The 700 or so people set to gather in Galveston, Texas this week for the annual event of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators can dip their toes not only into the Gulf of Mexico, but into the swirling, often competing demands on faith formation in a world where traditional Christian education venues like Sunday school don’t necessarily meet people where they’re at.
On Jan. 13 — the Baptism of Our Lord Sunday — baptismal fonts will be filled, and worshipers will be invited to remember their own baptism. But what does baptism mean? Why are some parents allowing children to decide, when they get older, to be baptized or not? What about families who ask for a baptism but have no ties to a church? How did baptism become a misunderstood sacrament, and is it ever right for a church to say no to a baptismal request? Presbyterians Today takes a closer look.
Did you ever put out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve? How about oats for the reindeer? Growing up in Cuba, I learned about these traditions from books and movies. My Christmas celebration, though, did not include any visitors from the North Pole.
There’s a reason Blue Christmas and Longest Night services have become popular in recent years. They recognize that amid all the shopping and get-togethers, the holidays need tidings of both comfort and joy. Comfort, because loneliness, grief and pain can be especially potent this time of year. Joy, because we need the hope of the gospel.
The season of Advent, which begins on Sunday, Dec. 2, is often misunderstood. Before Thanksgiving is even finished, people are inundated with the sights and sounds of Christmas. Within this consumer culture, it’s easy to confuse the season of Advent with the number of shopping days until December 25.
The refrain of Advent is Come, Lord Jesus. And so, during the season, we stand in the place of those who awaited the advent of the Lord for centuries before the birth of Christ. We cry out for the Lord to come. But just as importantly, we also stand looking forward to Christ’s second advent, when we, who see through a glass darkly, will see our Savior face to face.
How do you preach stewardship to a congregation that’s about to leave the church? In a nutshell, that’s what the writer of Hebrews is trying to do. Hebrews is a long way from the initial excitement, enthusiasm, and the explosive birth and growth of the church recorded in the first chapters of Acts.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.” — John 13:34