Terry Cole captured images from the Christmas Eve Musical Play and put them together into this beautiful slideshow. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Each month we recognize members of our congregation who are celebrating birthdays or anniversaries.
Birthdays in January:
2 — Theodore Dutton
5 — Stacy Fazio, Paige Newport
6 — Mike Mighaccio
11 — Kellin Chaffin, Nancy Parks
12 — Nancy Bailey
15 — Jeff Jones
16 — Helen Winkel
17 — Joseph LeBeau, Patty Parks
19 — Joel Van Patten
21 — Betty Lundberg
22 — Johnny Cushing
24 — Sue Hipp
25 — Ben Parks
29 — Carter Reynolds
31 — Roger Wall
During his Dec. 10 message, the second Sunday of Advent, Pastor Breedlove told us about the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, the practice of honoring the history of broken objects by repairing them using gold lacquer to celebrate the cracks rather than trying to hide them:
“You have this beautiful artwork, these broken cups and broken mugs and broken pottery that’s mended with glazed gold. That’s a beautiful way to imagine how God’s grace can mend and even transform broken lives and broken relationships.”
“The apostle Paul said it this way in scripture, Corinthians II, Chapter 4. Paul said, ‘We have this treasure in clay jars. So that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power comes from God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not driven to despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken. Struck down, but not destroyed.’
“This metaphor of clay jars and how fragile life is, and how God works within our frailness, how God works within how easily our life can become chipped and fractured and broken… In a sense, our practice of loving the way that Jesus taught and exemplified in his life is the gold, the glue that can mend and transform lives and relationships. Our love, while powerful doesn’t erase cracks and fractures of life. But it can help embrace, affirm and somehow transform our brokenness in a way that we know that we are not alone in all of this, and in a way that we know that we are deeply loved throughout life.”
At the worship on Sunday, Dec. 4, copies of the Advent/Christmas reflection calendar were handed out. These daily reflections and actions help us notice “where God is breaking through,” wrote author Molly Phinney-Baskette.
You can view the calendar here, below Molly’s column, or check back on our Facebook page during this month for the daily reflections.
~ By Molly Phinney-Baskette
Beloved, it’s been a YEAR. Inaugurations, investigations, mass protests and counterprotests. Hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires (many of them, metaphorically, at the nation’s capital). Muslim travel bans, transgender rights rollbacks, open assault on the poorest and sickest people in America through cruel legislation. Two of the largest mass shootings our country has ever seen. White supremacists openly on parade, with torches, and without masks. Nuclear holocaust nightmares, redux.
It’s also been the year of the largest single-day protest (the Women’s March on Jan. 21). The annulment of much of that cruel legislation by an engaged electorate. The takedown of wealthy and powerful sexual predators, and the unmasking of sexual harassment and assault nationwide, by women on the political left and the right. White people awakening to their privilege and showing up in greater numbers to protest white supremacy (it’s a start). And, momentarily, the seating of newly elected trans folks, women, and people of color in political office throughout the land.
You probably know, because you are church nerds, that Advent is not just about the coming of itty bitty baby Jesus. It is the season of Apocalypse — the second coming of adult Jesus (look busy!) in judgment. Apocalypse means “uncovering.” Put that way, it doesn’t seem so threatening. It may even seem welcome.
As much suffering as we have endured as a nation this year, we are also experiencing an unprecedented uncovering.
We are more deeply aware of the ways in which our culture, society and even and especially our religion (I’m looking at you, Christianity!) have propped up the Powers That Be and condoned violence against black and brown bodies, women’s bodies, queer/trans bodies, immigrant bodies. More, if not all, is being revealed about the way we have failed to live up to Christ’s vision of Kin-dom.
At the same time: we are struggling to articulate a Christianity and a Jesus that doesn’t live in luxury in Herod’s palace but is getting born, born, born into the margins of Bethlehem. In the comments section, they call us snowflakes, for daring to love recklessly and stand with the underdog, always.
Well then: let’s embrace snowflake Christianity. Let’s run out into the field with the shepherds, stare up at the sky with the wise ones, and stick our tongues out to catch the next flakes as they fall. Let’s be on the lookout for where Jesus might turn up next–what ways the most vulnerable will turn out to be the supernaturally powerful, after all.
This year’s Advent calendar is about noticing where God is breaking through, bringing attention to the minute and the massive, so-big-we-might-have-missed-it-otherwise hope and holiness in the New Creation.
A new thing this year: half the calendar is written by my brilliant friend Rev. Quinn Caldwell! It maps to the UCC Advent Devotional book, Watch (each day, the prompt matches the devo). The print edition is sold out, but you can still buy a Kindle edition if you want to read the devos here (though the calendar works just fine without the book): https://www.uccresources.com/products/watch-2017-advent-devotional-the-stillspeaking-writers-group
I’m so grateful to still be here, to still know you, to be in this together. A blessing upon each and every one of you, wherever you are.
Many thanks, as always, to member Terry Cole for capturing these photos from Sunday’s Hanging of the Greens worship service, starting off this Advent season.
We also welcomed several new members to our growing congregation, shared in communion and learned about faiths around the world.
We can use all hands on deck beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, to help spread mulch on the xeriscape landscaping, which helps minimize our church’s water usage and creates an environmentally friendly landscaping.
Let’s get our church campus looking its best for the Christmas holidays! Bring gloves, shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows. If you do not have tools then we can supply them at church. We plan to finish the job at noon. Pizza will be served.