First Lesson Sermons For Advent/Christmas/Epiphany
"The Lord himself will give you a sign" is the way Isaiah begins his recitation of the promise containing all promises. Isaiah is talking to Ahaz. Ahaz is the king who is stuck in a political mess. It looks like Assyria is about to invade some of the countries neighboring Judah. Isaiah is recommending that the king refuse to sign on with these other countries and their armies and trust only in Yahweh, the Lord of all. Today's reading is a reminder of the promise of God to be with Ahaz and his people, no matter what happens, no matter who invades.
Wilton Lewis stood with his hands on his hips, studying the sanctuary wall, not trusting himself to speak. He wanted to spit, was thwarted by the fact that he was inside, and instead swallowed hard and said, “This is vile. Disgusting and vile.” He turned to his right and added, “I apologize, Reverend Cashmore. This does not represent the good people of Port William. You know that, I hope.”
Since Albert Einstein is considered the genius above all geniuses, he is often credited quotes he never said. (If Einstein said it, it must be true.) That includes the saying that insanity is defined as doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result. Actually, it wasn't until the 1980's that he was first connected to that saying, but it doesn't matter who actually said it, because these three scriptures seem to validate the saying.
Seven years ago, our family moved from southern Virginia to northeast Wisconsin. As you might expect, spring comes later here. Fall comes earlier. And winter is a much different experience in northeast Wisconsin than it was in southern Virginia. The same temperatures that seemed bone-chilling in Virginia are good reason to leave the mufflers and mittens at home in Wisconsin. Of course, many of the retired folks in my congregation here take their cue from the geese and fly south for the winter each year.