Fairhaven Service 12-31-2023

Fairhaven Service 12-31-2023

In this week's service at Fairhaven United Methodist Church, key biblical narratives were intertwined to highlight the Christian journey of promise and fulfillment. From the fall of man in Genesis to the prophecies of Isaiah, the lessons culminated in the New Testament stories of Jesus' divine origin, humble birth, and his recognition as the Messiah. These readings collectively underscored themes of redemption, hope, and the transformative impact of divine grace in the Christian faith.

The First Lesson

The first lesson, from Genesis 3, depicted Adam and Eve's interaction with God in the Garden of Eden after eating the forbidden fruit, highlighting themes of disobedience and the resulting consequences.

Peg 1st Lesson

The First Lesson Transcript

Our first lesson comes from the book of Genesis chapter 3 verses 8 through 19. This is speaking of Adam and Eve in the garden. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, Where are you? He said, I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.

God said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? The man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and I ate. Then the Lord God said to the woman, What is this that you have done? The woman said, The serpent tricked me and I ate. The Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures. Upon your belly you shall go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

I will put enmity between you and the woman and between her offspring and yours. He will strike your head and you will strike his heel. To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pangs and childbearing. In pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.

And to the man he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, you shall not eat of it. Cursed is the ground because of you. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you and you shall eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. You are dust and to dust you shall return.

The Second Lesson

The second lesson, from Genesis 22 recounted God's covenant with Abraham, promising blessings and numerous descendants for his obedience.

Laura 2nd Lesson

The Second Lesson Transcript

Second lesson today is from Genesis 22 15 through 18. God's promises to Abraham. The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore and your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies and by your offspring shall all nations of the earth again of the earth gain blessing for themselves because you have obeyed my voice. Thanks be to God.

The Third Lesson

The third lesson, from Isaiah 9 and 11, prophesied the birth of a king who would bring justice and peace, signifying hope for those in darkness.

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The Third Lesson Transcript

In our third lesson, the prophet Isaiah announces the birth of a king to a people living in darkness and that he is coming to usher in a reign of justice for the poor and peace for all creation. Isaiah chapter 9 verse 2, 6 and 7 and Isaiah chapter 11 verses 1 to 4 and 6 to 9. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them has the light shined.

For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. Authority rests upon his shoulders and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. In chapter 11, a shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see or decide by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. The wolf shall live with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid. The calf and the lion and the fatling together and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the whole of the asp and the weaned child shall put his hand in the adders den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. The Word of God for the people of God.

The Fourth Lesson

The fourth lesson, from Luke announced the impending birth of Jesus to Mary, emphasizing the divine intervention and the fulfillment of prophecy.

Laura 4th Lesson

The Fourth Lesson Transcript

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, Greetings, favored one. The Lord is with you, but she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God, and now you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and he will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end. Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I am a virgin? The angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

Therefore the child to be born will be holy. He will be called Son of God. Then Mary said, Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.

Then the angel departed from her.

The Fifth Lesson

The fifth lesson, also from Luke, narrated the humble birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, recognized by shepherds as the Messiah.

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The Fifth Lesson Transcript

The fifth lesson changes scene to Bethlehem. The fifth lesson is from Luke chapter 2 verses 1 through 16. Against a backdrop of emperors, governors, a census and taxes, Jesus is born. The shepherds go to see the Savior of the world lying in a manger.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration that was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea to the city of David called Bethlehem because he was descended from the house and family of David.

He went to be registered with Mary to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there the time came for her to deliver her child and she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in a bands of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid for see I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you. You will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those whom he favors. When the angels had left them and gone into heaven the shepherds said to one another, Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place which the Lord has made known to us. So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this they made known what had been told them about this child and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen as it had been told to them.

The Sixth Lesson

The sixth lesson, from Matthew described the journey of the wise men to honor Jesus, signifying His recognition as a king.

Laura 6th Lesson

The Sixth Lesson Transcript

The sixth lesson is from Matthew 2, 1-11. The wise men follow the star to find Christ Jesus, the King of the Jews. In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, Where is the child who has been born King of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage. When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him.

And calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, In Bethlehem of Judea. For so it has been written by the prophet, 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, by no means least among the rulers of Judea. For from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.

' Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, 'Go and search diligently for the child. And when you have found him, bring me word, so that I may also go and pay homage.' When they had heard the king, they set out, and there ahead of them went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.

When they saw the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The word of God for the people of God.

Thanks be to God.

The Seventh Lesson

The seventh and final lesson from the Gospel of John beautifully encapsulated the Incarnation, portraying Jesus as the life-giving Word of God made flesh, illuminating the world and offering grace and truth. This tapestry of lessons collectively highlighted the central narrative of Christian faith – the anticipation, birth, and significance of Jesus Christ.

Laura 7th Lesson

The Seventh Lesson Transcript

In this seventh lesson, the Apostle John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation. This is the Gospel of John, Chapter 1, verses 1-14. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John.

He came as a witness to testify to the light so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He came in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. The Word of God for the people of God.

Thank you. Speak to God. Peace, beauty, God.