For nearly 12 years, Ron Brown has had the privilege of being the Senior Pastor at the First Congregational Church in Southington, Connecticut where he can often be found looking for joy in all the wrong places.
Scripture: Isaiah 35.1-10 (NRSV)
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Reflection: The Third Sunday of Advent—Joy
God of the blossoms in the wilderness, please surprise all who feel like their world is ending with a moment of joy despite everything. Amen.
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war.
- For those grieving or suffering due to the ~40,500 gun violence deaths in the US this year
- For the residents in areas across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama affected by the recent multiple tornadoes.
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For the two new Associate Conference Ministers and Bridge Minister
- For bulbs and blooms
- For those who bring us joy
This Week in History:
December 07, 1941 (81 years ago): Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II. [History]
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Ron Brown is the Senior Pastor at the First Congregational Church in Southington, Connecticut