Sunday, December 28, 2014

Song for Sunday: See this Tiny Baby

It's the third day of Christmas and also a Sunday. The Sunday after Christmas is a low-attendance Sunday at many churches. It's too bad, because it is a great time to be at church. The exuberant joy of Christmas Sunday and the solemn joy of Christmas Eve have given way to a relaxed joy and people are friendly and welcoming.  Advent is over, Christmas has come. There is still the wonder of Christmas carols and the special decorations aren't down yet. It's fun to be there. Try it next year.

I love babies. Everyone who knows me, knows that. So I enjoyed the choir anthem last week, a new one for me. This one about Jesus, in his mother's arms. The King of the Universe, helpless and cared for by a teenage girl and her carpenter husband.

It's a beautiful song, inviting us to look at the baby. And who doesn't like to look at a baby?

Enjoy the song!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sing for Sunday: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Do You Hear What I Hear?  A Christmas classic with both haunting and bright elements. The bell choir at our church played it this morning. It goes like this on the handbells:

(Handbell Choir of Grace Bible Church)

The words that catch me today are those of the last verse: "Pray for peace people everywhere!"

Let's do that!

(Third Day singing "Do You Hear What I Hear?")

Merry Christmas 
And may the blessings of our Savior be yours!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Song for Sunday: Ebony and Ivory

Black lives matter.

That statment should be so self-evident that it doesn't need to be said, but that is not the case in our hurting and broken world.  I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to comment on any specific case, but the overall picture is one of separation, fear and hostility. It's not supposed to be that way.

Today is the third Sunday in Advent and has also been declared "Black Lives Matter Sunday" by some churches and denominations:

Rev. Debora Jackson of the American Baptist Minister's Council says this on the Council's Facebook page

I want to share this note that churches are coming together to participate in "Black Lives Matter" Sunday on this Sunday, December 14....It seems so appropriate on this 3rd Sunday of Advent that our somber spirits would be lifted through solidarity. We pray that our "purple" of mourning could be turned to the "rose" of joy, united as the body of Christ to proclaim the good news, to release the captives, to help others see, and to liberate the oppressed. Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." I encourage you to acknowledge this coming together in your houses of worship. We as people of faith are called to lead. As Executive Minister Dwight Stinnett noted in his update from the Great Rivers Region meeting with pastors in St. Louis, "...We are in for the long haul and not for the media moment."

Back in 1982, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney sang a song begging for racial harmony. The lyrics are simple but it was a major hit when it first came out. McCartney wrote the song,  planning from the beginning to peform it with Stevie Wonder, a musician he greatly admired.

McCartney had seen a skit in which English Comedian Spike Milligan tried to play a song on a piano with the black and white keys separated...which of course didn't work. He got the idea for the song there.

The songs simple plea for all of us to live together in harmony resonates today. May it be our prayer as well.

God bless!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Creche: 2014 Edition

It's Advent and I have just passed the fourth anniversary of this blog. I am in something of a re-start mode just now as I had an unplanned hiatus for a few months.

The very first blog post I wrote was about our Advent tradition of Jordan setting up the creche on his own. I have written about the tradition two other times as well.

Jordan's Strange Creche
A Broken World ... Seeking Peace
Jordan's Creche for this Year


This year Jordan said he was going for
something bizarre. I told him unusual
 was fine, chaotic was not. This is what he
came up with. Notice you are looking at the
back of the stable.

On either side, animals are grazing or resting.

The full effect is different, but peaceful. I like it. It reminds us that we don't know what that first Christmas really looked like.

A blessed advent to you and yours! May the hope of Christ be realized in your home.

What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Photos (and Creche set-up) by J. Parry

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Song for Sunday: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

It's Advent.

I did go Christmas caroling with church folk to church folk today. That notwithstanding we aren't really using Christmas music in worship yet, though.

Here's a good explanation:

Advent Thoughts

Meanwhile, this hymn was used three times in our worship service this morning, It was rung by the bell choir, played by the organ as an offertory and sung by the congregation.

It is a moving advent hymn with a deep message. Good lyrics to give attention to. May it be a blessing for you as you listen.

A blessed advent to you.