Thursday, December 31, 2009

All is Calm, All is Bright

While one might not think that eight back-to-back worship services lend themselves to thoughts of things being CALM, the many opportunities to worship, sing, and share joy with my faith community certainly allowed the true spirit of Christmas to be BRIGHT!

The wonderful days of worship began with the (thankfully) indoor Nativity Scene, complete with costumed children, winged angels, and the obligatory head-dressed wisemen and shepherds. While I was sad not to see the live sheep this year (too baaaad it was freezing outside), I was grateful to share in the glee of the children who eagerly took part in this traditional reenactment.

“Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room”

(Pastor Ronald T. Glusenkamp, 3 and 5 pm, Christmas Eve)

"Celebration, Proclamation, Invitation, Participation and REVELATION! Joseph the husband of Mary was a AAA adult; authentic, affirming and available. That is what you and I are called to reveal to each other, to our family, to our community, to our world. As we rejoice in this CELEBRATION we are called to Let every heart" - PREPARE HIM ROOM!" AMEN, Let’s sing!"

"The Glory of the Lord"

(Pastor Ruth Ann Loughry, 7 and 9 pm, Christmas Eve)

"When God is present to humans, we praise God by giving God glory. Whether you believe it to your very core, believe it could have happened, or aren’t very sure and just want to listen to the story, I believe that God is here tonight. The glory of the Lord shines in this place tonight. Christmas is all about God’s initiative in coming to earth to be in relationship with us. Nothing – and I mean nothing can switch off the light of Jesus Christ. The light has come and it will never depart."

“And Heaven and Nature Sing”

(Pastor Ronald T. Glusenkamp, 11 pm, Christmas Eve)

"Tonight you come to be in this space and place. And we come with hopes and fears of all the years. We come with joy and also sorrow. We come with faith and also doubt. We come knowing that our worlds are not always “calm and bright.” And so we come with answers and also some questions. The other day we had a funeral here. Following the service here at church we went to Ft. Logan for the committal. As we were getting set to read the words of gathering and comfort, we were serenaded by a gaggle of geese. These honking heavenly hosts proclaimed a message that is echoed by heaven and nature, “let every heart prepare him room.” That is the meaning and message of tonight. May you and I reflect the light, love and grace of this holy child, born to save, born to save. Let’s sing."

Sweet baby Charlotte. While her parents finished up their Altar Guild tasks after our final service of the evening, it was just Charlotte and I, alone in the now-quiet Sanctuary. With a babe in my arms and the manger nearby, I was overwhelmed and comforted by the powerful connection to the child born so long ago. All was calm, all was bright!

A reminder of those people and relationships
that bring calm and brightness to our world.

“The Candles of Christmas”

(Pastor Carl Hansen, 6:30 am, Julotta Service)

"We came this morning while it was still dark, into this place filled with warmth and light, to share the greeting “God Jul” and to share in the family meal of Holy Communion, given to us for forgiveness, strength, and life. As we share that meal...may we be enabled to go forth this day and in the coming days as light and warmth return to our part of the world, sharing with others the peace, hope, joy, and love we have been given as children of God."

“A Christmas Conversation”

(Intern Caitlin Trussell, 10:30 am, Christmas Day)

"God is The Conversation - The Conversation who created the universe; The Conversation who put a baby in the manger who grew up to change the world. And as people of The Conversation we get to practice being people who change the world too! We are a Christmas people – born of The Conversation to serve the world as mangers who reveal Christ; even as we are saved by Christ in the comfort and fearlessness of his grace."

Let there be light. And candles. And Sarah leading the way, with bountiful flame-throwing, torch-bearing, 
blaze-burning fire to light the hundreds of votives filling the Sanctuary on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 
All was bright!

The time between the 6:30 am Julotta service and the 10:30 am Christmas Day service was a precious gift in and of itself. I found myself peacefully alone in the Sanctuary, surrounded not only by the Christmas decor, but the memories of the night before. Serving Holy Communion to hundreds of people. Physically handing them the host, and sharing that moment with each and every person. Incredible. Laughter in the pews with dear friends. Advent Candles extinguished and re-lit with hope. Music that swept through my soul. Sharing new songs with the people I loved. All was now calm.

“Roses, Remembering, Resurrection”

(Pastor Ruth Ann Loughry, 12:00 pm, Service of Remembrance)

"I invite you to feel the presence of the community, the strength of people grieving together. The promises you’ll hear of the resurrection. Our grief journey is unique and individual. Hold onto that which helps you heal in your grief journey. You need not explain it or have it be rational to anyone else but yourself. It might be roses, it might not. God also created us to be able to think about our loved ones face, eyes, words, laugh, spirit and we remember and know them once again. You won’t forget. Your heart, your spirit knows your loved one’s heart and spirit. They will remember."

"And whether your memories are hurtful or helpful, God and community can bring healing. The last word is resurrection. It’s not only the last word of my sermon, it is the last word! Resurrection came – new life happened. Roses. Remember. Resurrection. Let us this afternoon, experience all three, in Jesus name. Amen."


Charlie Tanner said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and commentary. Nicely done!

Catherine J said...

You truly have a gift for words. And a true gift for bringing out the joy in Charlotte!