Cherished Words

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Mother and Child - a scene from Amahl. Clara Pradeau as Amahl and Haley Dove Montoya as the Mother

When Luke tells of Jesus’ birth, Luke fills the story with visiting angels from heaven and visiting shepherds from hillside pastures. Both the angels and the shepherds want to explain to Mary what everything means. In response to all that she hears, Luke tells us that “Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) Those are among the most cherished words of scripture for me.

Advent gives us the opportunity — really the gift — to treasure all the words we hear, both spoken and sung, and to ponder them in our hearts. I am convinced that if we ponder these words enough we will begin to see that the ancient Christmas story is actually our very own story.

This Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent. Matt DeYoung, Ellen Headrick and Joey DeYoung will light the Advent Candle using a litany written by Fran and Rich Saxon. Historically the church has called this third Sunday of Advent the ‘Sunday of Joy’. The waiting is almost over. Christmas will be here soon. What a joy it is that God came into the world to show us exactly what God is like and exactly what we can be like. That’s something to celebrate!

This Sunday’s worship will feature a performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors. This beautiful story captures both the wonder of Christmas and the challenge of Christmas.

As Amahl’s mother considers stealing the king’s gold to support her child, she sings a beautiful aria. Here are the words:

All that gold! I wonder if rich people know what to do with their gold! Do they know how a child could be fed? Do rich people know? Do they know that a house can be kept warm all day with burning logs? Do rich people know? Do they know how to roast sweet corn on the fire? Do they know? Do they know how to fill a courtyard with doves? Do they know? …..Oh, what I could do for my child with that gold!

What can we do this Christmas with our gold and with our lives?

This week Connie Takamine offers us an Advent reflection on this week’s scripture reading – Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11. Barb Middleton shares a poem with us. I encourage you to spend some time with Connie and Barb’s thoughts, which are included below.

Please keep our beloved church in your prayers. I remember you in mine.

With love,
Pat

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Reflection on Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 – “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed….I the Lord love justice….the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”

In my youth I wrote and directed a Christmas pageant, The Littlest Star. It was a play about how God chose which star would shine over the manger in Bethlehem which was the littlest star. Isaiah 61 reminds us that God’s spirit is upon us to bring good news to the oppressed, for God loves justice. Every day seems to bring new turmoil and we are awaiting a little star to bring transformation. As United Methodists our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. During this advent, let us reflect how we can be change makers and open our hearts and minds to follow God’s requirement from Micah to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with our God.

by Connie Takamine

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Mountain Musings

How you stand so tall, so majestic, you gigantic rock-
covered this day white with snow.
New snow, white and glistening on your powder dusted trees.
We invade you mountain but you seem not to mind.
You put up with us, look down on us and see our folly.
How old you are, how young are we,
young, inexperienced at this living.
You allow us to experience you; mountain, trees, snow, rocks.
You perched among the clouds, into the blue sky -sun, rain, snow, wind-
you allow-perhaps that is what living is……allowing.

by Barbara Mowchan-Middleton