Tiffany was traveling, so Will was the worship leader.
Will: "It's the holidays, and it's gonna be okay. I think it's gonna be okay."
He said this Sunday is a weird Sunday 'cause is this Thanksgiving Sunday? is next Sunday Thanksgiving Sunday? He said that as the bulletin notes, it's the Twenty Fifth Sunday After Pentecost, and that it's hard to get excited about that. He said he feels like this time of year we're "so done with ordinary time" that we're reaching for things to celebrate -- All Saints' Day, Reformation Sunday, Thanksgiving Sunday. He continued, "In some churches, next Sunday is 'Christ the King' Sunday -- as if we needed a special Sunday to celebrate patriarchy. Of course here at Cambridge Welcoming, next week we're celebrating 'Christ Miss Thing' Sunday."
[Later in the week, sangerin posted about looking forward to Christ the King Sunday because of all the stuff going on in Australian politics. I thought this was a useful counterpoint. Personally I don't have a problem with the concept of Christ the King, since I interpret it as above and in contrast to earthly notions of kingship, though I recognize that sermons about it could easily glorify hierarchical structures of domination.]
On holidays sometimes you give gifts, and prayer is a gift to God.
Will asked me to do the Scripture reading -- Isaiah 65:17-25
Tallessyn said, "If I were really on top of things, I would have used the hymn Trelawney wrote for that Scripture."
They did "Bringing in the Sheaves," which Tallessyn said she didn't know why it was taken out of the hymnal, maybe it wasn't cool enough, but now it's retro ;)
As Will got up to begin he noticed Tallessyn was snacking on some bread and said she was "cheating on Jesus." I just about died laughing.
He opened by talking about giving a toast vs. saying grace and how when he was young his impression of the former was positive and the latter negative, but where he currently is on his spiritual journey it almost pains him now to paint an image of saying grace as boring and something he doesn't want to be a part of.
He said that God must love Thanksgiving -- not because God needs an ego stroke but because the world is blessed by opening itself to gratitude.
"The Pilgrims weren't Methodist. Only Calvinists would think: 'Hey, I just thought of something: God is good; and we should say thanks.' "
He said that someone once told him that: God's primary gesture to us is blessing we call grace, and the only proper response and return on our part is thanksgiving.
He wrapped up with a "desperate" attempt to being it back to the lectionary reading and pointed to the "like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be" but and asked what "days like a tree" might mean and suggested: bearing fruit, changing leaves.
Trey mentioned that President Bush has given permission for aerial gunning etc. against gray wolves, even though they're actively on the Endangered Species list. Tallessyn said, "we've forgotten how to co-exist with natural predators, other than ourselves." I always feel uncomfortable around this stuff but not actually articulate enough to say anything.
Trevanna lifted up Trey in prayer: he's a student at Union College, some years older than all the other freshmen, and he sometimes feels like a bitter old man. When Will did all the prayers together he thanked God for Trey, "for his wisdom that may seem like bitterness, for his youth and his maturity."
As usual, our Communion Hymn was "Come Out the Wilderness," which words I can't actually find online but which I like.
Closing Hymn: "Oh What Their Joy and Their Glory Must Be," which tune I liked
In the Announcements, Caroling got talked about, and it was mentioned that nursing homes are practically overwhelmed by carolers in December. Tallessyn said, "We should go Thanksgiving caroling, All Saints Day caroling..."
There was also talk about the Hanging of the Greens. Will said that always used to be weird when he was a kid (his last name is Green).
It was pointed out that we share space with another group which may not necessarily celebrate Christmas.
Eric quipped(?), "You don't have to celebrate Christmas -- you just have to celebrate pines."
And someone else pointed out that we do have a cross up, and that never gets moved.
Tallessyn talked about coming up with a theme for Advent, some sort of social justice issue (apparently last year they watched An Inconvenient Truth and had an eco-justice theme), said she wanted to change the world.
I sighed silently. (Partly I have a touchy relationship with liberal activism, and partly I prefer to observe Advent by focusing on preparing my heart rather than on external world-changing.)
Technically the Sunday right before Christmas is still part of Advent, but lots of churches celebrate it as Christmas Sunday, and talking about what we wanted to do this year. She also suggested moving to the chapel for Advent, and there was talk about the pros and cons of having church in a space that feels like "real" church, since CWM particularly ministers to people many of whom have been hurt by traditional church -- with people pointing out that there can be real value in reclaiming traditional church spaces and making them welcoming spaces for people who have been hurt by The Church in the past. (Someone said they'd been to church so many places, including outside, that they had no preference.)
It was agreed that people would talk to Tiffany about this before making a decision so it wouldn't be like, "Hey Tiffany, while you were gone, guess what, we had a coup."
When I left, Will said: "See you next Sunday. Which is Christmas Sunday, right?"
I replied: "In the sanctuary. Or a national park. There was a coup, right?"