For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
As a Family of Churches we are considering, contemplating, meditating on these 4 prophesied names of Christ from Isaiah 9:6 so that individually and as a community we may experience the advent of these names in our journeys of following Jesus. As part of this season, several folks have written out some of their Contemplations on these names and they have been set to video. These videos will be shown in each of our churches this season on each respective Sunday. However, here on this post you can find a link for each video and read the scripts of each. (Each title will link you to its video on YouTube)
Thank you to Jenn Wilson & Elizabeth Hill of Terra Nova North Adams for video editing and production.
Written & spoken by Heidi Ann Stears, Terra Nova Saratoga
A search for answers where none can be found.
Blind leaders guiding blind people in aimless circles.
Words both harsh and sickly sweet lose their power to the shatter of cracks below the shallow surface
until we are plunged into darkness cold as ice.
This is the darkness in which we dwell: Breathless and paralyzed, driven and tossed we are but ships lost to the sea.
So close to shore and an eternity away without light to draw us home.
The roar of the unseen our only company.
This is the darkness into which great light has shined at last. At last!
But his voice does not match the rioting of the waves. His hand is not an iron grip wresting for control.
His is the gentle whisper of overwhelming confidence. It is the warm hand of blessed assurance,
heated by the fires of victory
lit by a baby’s cry.
He was born to forge the way.
Whose counsel could be trusted more than of the one who goes before?
And yet do I believe this to be true? When I want a king but see a carpenter? Hands for building and not for war? When he says I know the way,
do I still say I am lost?
When he says follow me,
do I still ask what to do?
When he says come and see,
will he be wonderful to me?
Jesus be wonderful to me.
Written by Emma Hopkins & Read by Matthew Schwartz, Terra Nova Saratoga
“And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” [Isaiah 25:7-8]
Surrounded by evil, injustice and suffering; estranged, persecuted. We plead: “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?” If you are Mighty, why do you sit by complacently?
On the worn paths of life, “standing still, looking sad.” We ask: “Is He the only one who does not know the things that have happened here in these days?” He, mighty in deed and word, yet appearing powerless and condemned, crucified. “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel”– to redeem our country, our families, our illnesses, our sorrows. Yet we have waited and we have not seen his Might; “it is now the third day since these things happened.”
The time is running out– God, where is your Might? Our people are oppressed, God where is your Might? We expected a conquering king, a liberating leader, God where is your Might?
In Bethany, grieving at a dear tomb. We weep: “Lord, if you had been here,” if you had shown your Might, “my brother would not have died.”
He responds: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” “My kingdom is not of this world.” “I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.“ “Surpassing power belongs to Me [God].”
And so, “we are afflicted in every way but not crushed” and “perplexed but not driven to despair.”
And so, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” He is in our midst, “a Mighty one who will save, who will rejoice over you with gladness and quiet you with his love.” Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way.” And, “clothed with power from on high,” “We will run and not grow weary.”
He is Mighty God despite. He is Mighty God. And we are his children.
Written by Kasey Waite & Read by Kristen Chen, Terra Nova Troy
As his ears rang with the fading echoes of screams, both mother and baby, Joseph takes a step back from Mary’s side. He tries to breathe, to process, to recognize the people before him—a new version of Mary, his wife, who is now a mother cradling a newborn, who is God, now dwelling in human flesh. Joseph stares at the infant, bloody and wriggling, a baby and a stranger, his son but not exactly his son. Joseph never imagined that this is how he would become a parent! A first-century shared custody arrangement with deity. As he watches the baby boy nuzzled close into Mary’s chest, this reluctant, temporary human father struggles with a double responsibility—how do you raise a child? Any child, but how do you raise—the child, the promised one, the Messiah.
For to Joseph (and to us) a child is born, for to Joseph (and to us) a son is given,
And Joseph’s son is called the Father Forever, Eternal Father, Father of Eternity, the Father Who Lives Forever, the Father of the world to come.
Joseph became a father the night Jesus was born, but his role is brief. As with all human parents, Joseph’s fatherhood had a definitive beginning and an absolute ending. But not so for Joseph’s first-born son—a different kind of father. The son becomes the Everlasting Father.
Forever in the past, always in the present, already in the future, Jesus was there before anything came into existence and he holds it all together in this moment, and all the ones to come. Before anything was created, he was already there. Everything came into existence through him. Not one thing that exists was made without him.
Joseph lets out a shuddering breath, and steps back to Mary’s side and into his new role. He reaches out and gently cradles the baby’s head, his son, with his hand. The human father caresses his Forever Father—as heaven and earth meet in a moment.
Prince of Peace
Written & Read by Nicole Gordon, Terra Nova North Adams
At the store, people fill it to overflowing with gift buying and gift giving – urgency in gift acquisition, urgency in compilation – of all the plastic gifts, the non-essential gifts, the tired and obligatory gifts –they will all be bought up. And they’ll electrify the flesh for a day but my soul will be drained.
It’s all very cold.
My soul wants gifts that sustain, gifts that burn a fire in me to fuel what I’m called to. Gifts- pilot lights in me I can stoke and return to day after day, in a month, in 6 months, in a year. Gifts that even then will ignite into something greater and with higher purpose than something that requires double AA batteries.
What if my Dad in heaven knows what my perfect soul gift is? What if He knows my soul so well that he sees what it needs most?
What cold place in me beckons a warming gift from God to it.
My soul yearns for peace, it craves peace in a world that so seldom offers it, it craves peace in a world that is in constant short supply of it,another item on backorder.
And my God knows it. And my God is full of peace embers, ready for bellows to start them up.
Amazon throws another package at my doorstep, tosses it on my front stoop, in the rain to get soaked through. A quick drop by and a hustle out.
This is not how my God delivers his gifts. He ushers sign them in. His gifts come with himself, with his presence. Like an usher at a wedding, he delivers this peace from not here to here. He ushers peace its origin -in him- to where it is needed most [in me], from higher to lower concentration, from factory to intended customer, from epicenter to the outermost.
Not hoarding the gift, but allowing thoseripples of peace to emanate from himself until they can reach no further. He ushers out his peace from himself.
But I get the sense he’s no joke wedding usher. His word doesn’t call him peace distributor, peace consultant, peace warehouse guy, it calls him the PRINCE of peace.
Prince … because he has jurisdiction over this peace.
Prince … because he has dominion over this peace.
Prince … because he protects it but also protects his people with it.
Prince … because his main aim is not just the resource but how that resource is used for his people.
Prince … because he equitably dishes out peace to his people, where and when it’s needed because he’s a good and just prince.
He’s a prince who doesn’t guess how and when his people need His peace but he KNOWS because he’s well acquainted with us, incarnated among us, was one of us.
But even with all the bankrolling of a royal dad on our behalf,He still gives his peace simply because he loves us so much. He gives his peace as he just looks at us – He sees us, our intense need for him made plain, our coldness towards Him, and he can’t help but remember his love for us. He sees us in our need for him and he brings himself.
He comes to us with all he ushers with himself, all of who he is, and all he is full of and we stand at the end of the aisle in our lack, to receive.
He brings his abundance, a wedding procession overflowing with joy, hope, truth, justice, life, and peace.
He brings himself- his everything– to us and our very little.
And he holds nothing back.
Our prince – who ushers in his peace – to his soul sick bride.