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Rooted Growing Branching

Dec. 19, 2021

Order of Worship – Announcements

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Sermon – Pastor Myrna Miller Dyck – audio recording

Micah 5:2-5a

But you, Bethlehem, David’s country, the runt of the litter—From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule Israel.  He’ll be no upstart, no pretender.  His family tree is ancient and distinguished.  Meanwhile, Israel will be in foster homes until the birth pangs are over and the child is born, and the scattered brothers come back home to the family of Israel.  He will stand tall in his shepherd-rule by God’s strength, centered in the majesty of God-Revealed.  And the people will have a good and safe home, for the whole world will hold him in respect—Peacemaker of the world!  And if some bullying Assyrian shows up, invades, and violates our land, don’t worry.  We’ll put him in his place, send him packing, and watch his every move.  Shepherd-rule will extend as far as needed, to Assyria and all other Nimrod-bullies.  Our shepherd-ruler will save us from old or new enemies, from anyone who invades or violates our land.

Luke 1:39-55

Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly, You’re so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed!  And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me?  The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears, the babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.  Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!  And Mary said, I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.  God took one good look at me and look what happened—I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!  What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.  His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him.  He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts.  He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud.  The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold.  He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.  It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now.