Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

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Advent 3: Joy

I feel like I got cheated out of my Sunday of Joy.  Laura Ruth preached on spiritual purpose [John 1:6-8, 19-28] and Tiffany preached on wilderness [Mark 1:1-8].

***

"Joy Sadhana is a daily practice in the observation of joy."
-mylittleredgirl [more info]


"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
--Anne Lamott


Five good things about today:
1. Even when bits of the service make me cranky or uncomfortable, First Church Somerville UCC is a really comfortable and generally happy place to be.
2. Ari made me giggle.
3. CWM, also, effortlessly feels like home.  Worship service wasn't anything to write home about, but it was like that didn't matter.
4. Pumpkin risotto and mac&cheese for dinner at CWM.
5. Having people I can emo-dump on/soundingboard at.  Particularly people who know the history and just get it.

Three things I did well today:
1-3. I did laundry and washed dishes and swept the kitchen floor (and brought the recycling bin into the front alcove so the last remains of ice could melt and we could actually use it again).

Two things I am looking forward to (doing [better]) tomorrow:
["anything that you're looking forward to, that means you're facing tomorrow with joy, not trepidation," as Ari says]
1. Sarah Connor Chronicles!
2. Getting to hear from Katie how the Slutcracker was.  (Can you believe that she went and I didn't?)

***

The First Congregational Church of Somerville

So, about 10am, the Prelude begins.  And then the folks doing the Lighting of the Advent Candle go up and we all sing two verses (plus refrain after each one) of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and then they say stuff and light the candle and we all sing the refrain and THEN is the Call to Worship and Welcome.  This seems so awkward to me, and the hymn wasn't actually asterisked for "Please stand as you are able" and I saw Macha (who's blind) in a pew and with a congregation of this size it's not hard to hear everyone getting up, but _I_ felt really awkward not quite knowing when I was supposed to stand for the hymn so I feel like it must have been so much worse for her.

Unison Prayer of Confession
    Loving God, we confess that we don't know very much about your light.  We confess that we are often too occupied to care -- preoccupied by plastic light we generate with new things, old grudges, and the stuff in our closets.  We confess that we complexify the simplicity of living in your light.
    Be a lamp for our feet as we walk our journeys into your light, we pray.  Teach us the pleasure of using our spiritual gifts.  Give us courage to step into our purpose.  Replace our fear, disguised as indifference, with love.  Forgive us when we fail., Forgive us when we forget, when we get tired, when we are cranky.  Remember, you created us.  We are not gods, but humans who long for you.

Sermon: "Room In the Inn: Spiritual Purpose"
    Laura Ruth talked about how we can be attentive to our Spiritual Purpose by practicing our Spiritual Gifts.  She said: stay away from what dims your light; it will light up someone else.

After her sermon, she said something like, "Please rise and join us in singing hymn number 217," and I thought, "Yes!  Am I wrong in thinking that was probably because of me?"

At the receiving line, Laura Ruth said, "Did you notice I announced the hymn?"  I said, "Yes!  I was all excited and wondered if that was because of me.  I remembered on Saturday that you were giving the sermon today and so I wasn't gonna get an email response any time soon -- which is fine."  [I emailed her Friday morning, because after discussions with Ari and Adelheid I was curious as to her stance, though I think at Rest and Bread I told her about my conversation with Keith.]  She said, "I read your email, and was intrigued, but I don't remember what it was about."  I said, "Oh, it was just about directive worship."  She nodded as if remembering and said something like, "I think anything we can do to make it more welcoming is a good thing."  I said, "I figured that would be your stance."  (At Rest and Bread, my critiques at the very beginning were most all along the lines of "You should be clearer as to what's happening" and she was really responsive to that and seemed totally on board with that sort of concern, and at the beginning of service she always says, "In this community it's important that we know each other's names, because we serve communion to each other, from left to right, so let's go around and say our names," and anytime Macha and/or Al [who are blind] are present she describes the set up of the room -- and yes, that service is aimed more at reaching out to and drawing in the community than regular Sunday service is, but still.)

From the Announcements:

They're doing the Advent Outreach Table again this Thurs. Dec. 18 from 5-7pm.  (They were rained out this past Thursday.)

Interfaith Winter Solstice Celebration -- Join Rev. Kerrie Harthan, fab flutist Elke Jahns, some friends of Kerrie's from the Cambridge Mosque, and others on Sunday, December 21st at the meadow abutting the bike path behind the Alewife T garage for the sixth annual Friends of Alewife Reservation Interfaith Winter Solstice Celebration.  The celebration is from 2:00 - 3:00 pm, followed by a tracking walk with wildlife tracker Dave Brown at 3pm.  We'll make the longest night, the coming of the light, and pray that this urban forest continues its long history of sustaining Boston's Common Good.  If you'd like to be a part of the service or have questions, call Kerrie at [phone number redacted].

First Church Winter Solstice/Merriment/Glögg Party -- You're invited to a First Church Somerville winter solstice/merriment/Glögg Party at the home of Kerrie [surname redacted] and Gloria [surname redacted] on Monday, December 22nd at <time?> [ed. note: I think the flyers I saw during Coffee Hour -- Tara or someone commented it was like being back in college, and Meghan said there should be table tents -- said 5:30-7:30; and SCC will be on midseason break at that point].  Solstice is the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year.  We'll sing, light candles, and celebrate the light and the dark, for both have much to teach.  For more information, contact Kerrie at [phone number redacted].
Tags: church: somerville: first church ucc, joy sadhana, liturgy: directive worship, planning ahead, spiritual gifts
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