Friday, November 30, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

December 2, 2012 - First Sunday of Advent

"I Believe Even When..." Worship Series

"I Believe In the Sun"

This year’s Advent worship series is inspired by Marcia McFee’s “Worship Design Studio” and by the words of a haunting anthem by Mark Miller.  (You can listen to it here.)  Miller set to music a poem written by an anonymous Jew during the Holocaust: 

I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love, even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God, even when God is silent.

It is a powerful affirmation of hope in spite of what seems like the absence of light, of love – and sometimes even what feels like the absence of God. 

The story of the birth of Jesus is filled with common themes of human drama – unknowing, doubt, disgrace, fear, oppression, journey, hardship.  Each Sunday during Advent we'll use a different verse from the poem as a lens to examine the story of Jesus' birth.  By exploring the first chapter of each of the Gospels, we will acknowledge the presence of hope through Christ, “even when…” 

This week we begin with the Gospel of Luke and the angel's visit to Mary announcing that she had been chosen to give birth to Jesus -- to bear a child out of wedlock.  In Mary's culture that was a situation that could have doomed her circumstances for life. 

When things that seem irreparable happen in our own lives, how can our perceived doom be transformed into an opportunity for rebirth?   Where do we find the hope to "believe, even when..."?  Join us as we reflect on those questions, and on the power of Advent hope.

See you on Sunday!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Looking Toward Sunday

November 24 2012 - Christ the King Sunday 

"Hanging of the Greens"

This is the last Sunday of the Christian year (which in the Church starts with the first Sunday of Advent, not on January 1).  This year Sunday, December 2 marks the beginning of the season of Advent - a hopeful season of preparation that anticipates both Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and the consummation of human history for which "all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption".  

The word "Advent" comes from the Latin verb advenire, which means "to come toward, to draw near, to approach."  This is the time when we remember and celebrate God drawing near to us in Jesus Christ in the past, in the present, and in the age to come. 

This Sunday we will prepare our sanctuary - as well as our hearts - for the season of Advent by celebrating the tradition of the "Hanging of the Greens".  This interactive worship service includes hymns, scripture, and prayer to guide us as we hang greenery and other decorations symbolizing the birth of Jesus and everlasting life.  

Join us for this festive reminder of "the reason for the season"!