All Are Welcome!
9:30 Coffee & Treats
10:50 Sunday School
P.O. Box 35,
36055 213th Street
Hillman, MN 56338
Pastor Stephen Olson
EMAIL : firstname.lastname@example.org
How To Find Us:
Immanuel Lutheran Church of Hillman is located at the intersection of County Hwy 27 and County Hwy 47. It is one mile west of County 8.
Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
Sunday School began on September 15. All youth from Kindergarten to 6th grade are welcome. Sunday school students are dismissed for Sunday School after the Prayer of the Day. For more information.
Please call Immanuel at 320-277-3939 or Lacey at 320-232-5439.
The Promise of a New Beginning
39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth . . .46And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” 56And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. [Luke 1:39-40, 47-56 NRSV]
As the last leaves fall from the trees in the Northland, we near the end of the calendar year. However, the Church Year does not follow the daily calendar we live by. Our year begins on December 1st, the First Sunday of Advent, which begins our preparation for celebration of Jesus’ birth on December 25th. We understand Advent as a season of anticipation and preparation as the coming of the Christ Child. It is a time of hope . . . a time when the old year and the old way of doing things are put away. But, in a way, the change promised in Advent is often a bit unsettling as God call us renewal.
As we look to the beginning of Advent, God chooses an unlikely spokesperson . . . A young pregnant teenager named Mary speaks to the world. The disturbing news that Mary, the expectant mother of Jesus, announces to the world is that her Child of Promise demands much more than just the four weeks of Advent and Christmas each year. Instead, he demands entry into every aspect of our lives.
The young girl Mary was unmarried; she was pregnant; and she was alone. The promises of the angel aside, her world was far less tolerant than ours. Death by stoning was the penalty for adultery. So with great haste, she left her town and came to the home of her kinswoman, Elizabeth, to seek comfort. But unbeknownst to her, Elizabeth also was pregnant with a child of promise. Hers was also an untimely pregnancy. Elizabeth was well beyond the years of childbearing. Before Mary could even speak, the soon-to-be mother of John the Baptist said, ‛Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why has this been granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe within me jumped for joy. Blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.’
Elizabeth was right; Mary did believe. She believed that what the Lord had promised would happen. Mary would wait expectantly for the birth of her child . . . A child whom the angel Gabriel would be the ‘Son of God’ and ‘Savior.’ Although her own future was clouded by her unexplained pregnancy, Mary could imagine the future because it was a future promised by God . . . A future that depended upon the Child within her womb. Mary's vision of the future is called The Magnificat. When Mary speaks, she put the right end of the telescope to her eyes and tells of the marvelous vision she sees.
First, Mary sees the days after her Child's birth as a time of mercy. The God who was merciful, will continue to be merciful; but in ways never before envisioned. Through her child, God's mercy will become known to every human being who draws breath. There will be no exceptions because God desires to be known as a God of mercy. The Kingdom that her Child will bring into being is new and exciting. The old world will be turned upside down. He will reconcile human beings to God and to each other. He will teach us how to forgive each other by first forgiving us. The poor will have good news preached to them, the grief-stricken will be healed with the knowledge that they and their loved ones are safely in the hands of God, the hungry will be fed, and the true peace which passes all understanding will be restored forever.
Second, Mary sees the days after her child's birth as a time of upheaval and change. God's outpouring of mercy will turn the world upside down. The old ways were good enough for many people. The baby Jesus with whom we are so comfortable is also the Crucified Jesus who was nailed to the cross by our illusions of self-sufficiency and strength. But the good news is that our final act of defiance was futile because God simply raised Jesus from the dead and, for his sake, forgave our sins once and for all. Yet in their arrogance, the mighty, the strong, and the self-sufficient will oppose this New Age because their power of coercion will no longer exist. In Mary's words, the Messiah will cast down the strong and lift up the weak. The Kingdom will come, and even sinners like us will be invited to become saints.
And finally, Mary sees the time after her Child's birth as a time of fulfillment. God's promises will all be fulfilled; especially the promise of our baptisms. God has claimed us as children in baptism and we shall be his forever because [in the words of St. Paul] ‘neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
In Christ, ☩