If you click on the image above, you will be better able to read the C. S. Lewis quote I shared last night in our 11 o'clock Christmas Eve service at Stowe Community Church. We had over 600 people in total attendance at three services. The 5 o'clock service with children's Christmas pageant and many young families in attendance had standing room only, with many filling the balcony and standing along the walls at the back of the church. Our children and youth did a wonderful job, as did our choir in the 7:30 and 11 o'clock services. I am feeling very blessed to be the new pastor of such a wonderful church, in beautiful Vermont, with a community of creative and welcoming people. Thank you to all who by your prayers for me throughout 2015 helped to make this possible. Here is a photo of just part of our Christmas Eve crowd last night....
May the Lord bless you and keep you during this Christmas season, throughout 2016, and beyond!
Our new congregation, Stowe Community Church in Stowe, Vermont, hosted their annual community singalong of Handel's "Messiah". It was wonderful to hear the voices of over one hundred people filling this historic space along with a small chamber orchestra and gifted soloists.
Many have long been fascinated by the story behind Handel's "Messiah". As many concert goers know, when this oratorio was first performed before the King of England, the monarch stood when the "Hallelujah" chorus was sung, apparently in recognition of a greater king: Jesus. Audiences have been standing ever since, just as ours did in Stowe, Vermont last night.
Here is a good summary of the story behind this beloved oratorio that is now so popular around the world at Christmas time....
Stowe Community Church in Stowe, Vermont, voted unanimously on Sunday, December 6, to call me as their next pastor, and I have accepted that call. Thus, our family will be moving to Vermont and beginning a new chapter in our lives before Christmas. Here is a link to their web site where you can learn more about the church and the community: Stowe Community Church.
With all that we have to do to move, I may not be posting much on my blog for the next few weeks. In the mean time, you may listen to the first sermon I preached in Stowe just this past Sunday. All you have to do is click on the link: Come Before Winter.
C. S. Lewis' Top Ten: Influential Books & Authors, Volume 2 is now in print! My order arrived yesterday evening and it looks great thanks to Bob Trexler and Winged Lion Press.
This book covers Lewis' reading of The Temple by George Herbert, The Prelude by William Wordsworth, and The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto. Each chapter contains three sections:
Lewis' reading of the book and author in questionA brief biography of the authorA synopsis of the bookHere is what others are saying about the book: "Will Vaus has done us a great service in this clear and comprehensive survey of the great books that helped to form C. S. Lewis’ mind and can also inform ours. I found his work on Virgil (Volume 1), on George Herbert, and on Wordsworth particularly helpful. This book is not just for C. S. Lewis enthusiasts but for anyone who would like to broaden and deepen their reading."
Malcolm Guite Chaplain, Girton College, Cambridge University"Will Vaus’s C. S. Lewis’ Top Te…
One sentence in the Gospel lectionary reading for today, from Luke 10:21-24, really jumped out at me: "... Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit..."
It seems to me that far too often we focus on Jesus as a man of sorrows. Certainly, he was that. He bore our griefs, as Isaiah prophesied. But more than that, Jesus was and is a man of joy. I think, perhaps, that is one of the main things that attracted other people to Jesus, and still does.
Joy is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as Paul says in Galatians 5:22. Joy is a gift from God. It cannot be manufactured by human beings.
Happiness is different from joy. It turns up generally where you would expect it to do so: when one gets the job one has been longing for, when one has a merry meeting with one's friends, when the person of your dreams says "yes" to your proposal, or when that longed-for child is born. Happiness is dependent upon happenings, circumstances. Joy is not.