November 27, 2016 - January 15, 2017.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -- by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

 

20th-century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. God chooses people as God’s instruments and performs God’s wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; God loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.” Advent is a season in which we anticipate the incarnation of God, present in the world in the coming of the Christ. When we are confused … humble … broken … what might it mean, to celebrate that the God of the universe was -- and is -- seen in the lowliness of a baby, a poor family, confused and scared and faithful people, just like us?

Journey logo on dark blue background with white stylized Christmas tree

Lowliness

We wait in hope. But we feel powerless and low and confused. Why isn't God fixing things? And if Jesus says to poor oppressed people that it is a blessing to be humble? I need help understanding. How long, O Lord? 

Waiting in Confusion

We feel confused, and that leads to fear and anger and hesitation. It's normal. It's understandable. It's real. The Nativity story says that we're not the first people to feel that — and that sometimes the thing to do is say, "Okay, angel, this makes no sense, but I'm here, and I will do what is next." Sometimes that's how the beautiful thing gets born. 

Expectantly Trusting

I forget that a bunch of things I hoped for and asked for have already come true; I'm too busy thinking about what God hasn't given me yet or done for me yet. I also forget that sometimes the things that come true are way better than — or fuller than — or just more mature than what I had hoped, asked, prayed, longed for. Let's dig into the story of Elizabeth and see what we experience together.

God Joins Us

In our lowliness, in the mud and the crap and the tears, in the joy, in the worry, in the just human-ness — that’s where, the angels say, God is found — in the common people, in humility. Wonder why we feel far from God when most of what we do is about NOT being real or honest or open? Bingo. Come be with the shepherds and the angels and each other. 

God the Baby, with Us

Beauty Peace Laughter Candles Sharing

I Must Be about My Work

A baby dedication; Jesus the Precocious; what is God's Work through you; and a carol — why not?

Epiphany: The Gift Revealed... and Shared

Epiphany is an old observance in Christian traditions all over the world: the wise men come and see what God is doing in Jesus; Jesus is baptized and God affirms what God is doing in Jesus; Jesus does his first miracle and the power is out and can't be put back in. It's about revealing ... and then, about being given the gift of God's presence with us, which we then take with us into the world. This week, we’ll learn a little history, and sit with the magi as they discover what they were hoping to find — which is just like all of us — and also see how receiving and seeing lead to giving and sharing. 

Exhale

As an ending to our Advent/Christmas/Epiphany series and a transition to our next series, we're taking a moment to breathe. As we approach an inauguration, and school ramping back up, and everyone getting back in the swing of "real life," let's get together and remind each other that, as Psalm 46 promises, we don't have to be God because the job is already taken.