Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sixth Day of Christmas Present

Happy 6th day of Christmas!  This is the Chrismon Tree in the United Methodist building on Capital Hill, next door to the Supreme Court.  To learn about gifts that the United Methodist Board of Church and Society is exericing on our behalf, pay a virtual visit to the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

Fifth Day of Christmas present

Your 5th day of Christmas present is located at!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fourth Day of Christmas present

Chris Horner is friend and musician from Virginia. Just before Christmas, she shared this encounter with her grandchild.

Husband Colin added, "and this all goes on with four heading out the door to party, a hockey game on the TV, Christmas cards being stuffed and dinner being served to the late arrivers home. The application of faith must be powerful to overcome life's day to day."

Sammy invited me to a church service in the living room this evening. In attendance: two human; two dogs. The order of service was handwritten and is included verbatim below:

1. Entry with song
2 .Daily anonsments
3. prayr
4. song
5. personal silent prayr
6. song
7. hold hands and sing a song
8. exit with a song

Okay, the whole service took ~ 5 minutes. Cissy, who has learned to "shake", actually offered her paw during hand holding. Sam used recorded bits from the piano for the music, except when we sang "Jesus Loves Me". (Little dogs to Him belong) After the service, she handed me another piece of paper...
"need church organist".

I have accepted position and been prepaid 5 cents.
God is good.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Third Day of Christmas Present

"Listen to this!  Laments coming out of Ramah,
wild and bitter weeping.
It's Rachel weeping for her children,
Rachel refusing all solace.
Her children are gone,
gone--long gone into exile."
But God says, 
"Stop your incessant weeping,
hold back your tears. 
Collect wages from your grief work. " 
God's Decree.
"They'll be coming back home!
There's hope for your childre."  God's Decree.
      Jeremiah 31 excerpt, Eugene Petersen, The Message

...God's angel showed up again in Joseph's dream and commanded, "get up.
Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt."
    Matthew 2 excerpt, The Message

His sorrow was a true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he'd laugh and build a world with snow.

My father moved through the theys of we,
singing each leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine, passion willed,
freedom a drug that's bought and sold

....and nothing quite so least as truth
--i say though hate were why men breathe--because my father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

(excerpts from e.e.cummings, 50 poems)

Second Day of Christmas Present

December 27, 2010

Second Day of Christmas present

Winter, and very cold,
and the night at 
its deepest.  The politicians,
as usual, double-tongued.
The town chaotic, teeming
with strangers.
And tonight, as often
in winter, in Bethlehem,
snow is falling.

I always love how each flake,
torn from the sky,
arrives separately,
without sound, almost
unnoticed in
a flurry of others. How
each one (on a clear 
night) lies there glittering
on the swelling breast
of snow, crisp
and intact, as wholly itself
as every radiant star
in a sky sparkling
with galaxies.

How many new 
babies tonight
in Judea, coming
like snowflakes?
But plucked,
dazzling, from the 
eternal heavens,
into time,
tonight is born
The One.

-Luci Shaw, Accompanied by Angels:  Poems of the Incarnation
snowflake photograph by Kenneth G. Libbrecht

(visit for a biblical reflection on this poem)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On the First Day of Christmas

Last night as I was leaving the 7:00 pm service, I got in my car which was facing the Church building. It was a beautiful sight. Luminaries lighting up the walk way and the steps to the church. The lights inside the Church shinning out (one is stained glass). It would have made a perfect Christmas card. So I paused to ponder and enjoy this Christmas card from God. Then I noticed it. The night sky was all dark behind the Church except for one very bright star shinning just above the steeple. It was beautiful. I hung around a while so that I could point it out to the several people who were still lingering inside. It was my Christmas gift to them. The lesson is one that I've heard continually during the Advent season this year. Pause in the midst of the secular Christmas craziness and reflect on the real meaning for the season. And the star came to rest over where the child lay. Merry Christmas Cindy Rosen

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fourth Advent Candle

 Candle of Joy
Fourth Sunday in Advent
December 19, 2010

Read from your bible: Luke 1: 46b-55

This week our candle is pink, symbolizing “Joy.”  Mary was full of joy when God told her she would be Jesus’ mother.  She knew her baby would bring joy with justice and compassion for all people.  Whether it is something God has already done or something God promises to do, we have so many reasons to be full of joy! 
Can you think of reasons for Joy that start each letter of the alphabet?  For example, “A” is for Aunt Susan who always makes me smile, “B” is for bread baking in the oven,  “C” is for Children International who help children all over the world have enough,…….
In worship we light the fourth advent candle in worship sing:

We pray that your Word may be born in our hearts, that we may shine bright with the joy it imparts.
We pray as we wait for Emmanuel’s birth,
The light of our hope may illumine the earth.


Third Advent Candle

The candle of Faith
Third Sunday in Advent
December 12, 2010

Read from your bible:  Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19

The psalms are poems chanted by Jewish people as they worship.    Even in hard times, they celebrate God’s faithfulness and practice their own faithfulness to God. People sing these words so often they know them by heart.  Jesus grew up singing and knowing them.  Jesus is God’s song of faithfulness made flesh, as a real person.
The words of Psalm 80 may be hard to hear.  They are words of “repentance.”  The people knew they had not been faithful to God.  God still promised to be love and care for them.  That’s not easy when someone you love has hurt you. Can you remember a time when someone hurt you?  Can you remember a time when you did something hurtful to someone else?  We all do hurtful things, sometimes by accident.  Other times we know what we are doing, and do it anyway.  God sent Jesus to help us get past all the hurts between God and us, between us and each other.
We lit our third candle in worship this week with words you can sing or say together now.

As Mary prepares for new life to begin
we trust in your Promise still hidden within.                 
              Transfigure our hearts as from night into day,
that we by our faith may prepare you a way.

As you light the third candle together, say:
                        “Faithful Jesus, we are ready.” 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Second Sunday in Advent

The candle of Hope
Second Sunday in Advent
December 5, 2010

Read from your bible: Isaiah 11: 1-10

“Advent” means coming.  A long time ago, when the words you read were first spoken, God gave them to the prophet Isaiah as a word of hope.  The people of Israel were living in hard times.  They had to do what another nation’s king told them to.  They couldn’t praise God freely or live the way God had taught their grandmothers and grandfathers too.
     Isaiah said that God would keep the promises God had made. They would be “fulfilled.”  God wants to fill our lives with good things.  What are the very best things that God fills your life with?  What do you hope God will fill all of our lives with?  As we wait to celebrate Jesus’ birth, we hope to see God’s promises fulfilled in our world.
This morning in worship we lit the second candle as we sang together.  You can read or sing these words now.

Oh, hear us we pray, God for dark is the night,
and still we are waiting in hope for the light.
 Oh teach us to trust you, preparing the way,
until with rejoicing we enter the day.*

As you light the second advent candle, say together,
“Come, Jesus, come!”