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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
A DO-IT-YOURSELF CHRISTMAS EVE EMERGENCY KIT Dear friends in Christ, My dad spent several weeks in a foxhole in the Ardennes with artillery shells exploding overhead snapping off the tops of pine trees, and sniper fire limiting mobility to a slither and crawl. So what’s a little snow and ice in the suburbs of Portland? Still … it feels like defeat to have to announce the cancellation of our Christmas Eve service tonight (and this after my boasting about how neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow nor hail could ever stop a pastor with chains). But the latest word, even with today’s melting, is that our church parking area and walkway are still inaccessible with seven inches of snow on a layer of ice. Although some are willing to brave it, many can’t and shouldn’t even think about trying, so I say stay warm and cozy and I promise we will worship together again soon … Easter? As a consolation I read that The Chronicles of Narnia is on TV tonight. Or you could try a church closer to home (just this once). Or if you’re desperate for a Christmas Eve sermon … call me up and I’ll lay one on you …or better yet come on over !!! Best of all -- create your own service: Sing ~ Shout ~ Laugh ~ Dance ~ Light Candles ~ Break Bread ~ Lift Your Glass in Gratitude and Wonder Here are a few of my favorite poems to get you going … INTO THIS SILENT NIGHT by Ann Weems Into this silent night as we make our weary way we know not where. just as night becomes its darkest and we cannot see our path, just then is when the angels rush in their hands full of stars. A SWADDLING GOD by Zach Kincaid In the old days, the sky roamed much closer. Legend speaks of people peeling it off and eating it for food. Its abundance created a peace in all corners of the earth because no one wanted for anything. But time eroded the gift into assumption, and assumption into ungrateful expectations. People began to plan and plot for ways to store it up and keep it only for themselves So the sky retreated into a far off place above the earth. As the sun dipped low the people saw the holes spread out, dotting the sky with light from somewhere beyond. Then they realized how large a canvass once covered them. Loneliness and uncertainty became commonplace. No one knew the intentions of heaven and few understood why she kept her distance. They didn’t suspect that the sky must parachute open in order for true sustenance to fall inside it. Years produced lines in the sand. But the earth finally bloomed. Wild orchards and lilies marked the fields with an array of color, hinting back to the sky’s magic still dripping down. And then it happened all over again. The mountains knelt into the valleys. The parachute descended. An unassuming daughter swaddled God underneath a sky ripped open to show a love unwavered from generations of guessing. Eternity reordered time, radiance put on skin, heaven walked the earth, and the kingdom of God … is now. Glory to God in the highest. His arms are long enough to embrace us still today. AMAZING PEACE by Maya Angelou Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters, Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air. The world is encouraged to come away from rancor, Come the way of friendship. It is the Glad Season. Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner. Flood waters recede into memory. Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us As we make our way to higher ground. Hope is born again in the faces of children It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets. Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things, Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors. In our joy, we think we hear a whisper. At first it is too soft. Then only half heard. We listen carefully as it gathers strength. We hear a sweetness. The word is Peace. It is loud now. It is louder. Louder than the explosions of bombs. We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence. It is what we have hungered for. Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace. A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies. Security for our beloveds and their beloveds. We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas. We beckon this good season to wait a while with us. We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come. Peace -- come and fill us and our world with your majesty. We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian, Implore you, to stay a while with us. So we may learn by your shimmering light How to look beyond complexion and see community It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time. And finally this. A young girl was so afraid to sleep every night she kept calling for her mother to come and finally her mother said, “Just let go and try to sleep because you know that God will be with you all through the night until the morning comes.” The girl replied, “Yes I know, but I need someone with skin on.” For me, Jesus is God with skin on. In Jesus we see divine love in a human face with eyes of compassion and sorrow and joy and welcome. Emmanuel ~ God With Us Merry Christmas

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Kairos-Milwaukie UCC Blog

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary by Rev. Rick Skidmore and Rev. Jim Ogden.

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