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

 

epiphany-home-blessing-2017-blue-door

Happy Epiphany! Today is the day – the 12th day after Christmas to be exact – the day we celebrate Epiphany. In our holy story, it’s the day we remember the Magi’s journey from the east. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that the Magi followed a star to find the newborn King. Christ’s incarnation marks a new beginning, a holy reign for all people.

This time also marks a new beginning for us. Not only a new year, but also a new season in the life of our church. In this season of Epiphany we celebrate the revelation of God incarnate – 2,000 years ago and still today.

As a community we will mark this season of revelation with Epiphany Home Blessings. This ritual is a meaningful way to honor the Christ who dwells with us. A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 17. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless this house.” The “+” signs represent the cross and 2017 is the year.

So, I invite you to take part in this meaningful ritual in one of two ways. You may pick up a Home Blessing Kit this Sunday to chalk your own home. Or, I would love to come over for a blessing ritual and time of fellowship (Warning: Emma or Lily will likely be in tow). Contact me or RSVP on your connect card so we can set up a time. Either way, I hope you and your household will take a moment to celebrate Christ’s presence – wherever you dwell.

Peace.

From the Pastor

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God will be with them ; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away. And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
Revelation 21:1-5

Happy New Year!

And blessings to you for a happy and healthy 2016.
In the Christmas season, we celebrate the God who came to dwell among us, to be our God. This God brings peace, salvation, new life. This God wipes the tears from our eyes, wipes the pain and suffering, mourning and sadness from our hearts. The healing presence of God does not deny the past, rather it reorients our lives to a hope-filled future; reorients us to new life.

As we look to the new year, filled with hope, we celebrate this newness together. We get to be for each other a reminder of God’s healing presence. In the weeks to come we will explore the theme, “Behold, I make all things new!” Each week will incorporate a meaningful ritual to remind us of God’s healing presence in our lives, and to reorient our hearts to newness. The rituals will invite God’s blessing for our bodies, our homes, our work and our play. In these acts, we live into our faith, expecting God to dwell with us, remembering that we are God’s people, always marked by newness.

Peace.
Pastor Jen

Just a Thought…

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”  -2 Corinthians 5:17-18

happy new year

I love the beginning of the new year! There is something holy for me about ending a year reflecting on the past 12 months- all the joys, the griefs, the stresses and the silliness- and then giving them up to God to celebrate a new, fresh start.

Of course, this letting go and starting fresh can happen each and every day. In fact, Martin Luther encourages it!

In the Small Catechism, in the section on the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Luther writes that the promise God makes in Baptism “signifies that the old Adam in us… should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance and be put to death, so that a new creation can come forth daily and rise up, cleansed and righteous…”

So what are you still holding on to in this New Year that needs to be released? What petty or selfish thoughts need to be drowned? What resentments need to be put to death? Where do reconciliation, forgiveness, and love need to rise up and come forth for you in 2015?

As has become tradition for us at Celebration, we will be offering Epiphany Home Blessings during the Season of Epiphany. This is one of my favorite things to do at this time of year! If you would like to have your home blessed (it’s okay to have it blessed again!), please note it on your Connect Card during worship, or email me.

May God surprise and delight you in 2015!

It’s just a thought.

+pax et bonum
pc

Just a Thought

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.  -2 Corinthians 6:1-2

When I was younger, I remember my mother cautioning me, “Chris, the older you get, the faster time flies.”

I never knew what she meant. Until now.  I still can’t believe it’s already 2014.  What happened to Thanksgiving? And Advent?  Was that Christmas and News Years that flew right past us?!

It also means that I’ve been partnering with others to birth this new mission church called Celebration for 7 years!  SEVEN YEARS! (I guess it is true that times flies when you’re having fun).

Didn’t we just launch? Didn’t we just move into the storefront? Didn’t we just charter… and call Mary Lee to be our Associate in Ministry… and adopt Holmsley?!

Well, 2014 is gearing up to be an exciting year, and as is our tradition, I have a new theme for our congregation for this coming year. Our congregational theme is:  Now Is The Time!   This theme is based on 2 Corinthians 6:2.

  • When should we go out into the community to serve? Now is the Time!
  • When should we share our faith as an invitation to others? Now is the Time!
  • When should we welcome the stranger? Now is the Time!
  • When should we seek a permanent location? Now is the Time!
  • When should we be an incubator of leadership for the larger Church? Now is the Time!
  • When should we start planting a new missional community? Now is the Time!

As followers of Jesus, we’ve all been called to the important, holy work of changing the world with the love of God. And yet, sometimes faithful people act as if the Holy Spirit has left the building… as if we’re all alone in this task. Sometimes it almost seems as if we’re afraid and timid to step out boldly in faith to shine with the Light that burns within us.

But we’re not alone! And the good news is that Now Is The Time!

So, if you weren’t afraid of failure, what would you do in your life? And, if you weren’t afraid of failure, what would you have Celebration do in 2014?  Because…  Now is the Time!

Just a thought.

+pax et bonum

pc