Sometimes it is easy to forget that the Lord is with us. There are dark times, but none dark enough to extinguish the Light of the World. The Lord is with you and me. It is no accident that we Christians choose to fill the shortest and darkest days of the year with the light and love of gathered fellowship. Christmas elevates our thoughts and spirits. It reminds us, falling as it does immediately after the Winter Solstice, that, though things may seem impossibly dark, a greater light is coming into the world and growing brighter by the day.
Don’t hunker down. Don’t isolate. Come and experience light and love and joy and peace face to face and hand in hand. Share moments. Find meaning. Celebrate life.
Christmas at West Bloomfield UCC:
December 11th: Blue Christmas service 6pm, The Christmas season is a time of communal joy and celebration. This is as it should be, but not at the expense of those among us who are grieving, despondent, and/or depressed. It can be an isolating and lonely time for our brothers and sisters who are hurting. This
will be a quietly reverent and tenderly comforting service created for those who are hurting emotionally. A simple soup and bread meal will be offered after the service for any who choose to stay.
December 18th: Christmas Pageant, “No Room at the Holyday Inn” & Hallelujah Chorus during 10am service. An engaging, modern adaption of the story of Christ’s birth followed by a stirring rendition of Handel’s masterpiece.
December 24th: Christmas Eve Services: 7pm Family Service & 11pm Quiet Communion Our early service is boisterous and celebratory. Our late service is quiet and reflective, concluding with candlelight singing and the ringing of the church bell at midnight.
Merry Christmas and Blessings for the Coming Year. Please remember those who are grieving amidst all the joy of the season. If that’s you, know that we are here for you.
Few things open up the Bible better than good, old-fashioned brain grease. I highly recommend serious study of the history of Biblical times, as well as training in the two primary languages of the Bible: Hebrew and Greek. It’ll get you thinking in wonderful new ways.
Here’s a quick example: The Greek word for worship is proskuneo, which is a fun term with which to play. Proskuneo, like many Greek words, is a compound word. It is made up of pros, meaning motion towards, and kuohn, which means dog. So worship = motion-towards-dog, where we are the dog approaching our beloved leader, and we have:
John 4:21-22: Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will motion-towards-dog the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You motion-towards-dog what you do not know; we motion-towards-dog what we know…
John 4:24: God is spirit, and those who motion-towards-dog God must motion-towards-dog God in spirit and truth. Continue reading Motion-Towards-Dog
“After a dozen years in parish ministry, I can tell you I am not interested in adding to the cultural noise…”
I initiated this blog with these words five full years ago. Today, after 17 years of parish ministry, they have never ringed truer for me.
This past Sunday (March 3, 2013), my first back from a reflective “stay-cation,” I preached a fairly long sermon titled “Maintain I Contact” which has garnered more response than any in recent memory. In the sermon, I spoke of noise, the incessant commercially and politically motivated promotion of anxiety, and an antidote to our “hamster wheel” existence. Continue reading The Hamster Wheel
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord,
from this time on and for evermore. – Psalm 131
Jumping into political discourse these days is a lot like painting the eaves of your house. You think you’ve got it all under control (if I can re-e-e-e-each out just a little bit mo-o-o-o-re), when suddenly you realize you are contorting yourself and over-extending beyond your center of gravity, reaching out into thin air high above the ground and far beyond what’s safe and reasonable. Continue reading Guns, Sex, Religion, 4th & Goal, Healthcare Reform
Meet Alice and Lola, who are here to explain in great depth and all seriousness my theology and ministerial philosophy as pastor of the altogether splendid West Bloomfield (N.Y.) United Church of Christ.
Guinea pigs are sweet, unassuming critters who have a preposterous way of showing delight: they popcorn. When they are really happy, they will repeatedly, spontaneously hop and turn. Watching a guinea pig popcorn is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Continue reading Weed Theology
Perhaps you’ve seen the recent reports regarding Harvard University Christian history professor Dr. Karen King, and her unveiling of a tiny piece of 4th century Coptic papyrus which quotes Jesus speaking of his wife.
Now these sorts of things pop up from time to time, and who knows if what they document is actual fact, or even precisely what the term “wife” may have meant for a first or fourth century itinerant rabbi. Still, I find it intriguing to consider the possibility of a Mrs. Jesus, not just for the Dan Brown-eque messianic bloodline, but for the woman herself, and for Jesus’ sake. Continue reading Mrs. Jesus H. Christ