Open Arms logo We exist as a congregation to bring people to Jesus Christ and discover new life in community with him through fellowship, education, service, invitation, and worship.

Street Address:

1021 W College, Independence MO 64050

Mailing Address:

500 W Pacific, Independence MO 64050

Dave Winship, Co-pastor
816-795-9373
816-651-8255
simplydavew@sbcglobal.net

Shawn Mallas, Co-pastor
816-517-9080
smallas@CofChrist.org

Dave McDonald, Co-pastor
816-223-3740
ssgoodguy50@gmail.com

Welcome to our congregation! Open Arms presents basic Christian faith. If you are investigating Christianity, or if you are a follower of Christ who prefers contemporary worship, these services are designed especially for you. While we use up-to-date language, music, and drama, our Bible-based message is as eternal as the revelation of God's love through the life of Jesus.

Matthew 13:24-27, 32-33 New Century Version

…'the sun will grow dark,
and the moon will not give its light.
The stars will fall from the sky.
And the powers of the heavens will be shaken.'

"Then people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Then he will send his angels all around the earth to gather his chosen people from every part of the earth and from every part of heaven….

"No one knows when that day or time will be, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. Be careful! Always be ready, because you don't know when that time will be."

***

This meditation follows the format of Daily Bread, a Community of Christ resource that is available for daily meditation. It includes a short message, a short excerpt from the Daily Prayer for Peace, a spiritual discipline, and a statement of a peace covenant.

"But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory…. But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.
—Mark 13:24–26, 32–33

I developed a view of the Advent season that centered on feelings of anticipation, joy, and comfort, but in the Gospel of Mark Advent actually begins in the dark. The sun, moon, and stars do not shine. It feels uncomfortable to start in darkness.

But can the darkness be felt as positive energy, full of potential?

A secret, homemade tent constructed of sheets and blankets with my siblings after "lights out" involved giggling, singing, and sharing— respite in the darkness. (I wonder, "Did our parents know?")

A middle-of-the-night prayer session wrestling with problems and worries ends in feelings of release. My concerns, while not solved, are cared for and surrounded by Spirit in the darkness.

A stolen moment for connecting with the Divine is experienced in the darkened Temple sanctuary—a surprising intimacy in the enormity of that space.

A child develops in the warmth, comfort, and darkness of its mother's womb.

Wise ones on a wandering journey in the darkness follow the Voice that calls them into the unknown.

We begin Advent in the dark, taking time to be still and present to this process, this time of reflection, contemplation, and spiritual formation. We are reminded of the sacred story. We are open and hopeful, preparing for the intrusion into the darkness: Emmanuel, God with Us.

God—past, present, and future—has, does, and will pitch a tent among us. In Advent we actively wait in the energy of the darkness for God to break in. O God, hear our prayer: Come, Lord Jesus.

--Jane Gardner, presiding evangelist

Advent Prayer Phrase

"Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord" (Psalm 31:24).

Advent Spiritual Practice

Breathe deeply and spend a few moments inviting silence to deepen around you. Pay attention to what is forming in you this day as you prayerfully consider the following questions: What awareness or gift begins to emerge in you through the practice of waiting? When do you notice being invited to resist rushing to the next thing and remain present with what may be slowly unfolding? What can you learn from being fully present in the waiting times?

Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Visit the Daily Prayer for Peace page to find each day's prayer and be a part of this practice of peace.