There's nothing more comforting than routine, especially for children. And really... isn't this true for us all? We wake up and expect the newspaper to be in the lawn, double-bagged so that the dew hasn't ruined our morning reading. We start our cars, expecting them to run. We go to work, anticipating the tasks ahead. We eat lunch. We fight taking a nap. We count down the hours, and then leave in our dutiful vehicles, headed to our homes, which should be waiting for us when we arrive. All life inside should have stories to tell and hungry bellies to fill. Dinner is prepared. Sleep comes. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
According to ancient Greek mythology, a curious woman named Pandora once opened a box. Inside that box, sealed tight until her curiosity cracked the seal, were confined all the evils of the world. As Pandora's prying fingers pulled back the lid, those evils came pouring out to visit their destruction on the Earth.
But something else came out of that box too. The only good among all the evil, hope was the last thing to emerge and it remains to this day humankind's sole comfort in misfortune. Hope, that singular blessing, was a tiny wraith among so many other forces and a fragile thing indeed. But hope also dies last, I'm told, enduring longer than the rest. After everything else has spent its energy and seeped away, hope is the one thing that remains for the living to hold on to. There is a photograph I have that proves it--proves to me, once and for all, that hope dies last.
It's a liturgical white elephant party! You know how you have these great worship ideas that, for one reason or another, just aren't going to happen in your church? (Or, maybe they will happen in your church, but you just want to share?) Well, here's a collection of Christmas-y ideas from other young clergy women. Maybe you are still looking for the perfect little thing to add to Christmas 2009, or maybe you'll file this away for next year. But we're sure there's something here for everyone. (And feel free to leave other white elephant ideas in the comments.)
Ours is a faith of paradox.
The first is actually the last, and last place becomes first. Giving away brings wealth, while storing up leaves emptiness. Tiny David defeats gigantic Goliath, shy Moses persuades powerful Pharoah. To violence we’re called to turn the other cheek, to transgressions forgive and love. Strength blossoms from vulnerability, resurrection springs from death The savior is a teeny tiny baby, and redemption comes from naming our brokenness. Magnificent? Maybe. Maddening and mysterious? As we say in Texas: You bet.
Somewhere in the midst of my insane Advent busyness, their various work and relational situations, and all of our winter hibernation modes, several of my friends and I managed to find an evening to hit the town for Girls’ Night. Dressed to the nines and well into our third bottle of wine, we were exhibiting enough holiday cheer to attract a fair amount of attention from the male patrons. I was soon engaged in lively small talk with one man who seemed to have potential for fun conversation if nothing else. That is, until we hit The Question that is always asked by young professionals in social situations, The Question dreaded by married and single clergy alike, The Question that does not merit capitalization for the vast majority of the population:
“So, what do you do for a living?”
December has rolled around again, that month when the installed pastor is equal parts giddy over the imminent celebration and counting the hours until some post-Christmas hibernation. When the regular pastor takes a few days off to spend time with loved ones or make dents in her favorite recliner, that’s when the supply preacher steps in. If you’re looking to grace a vacant pulpit after Christmas or anytime, here are a few insider tips:
In the places that we serve, we are aware of the shift that Advent brings. Not only does it shift our awareness toward planning worship services, bazaars and bake sales, but also highlights our awareness of where God’s light needs to shine this season.
As we wait for God to tear open the heavens and come down, the Board of Fidelia’s Sisters offers you the gift of song. Amid economic woes and falling snow, we hope that these musical blessings might break into your world with a new experience of Christmas.