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Pastor's Note Jan. 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 15:22

 

From the Pastor:

Happy New Year to all of you!

   I have been thinking a bit about who we are and how we see ourselves and what strengths do we want to build on to help Congregational United Church of Christ live into its vision. These have come up not only as a result of my own ponderings about setting priorities, etc. but also through conversations with various people. Seemingly unrelated conversations about administrative structure of church ministries, about music, and about providing hospitality at the church have all had my juices flowing about just how do we see ourselves and how do we want to see ourselves. I invite each of you to take some time to reflect on what we do well, what we don’t do well, how we could do tasks (e.g. meetings) differently. How do you see God calling us to live out God’s extravagant welcome? Please, as you have ideas, thoughts, comments, questions, random tangents, etc., share them! I would love it if you would share them with me. If not, please share them with each other so that all ideas are considered. Each person has a perspective and experience to share!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Epiphany to you!

   In keeping with what was shared from the Illinois Conference- UCC Annual Meeting last June, i.e the need for congregations to develop “biblical literacy”, I have been trying to increase “liturgical literacy”. I am hoping to give some grounding for what the various church seasons mean, what we are reading (and why, sometimes) in the lectionary, etc.

   As you probably know, we finished a four week season of Advent, a time of waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus. Advent ends with Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The Christmas season is more than Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. It lasts until Epiphany. Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas, celebrates the coming of the Wise People to toddler Jesus, as told by the author of the Gospel of Matthew in Matthew 2:1-12. The word “epiphany” means the revealing of Jesus as God. There is a season of Epiphany just as there is a season of Christmas.

It seems natural to think of Christmas as the greater feast in the church, if for no other reason than it is the greater one in our culture. But in many ways, in terms of history, and in terms of story, Epiphany is the greater moment of celebration. Epiphany is part of the mystery of Christmas. We celebrate not only that God becomes flesh (the Incarnation of Christmas) but also that Jesus, as the Son of God gathers the whole of humanity into himself. God becomes revealed and fully available to all who want God.

     So as we follow the flow from the season of Advent to Christmas to Epiphany, we are invited to do the following:

   Advent invites us to watch and wait and nourish the Spirit within and among us ~ and prepare a place of the coming of Christ. 

     Christmas invites us to wonder and rejoice alongside the shepherds and all who first experienced the birth of Christ cannot fully comprehend. Christmas invites us to birth Christ within us.

Epiphany invites us to awaken and grow the birth of Christ in us. Light continues to be a dominant metaphor as the light of Christ shines – in Jesus and in us who follow. As we grow this presence of Christ within us, we become greater disciples of Jesus and grow in holiness. Some traditions talk about this process as rebirth, discipleship, or sanctification.

God’s light, in the world and in us, is constantly challenged by forces within us and within our world.      The whole idea of a self-giving love can be anathema to us on any given day. That is one reason we come together to worship – liturgy (free or structured) - because worship is designed to empower us with God’s love and God’s wisdom so that we can continue to love no matter what.

All in all, that’s a tall order. With God’s help, we can recognize the light and shine it in our lives.

God’s peace to you.

Pastor Lynn

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 October 2012 16:43
 
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