An historic peace church in the heart of Elgin

All Things New…

notes from Pastor Katie ~ December, 2018

#DoNotBeAfraid

I was talking with my spouse, Parker, one evening, sitting on a porch in the woods, wondering what to do next with our lives. We felt oddly nudged to make a big change, yet we were unsure where God was leading us. Suddenly, overhead flew two barred owls who alighted on a branch not twenty-five yards away. Though we had been hearing the owls for some time, we had never seen them before up close. They stayed and stayed, preening each other and seemingly enjoying the twilight before they finally flew off together. When they left we both felt more sure what we were being called toward in the days and months to come. I'm not saying those big, feathery creatures were angels, but for us they were winged messengers of a sort. 

Have you ever received an important message? How did it come? Was it mailed first class? Did it fall out of a book? Was it a strange yet strong feeling you had but couldn't quite explain? Was it part of a #hashtag? Or, did it come from a trusted teacher or friend? 

Stories of the birth of Jesus from both Luke and Matthew include angelic messengers who may well be comfortable in the world of the tech savvy with their concise, direct messages. Yet, they also show up in their awe-inspiring presence to the extent that their first words to the humans to whom they are sent are usually "Do not be afraid." 

If we needed to hear a word from an angel, how would they come to us? What would they have to say? How may we become our own kind of messengers today? Perhaps we will not receive the power of teleportation, flight, or blinding appearance. But how may we be messengers of hope, peace, joy, and love--the good news of Christ's birth? How may we live out the angels' message: "Do not be afraid?" This December's Advent series, "Angels Among Us," invites us to do just that.      

Many hands and hearts have been hard at work since August reflecting on these messages, wondering and praying over what kind of Advent this might be. Beginning with some lovely liturgy and theme ideas from Dr. Marcia McFee, our Worship Life Team and friends have asked and imagined what do angels look like? Do we believe in them or not? What songs about angels move us? How can children be both senders and hearers of the message? What helps us draw closer, understand better, and experience more fully the waiting wonder of Advent as we prepare again for the glorious goodness of Christ's birth? 

To start each of our Advent worships, the young and young at heart will be invited to process in with the candle of hope, peace, joy, or love to hang Chrismons on the tree in the chancel. For the first three weeks of Advent, the children and youth will portray the scripture message, and the youth choir will sing. On the second Sunday of Advent, peace Sunday, the children's choir will sing too. Throughout our worship services our adult choir and service musicians will bring their meaningful offerings of music, as we gather to listen for the holy message of Christ's birth to be renewed in our own hearts and in our world.    

If you are looking for a special invitation to join us this season, look no further. This is it. Whether it comes to you in print, over the interwebs, or in the warm words of a friend, consider yourself invited to participate in the waiting and the wonder. If you could use a little more hope, more peace, more joy, or more love, come gather with us in the presence of the Holy. If fear is holding you back or you think our world has a little too much fear to go around, come gather with us to listen for the message of the angels: "Do not be afraid." May we all go forth with Christ's holy, sustaining song in our hearts and ringing out through the  communities in which we live.  

Announcements

Sunday worship service  9:30 a.m.

Fellowship time   10:30 a.m.

Sunday School  11:00 a.m. Classes resume September 16 for 2018-19.

Wednesday Morning Bible Study 10 a.m. each week. We will study the scripture text that will be used for our worship service the following Sunday. Join us for a spirited, open discussion.