A New Epiphany

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We celebrated the Epiphany this Sunday. The feast of Epiphany was Saturday, January 6, but we observed this day as the completion of our Christmas time of worship. It was a blessing this day, as it was also our Communion Sunday. To celebrate the arrival of our savior, Jesus the babe in Bethlehem and remember the cost of Jesus the Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for all of humanity was a profound experience. That salvation was being remembered through the sharing in this sacred meal together.

We celebrated and remembered the reason for Christmas. Christmas season considers what it means for us to believe that God has come to us in great humility as a child who saves the whole world. By the time the end of the Christmas season arrives on the 12th day, we have moved on. The stores have put away the Christmas items and replaced them with Valentine’s Day and spring (Easter) items. For us, this Christmas is now a memory. Christ was born, the presents were given, and exchanges have been made. What is there left to say?

Epiphany answers that question. It celebrates the arrival of the wise men from the East. They have come to see the King and worship him. Epiphany means ” a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way” (Merriam-Webster.com).  Epiphany is a reminder to us that God comes to us among the lowest of the low with no kingly adornments or privileges. Jesus is born among the animals in a manger that has no provisions other than that for the animals. From this humble beginning, we have born to us a King of Kings!

 

To live out this season, we must ask ourselves how we can participate in the great work of sharing the news of the Jesus to the world. This word for us is the great epiphany of God’s gifts of wonder, love, and forgiveness. We go forth as witnesses to the light that shines brightly in our midst. At this time of the year, the words – God is with us and in us – become the reality of our world intersecting with the Holy. We can encounter God in ordinary life as much as in these times of blessings and places that we hold dear to our hearts. We have been waiting for an epiphany. We have been waiting to be inspired. The epiphany that we celebrate on January 6th is exactly what we have been waiting for. This is the beginning of the Magi’s revelation. This is the time that leads to Jesus Baptism and a time for us to begin our journey toward Christ’s ultimate gift for all of humanity. This is a time of Magi, gifts, shepherds, and angels that come in unexpected places. They also come in unexpected people as we see the light of Christ shining through others.

Will you be the one who shines so others can see a new light forming that could be the light of Christ in us? Each day can be a new awakening, a new beginning, and a new chance to love. What do we do to comfort those who are without, those who are hungry, homeless, without adequate clothing? How do we respond to the love that has been given to us? Do we share not only the good news of Jesus’ birth but, also the things that we can to lighten another’s burden?

This Star! This guiding star! Does it still guide you? When you are lost and cannot find your way, when you are alone, when you are losing hope – these are the times to look upward, to search for the guiding light to bring you home. Come home to the loving arms of Jesus. Nothing can keep you from the love that God has to bestow upon you. When you have found this ever-searching light, then you are able to share and bring others to this light, also.

Try to keep this Christmas miracle in your heart all year long! In This new year, we will encounter new opportunities for learning, witnessing, and serving others. May we find joy, inner peace, and satisfaction in the reassurance that God is with us. May we be encouraged to share this great news.

Blessings

 

 

 

 

 

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A Growing Church is a Dying Church

This is so relevant today in many small churches…

Hopping Hadrian's Wall

Whenever a congregation goes looking for a new pastor, the first question on their minds when the committee interviews a new candidate is: Will this pastor grow our church?

I’m going to go ahead and answer that question right now: No, she will not.

No amount of pastoral eloquence, organization, insightfulness, amicability, or charisma will take your congregation back to back to its glory days.

What then can your pastor do?  She can make your board meetings longer with prayer and Bible study.  She can mess with your sense of familiarity by changing the order of worship and the arrangement of the sanctuary.  She can play those strange new songs and forget about your favorite old hymns.  She can keep on playing those crusty old hymns instead of that hot new contemporary praise music.  She can bug you incessantly about more frequent celebration of Communion.  She can ignore your phone…

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Reflections of Time – Part 1

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”   1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)        

Our everyday, ordinary time is called Chronos Time. It is the time that consumes our life. We have to be on time. We cannot be late. Our calendars are so full that there is no more space to schedule anymore time for anything else. We have allowed time to take over our lives. Oh yes, it is important to keep appointments and meetings. What would happen if we were to take a step back to find out what is really important to us? Would our world stop turning if we slowed down? Could we be happy with less scheduled time? What if we lived with purpose guided by our inner being guided by the Holy Spirit? This is where we encounter Kairos Time. This is God’s time when the spirit is speaking to us to act. God’s time is not hurried or full of tension. These are times worth seeking out. With a little self-discipline, we can become aware on these moments in our live. This is where we will fulfill our purpose and gain a sense of peace in this world.  What is really important to you – family, friends, work, play, nature, values,or social justice?

Kairos and Chronos Time

Today is the second day of May. My first and last post was on June 5,2013. It has almost been a year. I have been giving a lot of thought to this Kairos and Chronos Time. I became critically ill overnight the 18th of June 2013. I came down with a viral pneumonia that had me in the intensive care unit in less than 24 hours of onset. During this time in the hospital I was in and out of awareness. I had some intense moments with God! (of this I will get the co
urage to write about someday!) I came home from the hospital the evening before the 4th of JUly. It was a log recuperation. It has taken me a long time to gather back my strength and energy.

I am finally back to myself. But, wait… I am better than my original self! I have become stronger in my faith and my commitment to continue in my studies  as a member in discernment to follow God’s calling! In all of this is God’s timing and my expectations of that timing.

This is what I am focusing on at the moment. I will be posting some on some of these thoughts about God’s time (Kairos Time) and my expectations of my time in the world. (Chronos Time) I look forward to conversations that will follow.

Many blessings on your day! LindaIMG_2161

1 Corinthians 2:10-13 “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and                                                                                    we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.”

The Journey

The Journey

Isaiah 6:8 (The Message)

And then I heard the voice of the Master:
    “Whom shall I send?
    Who will go for us?”
I spoke up,
    “I’ll go.
    Send me!”

It is appropriate that I received this daily devotional message today in my in-box. Today is the day that I felt compelled to post on this blog. We are all called but we do not always hear the invitation. It is very easy to dismiss the little voice that seems to be calling you. One day, though you will realize that the call will not go away… so, you must take action.

This is the day! This is the beginning of the journey.

I would love to here from others who are also on a journey. I hope to be able to give and get support from others along the way.

Looking forward to meeting you! Linda