From the Pastor

Clockface

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. – Henry David Thoreau

At the turn of a new year, I’m inclined to think about time – about the minutes and hours that comprised the past year, and about the unmarked time that inhabits the year to come. And I wonder, what will I do with this time? How can I make the most of it?

Throughout my childhood, my dad tinkered with clocks as a hobby. My childhood home was full of antique clocks with stark faces and staccato hands marking the time as it passed. This kind of time is observed and managed. This kind of time is rigid and unyielding.

Another kind of time – Kairos – marks time not with minutes, but with divine encounter. Kairos is God’s time, the holy moments that disrupt our organized, over-stuffed days. In daily Kairos, God becomes incarnate and our time is in God’s hands. The moment becomes slow and acute, and full of meaning.

This is my hope for the new year, that my time – that your time – might overflow with Kairos – divine encounter. That your hopes, resolutions, commitments might be spacious enough to make space for God. That you might hold your time gracefully so that you might radiate grace.

I leave you with this prayer written by Walter Brueggemann found in his collection, Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth.

Occupy our Calendars
Our times are in your hands:
But we count our times for us;
We count our days and fill them with us;
We count our weeks and fill them with our busyness;
We count our years and we fill them with our fears.
And then caught up short with your claim,
Our times are in your hands!
Take our times, times of love and times of weariness,
Take them all, bless them, break them,
Give them to us again, slow paced and eager,
Fixed in our readiness for neighbor.
Occupy our calendars,
Flood us with itsy-bitsy, daily kairoi,
In the name of your fleshed Kairos.  Amen.

Pastor Jen

From the Pastor

Wait for it. Wait for it. This Sunday, December 3rd marks the beginning of Advent, a season of holy longing. With Christians around the world, we eagerly anticipate the birth of Christ.  We prepare room for Jesus – in our daily lives, in our homes, in our relationships. This is an active waiting filled with hope and great joy. And when Christmas finally comes, it’s worth the wait.

As you and yours wait faithfully, there’s no need to sit idly and twiddle your thumbs. Think of these as holy possibilities, not holy obligations. I commend to you this Active Advent Calendar. It contains a list of reflections and activities that embrace the waiting and help you prepare for the birth of Jesus.  If you’re a rule follower, you can begin today, December 1 and continue through to Christmas. If you’re a rebel, I dare you to meander throughout, pick your favorites, change up the order, do what you will. Either way, I hope that this time of active waiting will create space in your life so that Christ might manger with you.

Advent Blessings!

Pastor Jen

 

ACTION! ADVENT CALENDAR

  1. Create space for your nativity, as you set it out take a moment to retell the story. Don’t have a nativity? Ask Pastor Jen to help you make one or find one.
  1. Make a list of 10 things that bring you HOPE.
  2. Keep awake! What makes you tired or bored. How might you be more awake to God at work in these things?
  3. Wake up 10 minutes early, use the time to execute a Random Act of Kindness.
  4. Contribute toward the Christmas Food Bag collection for our friends at Holmsley Elementary.
  5. Read about Christ the Light (John 1:1-5) then go for a walk in or around your neighborhood and look at Christmas lights.
  6. Make a homemade card for someone and hand deliver it.
  7. Introduce yourself to a neighbor that you have never met before.
  8. Make a list of 10 places that bring you PEACE.
  9. Prepare the way of the Lord! What might it look like for you to prepare Christ room in your home and your heart?
  10. Buy some water, coffee, cocoa, snacks, etc. to give to people you meet on the street.
  11. Read Luke’s Nativity Story (Luke 2:1-20) then retell the story in your own words.
  12. Find 5 things that you could do without and donate them.
  13. Read a newspaper or watch the news, then pray for all the places that need peace in our world.
  14. Sit still for 5 minutes and imagine what peace looks like.
  15. Make a list of 10 things that bring you JOY.
  16. Do not be afraid! Think about what makes you afraid. Is it realistic? How does it hold you back from living fully?
  17. Bake some treats for Bethesda’s Cocoa & Cookies gathering, then come mingle.
  18. Read Matthew’s Nativity Story (Matthew 1:18-2:12) then retell the story in your own words.
  19. Buy something you’d really like to have for yourself and give it away.
  20. Give $5 to someone who looks like they could use a little joy and love.
  21. Create some paper snow-flakes and hang them up for others to enjoy.
  22. Make a list of 10 people who taught you how to LOVE.
  23. Let your soul Magnify the Lord. Find a Christmas Eve Worship to attend with your people.
  24. Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!

 

Farewell Just a Thought

“Now, compelled by the Spirit, I’m going to Jerusalem. I don’t know what will happen to me there…  But nothing, not even my life, is more important than my completing my mission. This is nothing other than the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify about the good news of God’s grace.” -Acts 20:22-24 (CEB)

springSo, this is it.

The days are growing longer and the nights shorter.  Lent is almost upon us. And then it will be Holy Week, and Easter, Memorial Day and Pentecost, the end of school and summer, and then it will be Fall. The next thing you know it’s 2016.

That’s how life seems to go. Fast. So fast.   And then, POOF!  It’s over.

As I reflect over the past 7 1/2 years of ministry together as pastor and people, all I can say is, “Wow! It went really fast!” I think back to September 2007 when we launched our first worship at Robison Elementary School— a dream becoming a reality. Hopes being hoped.  A people being formed into a household of faith by the Holy Spirit.

It wasn’t always easy. We hit obstacles. We had struggles as we found our identity and as we sought to follow Christ faithfully. Sure, we made mistakes. And we learned along the way.  But, I can also say that it has been a blast! Celebration is a congregation that doesn’t take itself too seriously… a church that laughs, and loves, and enjoys worship, and believes the best.

I wish I could take credit for who Celebration has become as a church. But I can’t. It was never about me. It was always about a God willing to entrust this Great Experiment called Celebration to us. And, it was about a people willing to be transformed by the Gospel, who were then willing to roll up their sleeves to bless and change the world around them with God’s love.

My friends, I will miss being your pastor! As I shared the Gospel with you and cared for you, you did the same for me. It was mutual.

And my hope for you as I take my leave is that you would never lose your spirit of adventure! That you would remain authentic, and quirky. That you would continue to be an incubator for leadership and a laboratory for ministry for the larger Church.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the past 7 1/2 years. I love you all and I wish you the best!

And, that’s just a final thought.

+Peace and good,
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