The Abundant Life – December 8, 2016


The Abundant Life


December 8, 2016                     For Sunday, December 11th


From The Rector


Hope When Least Expected


The liturgy of the third Sunday in Advent seems out of place. We are in a deeply contemplative time of preparing for Emmanuel, but he has not yet come. Isaiah has interrupted the narrative of Jerusalem’s threatened destruction with this passage of celebration – God will rescue the city whatever the time table for its destruction. As Dr. Barbara Lundblad points out, this prophecy of the desert in bloom and the redeemed of the Lord streaming into Zion, is five chapters before the time-honored proclamation that the straight and level highway is preparation for God’s redeeming the city. Today’s passage and the timing brings the message of hope where it seemingly does not belong, where it is not expected, when it is too soon. Such is the nature of hope.


Isaiah imagines what that hope looks like in a very specific place and time. Jerusalem in under siege and all potential allies are powerless, yet the prophet paints a picture of dry desert bursting forth with abundance. The weak no longer tremble. The fearful are courageous. People whom none would expect to lead – those people who have been labeled as dis-abled – become the icons of a loving, powerful God. They leap and sing for joy, leading all the people to a new picture of hope.


Dr. Lundblad challenges us to look for just that kind of hope. What might it look like for us today?


One regular member of our Parish cannot see. John Granet is blind and his claim for hope is not about someday having sight as others do. His claim on hope comes from understanding himself beyond his limitation of sight. John has appreciated the abundant love of God through music and he shares that that hopeful joy in musical performance. John is not relegated to settling for a limited worship experience, but he boldly embraces worship, and encourages others with his enthusiasm.


How might our imagination lead to a place of full inclusion of all people? Lundblad offers a Call to Worship that invites us to reimagine church as a place where the unexpected are welcome and none are out of place:

Then the blind woman and her dog
shall process with the choir;
the deaf man who sees what we often miss
shall paint the text on the sanctuary walls;
the veteran in the wheelchair
shall break the bread of life,
and the homeless man who cannot speak
shall sign the hymns for everyone to see.
(Working Preacher 12/15/13)


Join us in worship as our eyes and hearts are opened this Advent, and we hope where we least expect it.


Fr. Andrew



Featured Scripture


Isaiah 35  Common English Bible (CEB)


The desert and the dry land will be glad;

    the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus.

They will burst into bloom,

    and rejoice with joy and singing.

They will receive the glory of Lebanon,

    the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.

They will see the Lord’s glory,

    the splendor of our God.


Strengthen the weak hands,

    and support the unsteady knees.

Say to those who are panicking:

    “Be strong! Don’t fear!

    Here’s your God,

        coming with vengeance;

        with divine retribution

    God will come to save you.”


Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,

    and the ears of the deaf will be cleared.

Then the lame will leap like the deer,

    and the tongue of the speechless will sing.

Waters will spring up in the desert,

    and streams in the wilderness.

The burning sand will become a pool,

    and the thirsty ground, fountains of water.

The jackals’ habitat, a pasture;

    grass will become reeds and rushes.

A highway will be there.

    It will be called The Holy Way.

The unclean won’t travel on it,

    but it will be for those walking on that way.

Even fools won’t get lost on it;

    no lion will be there,

    and no predator will go up on it.

None of these will be there;

    only the redeemed will walk on it.

The Lord’s ransomed ones will return and enter Zion with singing,

    with everlasting joy upon their heads.

Happiness and joy will overwhelm them;

    grief and groaning will flee away.


Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible







December 13th & 20th

Advent Taizè Services –  7:00 p.m.



December 11th, Sunday

Lessons & Carols – 10:30 a.m.



December 24th – Christmas Eve

Carols – 5:45 p.m.

Family Service – 6:00 p.m.

(Childcare available)


Carols – 10:45 p.m.

Midnight Mass – 11:00 p.m.



December 25th – Christmas Day
Holy Communion and Carols – 10:30 a.m.



Hospitality Ministry


Please join us in the Parish Hall after each Sunday service for coffee and refreshments. 


Sunday, Susan Green is sponsoring the coffee hour after the 8:00 am service and John & Lena Granet are hosts for the Coffee Hour following the 10:30 am service.


 Please consider signing up to be a host. Make it a New Year’s resolution






Advent Taizè Services



Our Advent Taize Services continue this Tuesday, December 13th, and will continue the following Tuesday in Advent, December 20th at 7:00 p.m. In a quiet setting of candles and liturgical art, this service offers a style of meditation through repetitive chant, psalm and silence for personal reflection and prayer. As one attendee noted, “The Taize Service provides the perfect respite from the hectic pace and pressure of the holiday season.” Everyone is welcome. Contact Nathan Ensign for more details at: 760-320-7488 Ext. 225.








If you would like to contribute toward the cost of Christmas flowers, please use the special offering envelopes found in the pew pockets.









Calling all Elves!



It’s time again to decorate for Christmas. Wednesday, December 21st starting at 9:00 a.m. We need helpers to decorate the interior of the church. Much of the decorations are high up so we are hoping some “ladder-nimble” elves will be able to help.











Hikers Join UP!


The St. Paul’s Hiking Group is hosting its December hike at the Oak Glen Preserve above Beaumont on Saturday, December 17th at 8:30am, and it’s not too late to join us for fellowship, fun and a generous helping of natural beauty out on the trail – distance is about 3 miles, no special hiking experience is required. Contact Chris Kelly for further info at or 760.406.2978 for further information. See you there!





Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath December 17-18




Next week we will be joining Faiths United in commemorating the Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend. This is the 4th year places of worship across the nation will be remembering those who have been lost, praying for those who survived, and raising awareness on what can be done to change the norm of gun violence in America. We ask you to wear orange next weekend to show your support in this effort.







Communion at Windsor Court


The next Communion Service at Windsor Court is Wednesday, December 14th at 10:15 am. The priest and the residents are always happy to have parishioners attend.





Christmas Gift Cards for Roy’s




As in the past, St. Paul’s will be raising money this Holiday season to buy a $25 Walmart gift card for each of the homeless men, women and children at Roy’s Desert Resource Center.  We urge all Sr. Paul’s parishioners to chip in this year and help in this important effort – simply drop your check to St. Paul’s in the collection plate with the notation “for Roy’s” in the memo line, or call Chris Kelly 760-406-2978 with questions.  Let’s make sure that no one in our community is forgotten or left out this Christmas.






Faith Building  2016

Sundays at 9:15 am in the Library – The Episcopal Cafè




12/11     The God Who Descends – The Incarnation Part I –

                 Led by Rev. Canon Victoria Hatch.

12/18     The God Who Descends – The Incarnation Part II –

                 Led by Rev.  Canon David Caffrey


12/25 & 1/1  Christmas Break – No Sessions





Tuesdays at 7pm in the Church


December 13th & 20th – Taizè Services




Thursdays at Noon in the Library 


December 15th and 22nd – Join us for an Advent exploration of Brian McLaren’s book The Great Spiritual Migration led by Audrey Spencer. Bring a bag lunch and share thoughts on this book’s theme of migrating from Christian faith defined as a system of beliefs to a love-centered way of life.





Office Hours are 9 am – 4:30 pm Tuesday through Friday.  The office is closed on Mondays.
Should you call on Monday when we are closed to the public, please leave a message.  In case of an emergency, a priest will return your call.




Print a copy of The Abundant Life?


Click here




Sunday Worship Childcare
Childcare is available for both the 8:00 a.m. and the 10:30 a.m. services.




The Prayer Shawl Ministry invites you to join our circle on Wednesday’s from 10 am-1 pm in Hogarth Hall. Whether  you wish to learn to knit or crochet or are an  expert needleworker, we welcome you. Needles, hooks and yarn are provided. Please drop in  to create and enjoy our prayerfully made creations.




Report Misconduct
As part of our ongoing commitment to creating a safe haven for everyone, our diocese trains people in the prevention of misconduct and encourages all to report misconduct. All reported incidences are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and confidentially. If you believe you have experienced misconduct of any kind, please contact Mr. John Seitman,, 858-793-4555 or the Rev. Janet Wheelock,, 952-240-8067.




Bullying Behavior
Not Welcome Here

At St. Paul in the Desert we welcome all worshipers to a place that is free of violence and bullying.
Physical, verbal or emotional violence against others or against oneself is not acceptable because of our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.  Please let Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself be your guide.
“It Gets Better” is a series of video messages to encourage Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender youth and let them know that they are loved as they are.
“A Blessing for Those Who Are Bullied” was written by the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, a Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
It is not enough to say “NO” to bullies. It is important to stand up for people and to provide resources for those who have been the targets.





The Church of St. Paul in the Desert

Local: 760.320.7488   //  Fax: 760.416.2441
Email:  Website:

125 West El Alameda

Palm Springs, California 92262

Categories Newsletters | Tags: | Posted on December 8, 2016

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