Christmas Meditation 2019

“In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’”    (Matthew 2:1-2, NRSV) When I was a young child, long before I had any good training in how to interpret the Bible stories I heard in church, I became something of an early mystic.   As I had heard the above scripture being read during worship services I became captivated by the thought of a star the “Christmas star.”   This captivation became even greater when we children were instructed in how to act out the story for our parish Christmas pageant.   How well I still remember wearing colorful bathrobes with shiny papier-mâché crowns on our heads.   My participation in the pageant continued to pique my curiosity about a unique star which led the “…wise men from the East…” to Bethlehem in search of the newborn king of the Jews.  

Fresh Expressions in five easy lessons

Are you curious about what Fresh Expressions means? Here are five easy lessons, with terrific examples, from Fresh Expressions US . Lesson 1: Start with Listening   Every Fresh Expression begins the same way: with listening to the community and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Begin by asking these questions: Who in my community is not connected to the church? How and where are they already gathering? To which group of people do I feel called? As we begin to hear our community’s answers to these questions, ideas for new fresh expressions will emerge.   Church in the Parking Lot A Culture of Beauty Shaped by People of Peace Lesson 2: Loving and Serving   Through your efforts of listening to your community, you've uncovered a niche group of people that need a new way to experience Church. Now, you move onto Loving and Serving. To start a fresh expression among our neighbors outside the church we must first get to know them. Focus on building meaningfu

Advent: Transitioning into the dark time of the year

By another name, transition is change.  The longer I live the more I recognize, and at times even accept, that living a balanced life is largely contingent upon how successfully I handle the transitions in my lives.   Ready or not, new events and occurrences happen in our lives and invite us to change. Transitions and changes occur when we move to a job or change positions; when we move to a new school or start a new grade; when children are born into our families and then grow up; when new friends appear and old friends leave; and when our Christian faith community leaders prepare to depart as new leaders prepare to arrive. As some of you know I had a Navy career that spanned about 30 years of active service. I just calculated that during that time I had 18 permanent changes of duty.  I wasn’t always ready, nor did I want all of those changes of duty.  Not too strangely, my readiness didn’t always seem to matter to the people who detailed me for those moves. The moves happened, tr