All are welcome. Please join our church family through Advent as we celebrate the birth of Christ!

December 1, 2019

Prepare Him Room: Hopeful Joy
The season of Advent is a time of anticipation. In the momentous conversation between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama that resulted in the publication of the Book of Joy, one of the "pillars" of joy they identified was "perspective." Opening ourselves to a different perspective can bring a sense of hope in the midst of desspair - allowing joy to creep in no matter what. Opening to the perspectives of others can shift our fear to compassion, turning swords into plows. Salvation is near, says the scripture, when we wake up, when we prepare room in our lives for new Light, new insight, new hope to enter. 

December 8, 2019

Repeat the Sounding Joy: Loving Joy
Research shows that our very state of being can be transformed by music that resonates in our soul so powerfully that we can't help but join in. This is the vision of "Joy to the World" as the reverberating phrase urges us to "repeat the sounding joy" of the good news of Love. The prophet Isaiah offers a vision of radical love - the wolf and the lamb living together and being led by an innocent child. Can we lift our voices to joyfully and confidently proclaim this chorus of well-being for the world? This week we join creation and congregation in praising and thanking God. 

December 15, 2019

Make the Blessing Known: Unabashed Joy
Joy doesn't wait for struggle to be over. Mary "rejoices" in the iconic scripture passage during her pregnancy, a state of affairs that would have put her in a position of dishonor among her people. Instead, she sings out powerfully because she knows that this turn of events will usher in the presence of justice for the oppressed and freedome for the captive. As we join in a prophetic chorus of joy together, we are more deeply bonded as a whole, multiplying and magnifying the exuberance to all. 

December 22, 2019

Make the Nations Prove: Peaceful Joy
The name Emmanuel means "God with us." From both the Hebrew and Christian narratives, we hear the yearning for this "Emmanuel" - for God to become so present that God's peace, truth, love, and justice reign among all the world and bring balance to what feels out-of-sorts. Our Psalm in this series names the joyful expression of all creation as the response to the news that the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, is coming at long last. 

    St. Paul's United Methodist Church
    1340 3rd Ave SE
    Cedar Rapids, IA 52403


    Office Hours:
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    Friday | 8:00 am -12:00 pm 


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