One of the scriptures that we shared during the “Hanging of the Greens” service was John 1:23, in this passage, John the Baptist quotes the prophet Isaiah, and in so doing, adopts the prophet’s role of crying out in the wilderness to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
Isaiah and John’s proclamation and prophetic role is likewise one the church adopts in Advent; we too see our role as preparing room for Christ to once again come in peace, love, joy, and hope and to make the world and our lives new and whole. We do this through worship, songs and carols, service through projects like the Angel Tree or HOPE, gathering with friends in fellowship and study, and prayers that orient us to the enduring trust that God’s presence is near.
It’s important though to acknowledge that these practices are done—according to Isaiah and John—from the wilderness. Our trust, hope, peace, faith, love, light, joy, and every other gift is shared in the midst of realities that can feel harsh, challenging, and difficult. Even in a season of joy, the stress and pace of the season can feel like a heavy burden that we must bear alone. That feeling of loneliness is real for many even if it is also somewhat ironic, too. Because if we are all in the wilderness then none of us are actually alone in such places!
Still, we often need encouragement and help to see the fellowship that surrounds us on wilderness roads. We need guidance towards places of refreshment and renewal. We need permission to fill our own cups before filling another’s.
This coming Saturday, our workshop “You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup” seeks to impart that sort of encouragement, guidance, and permission. We’ll be facilitated by a health and pastoral care professional as we share our burdens and explore practices that can make for a lighter load. Join us from 10am-11:30am in the Fellowship Hall for this time together.
And look for other Advent Activities as well for further times to be together on the “Way of the Lord” which begins in the wilderness but continues on into a fullness of new life.
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
- In-Person/Livestream Worship: Yesterday we celebrated the Second Sunday of Advent with our “Hanging of the Greens” Service and Communion. As we adorned the sanctuary with our final green touches and Chrismons, we heard again the encouragement to walk through this season with peace: a presence of love even amid the conflict of the world. Thanks to all who helped us celebrate and those who were more “behind the scenes” on Friday and Saturday decorating the Fellowship hall and Breezeway and setting up the poinsettias and other greenery.
Those helping hands Friday-Sunday included: Allen and Sandra Hodge; Karen and Gary Lovering; Jane and Neal Knabe; Melissa Miley; Julie Tedder; Sandy Lee; Lucy Paradies; Kathy Henderson; Bettie Hamilton; Lisa Jackson; Megan, Nathan, and Abe Snapp, Rachel, Nate, and Ben Acton; Carrie Dixon Cash, Mike Koenig, Ken Summerville; David Pease; Roxanne Porter and granddaughter Skyler; Komivi Ekoule and Mauricio and Maria Contreras! And of course, the congregation and choir who sang and hung Chrismons!
See and share a recorded version of the service
*Masks are welcome but optional during in-person worship as we continue to contend with COVID and an emerging flu season. We also ask everyone to be still mindful of social distancing and respectful of the personal space of others even as we give thanks for being together.*
- Advent Activities Our calendar is full with Advent Activities! Please see our Facebook page, Newsletter, Church posters/flyers, and other media for what’s upcoming! You can also see the attached document giving you a sneak peek of the next 7-10 days of the season
- “Living Generously” Thanks be to God for the call to share Christ’s love and create deeper relationships through the giving of time, energy, and money. As of this writing, we have received over $187,000 in pledges, more than $8,00 than last year and we anticipate at least a few more pledges are yet to come in. Thanks to those who have already sent in pledge cards and those still discerning that possibility! If you would still like to offer a pledge, please send in a pledge card to the church office.
- REMINDER…FPCoG our 5th Saturday commitment for H.O.P.E is Saturday, December 31, 2022. Let us end 2022 by providing a “day of dignity” for the guests at H.O.P.E., a bountiful, nutritious meal to quell their hunger and the embrace of our compassion to give them the strength to face the day and the beginning of a new year. Another year where maybe it may not be status quo, but the courage to make changes in their lives. A New Year, renewed spirit, and hope for possibilities/opportunities yet to come.
- Wellness Ministry Updates!
- Wellness Walking Group is looking to go caroling on December 6. The group meets at Cadence Senior Living, 200 Minglewood Drive at 6:00pm. If you have any questions, contact the church office (919-772-0727). In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week
- On December 10, 10:00am-11:30am, we will hold a workshop entitled You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup. We’ll explore ways to take care of our mental health as we enter the hectic holiday season. Ruth Cooper, LCMHCA, will share some information and practical tips to help take care of ourselves during the holidays.
- Prayers for Peace: Our world continues to need prayers of word and deed for peace. As we in NC are especially aware, it is hurricane season. So our prayers for the world at this time are most notably with those impacted by Hurricane Fiona (particularly in Puerto Rico) as well as Hurricane Ian. Please continue to keep law enforcement and first responders in your prayers as well as those struggling with gun violence in too many places in our nation (including Raleigh, NC). Pray, too, for those for whom the holiday season can be heavy as they deal with loss in what is known as a “joyful” season.
Mike Koenig saysDecember 5, 2022 at 3:34 pm