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Mountain Home First Congregational, UCC is a member of the United Church of Christ.

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December 17, 2017 Third Sunday of Advent   Psalm 126     Luke 1:47 - 55

                                             Shouts of Joy

We love movies where the downtrodden and beaten and dismissed character in a story finally gets their due and all the evil in the narrative gets punished. The girl who is bullied; the poor family who saves their neighborhood; the basketball team nobody thinks will win does win; the orphan boy forced to live under the stairs who becomes a mighty wizard – these are all the kinds of stories that give us a buzz and engender hope. They reorder expectations about who is likely to have power in this world. This is the story of Jesus. A story that shines a light on the powerless of this world. Jesus, born to a mother who felt lifted-up by her pregnancy and whose expectations were that her child would be remarkable.

All mothers should feel that joy of expectation for their children. But there is a hard truth in the world as it is – not every child has the same opportunity or privilege. Some children are born in a world of misery and hunger, some have no access to education, some are born with a skin color that will mean that they will have to work twice as hard to get what others take for granted. This is a hard truth to digest. We depend on our belief in the basic fairness of the world.

The question for faithful people is how does God work in this world for justice and fairness? One could say that in Genesis God gave us the world and its resources are at our disposal. What have we done with that gift? How have we loved this world into being?

The young pregnant Mary believes that God will fix and reorder injustice. What can churches do to spread her joy to all children?

It is not necessary to be a big church to spread one’s love of children into the world. Mt. Cavalry Church, in Woodstock, Virginia, has only 5 – 7 people in worship on a Sunday, but their members share their love by making special small quilts for children in their county’s shelters. Farther north, in Gloversville, New York, the First Congregational UCC houses a program called CAPTAIN (Community Action for Parents, Teens and Interested Neighbors). It provides food, life skill training, support, homework help and a place to go for any teen or youth in the area. FCC Gloversville has only 40 in worship.

There is a mission field around your church. In it teenagers languish without support, children need a blanket and all young mothers need hope and joy. What can you do with what you have? What joy can you share, in this season of giving, to a world that longs to show its love for all God’s children?