Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Looking Forward to January 1, 2016 -- New Year's Day, 8th Day of Christmas

The Scripture readings this week are:
  • Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
  • Revelation 21:1-6

The Meditation title is There Is A Time...

Early Thoughts: As midnight strikes we take one calendar off the wall and put the new one up...

A new beginning. A place for reflecting on what was.

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven says Qoheleth, the Preacher, the writer of Ecclesiastes. Is this a piece of hopeful wisdom? Is it a reason to despair?

2016 has passed. And it was a year for the history books.  More than one person has commented on the amount of musical talent lost during the year (David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Alan Thicke...). We saw a US election that was...interesting. And we wait to see what will flow from the new administration (some waiting with hope, some with utter dread).

What is this a time for? As the chronometers of our lives continue to tick, what season is this?

And then there is God's time. We mark time with clocks and calendars and schedules. And we believe and trust that God is active within this time line. But there is another type of time. Kairos.

Kairos is a time when God acts. (for more about Kairos see the Wikipedia entry here). Merriam-Webster defines it as: a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action :  the opportune and decisive moment

What is God doing right now? In God's eye what is this the time for? Why is this time significant?

Ther is a time...for what exactly?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Looking Forward to December 24, 2016 -- Christmas Eve

This Saturday we will have 2 services. One at 6:30 and one at 8:00.

The early service is a shorter, and somewhat more chaotic, service aimed at families with younger children. It will include some prayer, some carols, and the telling of the Christmas story via an impromptu pageant.
Photo Credit

The later service is our larger service. It will include the singing of carols, pieces from both voice and handbell choirs, prayers, a video, the reading of a poem by Maya Angelou, and conclude with lighting candles and singing Silent Night by candlelight.

The Scripture Reading is Luke 2:1-20. Here it is in the King James Version because, well some of us just hear the story told in that language.

The Meditation is titled Peace on Earth.

Early Thoughts: It is right there in the angel proclamation. Peace on Earth.

Centuries earlier Isaiah promised the coming of a child who would be called the Prince of Peace.

Each year we tell the story and share the hope for Peace on Earth.

So why is it so hard to find? Why have 2000 years gone by since the Jesus event and we have yet to really live into Peace on Earth?

It could be easy to despair, to give up hope. It could be easy to say the Peace on Earth is a fool's dream. Or maybe we could couch our despair in religious language and say that Peace on Earth will only be a reality when the Reign of God comes to full bloom on earth, that in the meantime the best we can do is to be a less-violent as possible.

But Christmas tells us different. At Christmas we are reminded that God has not (and will not) given up on the world. Once again God breaks into our lives, bringing the promise and the possibility of Peace on Earth. As people of faith, hope and love we continue to listen for angel song, we continue to run with the shepherds to see the one who has been born. Jesus, Emmanuel (God-With-Us), Messiah, Prince of Peace.

Blessed Christmas

Monday, December 5, 2016

Looking Forward to December 11, 2016 -- Advent 3, the Annunciation

The Scripture Reading this week is Luke 1:26-49

The Sermon title is Congratulations!


Early thoughts:  Hi Mary, favoured by God. Congratulations! You are having a baby!

Or maybe a more classic formulation:
Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

But what did Mary think? Did it really feel like a congratulations moment?

Mary is an interesting character in the faith story. Strong yet humble. Virgin yet mother. And, according to the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, she herself was conceived sinless. What do we do with her?

For many years some in Protestant circles have not done much, because to be too Marian was to approach Papist practices. But that seems to be ebbing, we seem to be talking about Mary a bit more. Still I am not sure what to make of her, what to make of this announcement.

Much of the talk about the Annunciation scene is about what God is doing (sensible since in the end that is the main topic of Scripture -- how is God active in our world). But if we take seriously that God is in relationship with God's people, a people who have free will, we have to talk about Mary's role in the story.

I suspect most teen girls in this day and age (or any other age for that matter) would not feel that congratulations were in order when they first got the news that they were pregnant at the wrong time. I wonder how many would feel blessed at first?

Luke's account of Jesus' birth focuses our attention squarely on Jesus' mother, Mary of Nazareth. Maybe to fully explore Luke's story and Luke's understanding of what God is doing we should take a closer look at her too.