"Time to go home by another way,
Home by another way.
You have to figure the gods saying play the odds,
And go home by another way.
-James Taylor, Home By Another Way
Call to Worship: "Sing We Now of Christmas" (which I liked)
God of all people and all places, like the magi we would journey into the presence of the Christ. There we would offer our gifts; before Christ, we would lay the realities of our lives, good and bad. We offer our joy and love and lighter, that we might know the holy dwelling in us; we relinquish our bitterness and hatred and worry, that we might be made whole once more; through the spirit of the living Christ. Amen.
Tiffany talked about how when she was a kid her mom was always telling her what to do, and asked the girls if their parents ever told them what to do and asked them how that made them feel. Dan (their father, who was sitting with them) volunteered "Loved." Tiffany talked about how when you get older you still have people telling you what to do and you have to learn to discern whom you should listen to. She said that God is always going to tell us the right thing to do even when we don't want to listen. Which is a statement I would have normally an aversion to 'cause hi, I never actually hear God when I pray. However, recently I've been trying to figure out what my sexual ethics are and why, and when I heard that I thought, "Yeah, I usually have a strong sense of how I think God would want me to act in any given situation, I just often stubbornly ignore that and act contrarily for a variety of reasons."
Special Music: "Home By Another Way" by James Taylor
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 2:1-12
Tiffany asked me if I would be wiling to read, and obv. I said yes. However, I was really bored by the reading. (But as we were saying goodbyes after dinner, Trevanna said she really liked my lay reading, that it sounded like I was really thinking about it, so yay for that.)
Tiffany talked about how she got GPS for Christmas and how great it is and how it tells you exactly what to do and how that can be really comforting sometimes -- to not have to make all the decisions and choices -- but of course it can also be dangerous.
She said that she worried that people might not have understood what she meant when she used the word "world" in her sermon last week. She said we're used to thinking of it as as sacred/secular, but she said she meant it in the Johannine sense -- the "global domination system." She talked about this guy Rui in Brazil; I forget if that phrase was his or not, but she talked about his understanding of that phrase -- boiled down to five points (which seemed largely redundant to me).
She talked about how at Cambridge Welcoming we usually avoid terms like "king" but that that word is all over the place in today's reading and that it's appropriate because it's about a struggle between systems of dominion.
She talked about how it's remarkable that the Gospel of Matthew was written with a very Jewish audience in mind and here the first people to pay homage to Jesus were pagan leaders from what is now Iran (she pointed out that we like to say "Persia"), said that like Simeon's prophecy last week of how this child will be "a light for revelation to the Gentiles" not just to the Gentiles, so too here we see non-Jews recognizing the child and paying homage to him.
She read an excerpt from W. H. Auden's "For the Time Being."
She talked about how we have to try to find "another way" (cf. James Taylor song) than the world's way.
[edited to add CWM blogspot and 7Villages posts of the sermon.]
Prayers of the People
Kirk mentioned bumping into an old friend and catching him up on all the important church gossip -- "our fifth anniversary, Trelawney's pregnant, Will's a blond."
Call to Prayer: "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (one verse)
Doxology ("What Child Is This," one verse)
Passing of the Peace
Hymn: "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
Closing Hymn: "Kinds and Queens of Orient Are" (yeah, another Tallessyn modification of a classic hymn)
We went to Mike's (eatery, not patron's abode) for fellowship dinner. Yum feta-spinach-artichoke pizza.