December 21st, 2008


[UCC] Fourth Sunday of Advent [2008-12-21]

Email from Molly to the listserv today (7:17am):
In spite of the snow, Beloved, our choirs will gamely forge ahead with cantata and worship as planned.

Remember last year's festivities? We were 60 or more strong, and that was with ice and driving winds in addition to snow. It was a lovely, secret and powerful feeling to be huddled together, hoping, in our little nest of a sanctuary while the storm raged outside. Perhaps you want to do it again.

We promise warmth, good food (cheese strata, black bean soup, fruit salad and cookies), and cheers for everyone who walks through door.

Of course, if it is not safe for you to come, please stay home. We will miss you. Travelling mercies to all those trying to get out of town in the next few days...

The flurrying was bigger than yesterday (actual flakes), I think because it was hovering around freezing rather than being down in the teens.  My walk to church was fine.  As I was tromping, I thought of Jess at group on Thursday saying how she had totally been on a break from exercising while she was on vacation in Cabo, except for walking on the sand, which admittedly is good for your calves.

(My walk home was fine, too.  There were plenty more times the snow was deeper than I anticipated, but my jeans never really got soggy -- even when I tripped into a snowbank crossing a street once.  As I neared home, it was getting a little difficult to see out of my glasses, but that was really the biggest problem.)

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Edit: I forgot that I'd wanted to c&p this bit from the back of the bulletin [full-text found on PDF]. I hang out with Methodists, so I was like, "Hey, I know this idea!" and I wanted to show it to Tiffany. Collapse )

[CWM] Fourth Sunday of Advent: Journeying Through the Wild Promise of Creation [2008-12-21]

E-mail from Tiffany today (12:47pm):
Subject: Worship This Evening: Stay Safe

Friends at CWM,

Due to the weather and reports of ice this evening, we are asking folks not to drive to church this evening. Pastor Tiffany will be there along some local folks. A small worship will be held and dinner available for those who may not get this message.

However, given the dangerous evening conditions, we are suggesting that folks stay home and stay safe.

For those who wish to worship at home, the bulletin is attached.


When I left my house around 4:30, and the snow had mostly stopped (and lots of nearby neighbors had snowblowed!) and it was like bluish light on the snow, which was really lovely, though halfway there it turned into more like rain.  On the way home it was back to snow (misting), which I was glad of.  I think the bottoms of my pants iced.  I did a lot of tromping through snow (Tufts adjacent didn't seem to really get cleared today), which I really didn't mind -- though hey, solid ground feels so nice after tromping through snow.  Walking home it had that satisfying crunching noise.  There was almost no traffic both times, and coming home I felt really exposed crossing Boston Ave. 'cause I was crossing way more in the intersection than I usually would (because there was no point in walking along the edge of the sidewalk into Boston Ave. to cross in the crosswalk and then walking along the edge of the sidewalk back to College Ave. when I could just cross in a straight line and there was no traffic to worry about); partway across, a Tufts police van came slowly towards me (I was walking in what would be my lefthand lane because that's the side of the street my origin and destination were both on); I felt like I was in a zombie/apocalypse movie or something.

Tiffany (obviously) and Marla (lay-leader-in-town) and Sean (member of the Collective, so came with Marla) and Mark (I think he lives off the bike path) were at church.  We brought in a few chairs so we could just do a semi-circle in the chapel rather than sitting dispersed in the pews.  I was like, "But we're facing away from the altar, this is weird -- sorry, I'm not trying to be difficult ... I just do it without trying."  So I moved the chair I was gonna sit in and we adjust so then it was a semi-circle facing the altar and I felt much better.


Scripture: Luke 1:26-56 [Annunciation and Magnificat]

Tiffany talked about how it's easy for us to get hung up on all the plausibility issues of the "virgin birth" narrative, but that Mary's hymn doesn't say anything about the conception, rather what she believes in is the promise -- and that that's what we should be focused on.  She talked about how Mary sees herself as co-creator of the promise, not just heir to the promise.
She said we should believe in not what we think is possible but what God tells us is possible.
She had opened with a story of herself at 5, wanting a baby brother, and absolutely believing that God/Santa could make this happen (after all, God had given Mary a baby) and when she got a baby doll for Christmas she wasn't disappointed because she believed she would still get her Christmas wish.  On Epiphany, a relative's 14-year-old drug addict daughter gave birth to a baby, and they wanted to give the baby up for adoption, but to family, so they called Tiffany's family, and Tiffany's parents bundled her up and brought her across town to the bad part of town, and there in an apartment with no electricity and a mattress on the floor, "there I found my Christmas wish."  I could have cried -- not because her child-like belief/hope was fulfilled (she acknowledged that not all stories end like that) but the echo of the First Christmas.

Tiffany's been doing Prayers of the People such that after everyone's said all their prayers, instead of her listing them all, we say each other's -- which makes it feel like more of a community activity, plus it forces us to be more engaged with the prayers of others.
I had said that I was really excited about Ari coming to visit, and Marla said "Ari and Elizabeth!" and kind of giggled.  I immediately thought of Ari's tag :)

We were out of there at 6:15, which has got to be the earliest I have ever left CWM.

Mark recommends Let the Right One In; good to know.
light in the darkness

First Night of Hannukah

Kita wrote, "Someone asked me when Hannukah was this actually begins on Solstice, which I find very symmetrically pleasing. The return of the Lights."

TBQ wrote: "Happy Winter Solstice and Happy Chanukah to those who celebrate. And frankly to those who don't since hey: return of light AND fried foods. How is there any wrong to be found there? I ask you. There's none. You can't find it. Don't even try.You'll fail and then we'll all make fun of you. While we eat donuts. That we can see. So there."

When I saw Laura Ruth on Thursday, she said good things about the Longest Night service (which had happened that Tuesday), specifically mentioning Tiffany.  I said I had considered going, but hadn't in part because I don't have grief around December so while it's not like I need an excuse to go to church, I'm not really the target audience for that service.  When I told Tiffany after service today that Laura Ruth had said good things about the Longest Night service, she said it was a really beautiful service (like moreseo than in past years), which made me a little regretful that I hadn't gone.  (But Monday and Tuesday had been crazybusy days, with Tuesday having bonus stress, and I wasn't really moved by last year's service, so it seemed a better choice to just stay home that evening.)

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