#magi & #cupcakes

Instead of doing the Kings at the end of Epiphany, we are joining them at the beginning of their journey this year.

I’m going with the idea that the wise men saw the star and actually made it to Bethlehem when Jesus was a baby (there is an idea floating 0ut there that the “three kings” came later, when Jesus was a toddler).

stars

This is an interesting story to be included in the narrative. We are given even less specifics than usual.

Some Magi, more than one, maybe men, maybe women, saw a star and traveled to find a baby in the manger. If they really began their journey in time to see Jesus as a baby, then they were the first ones to hear about Jesus (besides Mary and Joseph and Elizabeth)…weren’t Jewish, they weren’t even local. They were probably African.

The message then, is clear that Jesus has come for all people, for the different ones.

And I, for one, am amazed that this story made it to the birth narrative, because its about some strangers. However, those who were finally getting around to writing it down they included this.

It reminds me of the cupcake story From Jan Edminston (see her blog here https://achurchforstarvingartists.wordpress.com/!). She said one day her church handed out cupcakes, just to share some joy. They weren’t advertising, and if asked they said we are from the church over there and waved vaguely down the way.

It had an impact, because years later, people still remember when that church handed out cupcakes?

Who are your magi? What are your cupcakes.

New Covenant did a flash survey (one day, just whoever was there) and we filled out how we serve God in the community (please write down things that are not directly connected to the church) through prayer, goods, money, talent and time. Keep in mind that attendance maxes out at about 40 adults, and this was not a full Sunday

We support 40 different community charitable organizations through goods and money (and some organizations had multiple donors on top of that!)

We give time and talent to 20 separate community needs!

Prayer is utilized in 17 discrete situations.

These are our cupcakes, these are our magi. This teeny tiny church is nourished and supported and so we go out and make a HUGE difference.

And it doesn’t matter which church over there is the center for all this, but that we have been and will continue to be lead by God to extend love and BUILD THE COMMUNITY!

 

 

 

 

Practicing Being #human #paris

Tonight, I’m going to look at the stars. I’ll look and wonder and remember how big the world is, how small I am, I’ll remember beauty and joy and hope, I will count the countless, remember small things and think wispy thoughts.

I will look at the stars and think of Paris and Japan, of Syria and the Middle East.
I will look at the stars to practice my humanity, I will do it, because I need to pray, and I don’t know what to do, except to respond by remembering what it means to be human.

calvin

Tonight I’ll be one small human being looking at the stars, and I invite you to do the same.

The #God #Experience or Why do we do that #church thing?

Epiphany is a realization that changes you…

that’s what the Magi had…it changed them Matthew 2:1-12

Then they were brave…

Why? Because they experienced God….Experiencing God is like experiencing the stars.

calvin

We can define the stars…but the experience of these burning masses of gas, is beyond a description.

We can define God as this fully human, fully divine, who was born in a manger, and died to save us all…

but the experience of God is more than that…that is why we gather together each week…each Sunday we come together to share where we see God working in our lives!

And to try not to be-little it…not to make it small…but to magnify it. To proclaim it, to call attention to the good news of God in our lives, one who is present and active.

wings“I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.” Madeline L’engle

Bad things happen, and we are not told to ignore them(heck 2/3rds of the Psalms are people crying out to/yelling at God), but what we are meant to realize, and share, and embrace, is God’s work in & through us.

People asking about a clothing exchange that closed over a year ago is evidence of God’s power.

The church making budget every year for 3yrs even though not everyone gives what they thought they would is pure miracle.

Having a ceiling and roof repair in one year, and having an estate come through the works for a quarter of the cost…..that has been in probate for 30 years…is God at work

Every person who has heard God’s voice, every one who feels God’s work, every one who comes through the farmer’s market or the playgroup, the fact that we are getting more calls for help in a month than what we used to get in a year.

These are all God-experiences…..

They are amazing…

and its is this reason we journey together…we see God’s star in the East, we may get lost, we may need to ask for directions, we may have to go back a different way…but we are doing it because we are experiencing God.

Together!

Moses: Experiencing God (part II)

Part !

Ultimately God is relational, and our experience of God is relational….that’s why we need to know

However, what is hard is some people haven’t ever had that burning bush experience…I haven’t been in that place before, but I know that some people haven’t experienced God.

What I do know is that when I talk to people about experiencing/knowing God that when they try to UNDERSTAND who God is, that is the wrong way to go about things.

I don’t know about you but I personally live with four other beings, none of whom I will fully understand (and its more than the fact that I’m a female living with four males), having a relationship with someone doesn’t mean that you fully understand them. Also, I know that relationships are different with different people….

Every time a read a parenting blog or article about the “right way” to raise every child I think how can this be? Different children raised by the same parents turn out differently, even I know I parent my three child in different ways. I relate to each of them differently. God similarly relates to each of us in a different way.

That is why we need a faith community, because none of us can have a full experience of God…well…if your like me, then not more than for an nanosecond. I love those moments of experiencing God. Madeline L’engle describes some of those moments as when you are looking at the stars (her parents used to wake her up to stargaze and its a big part of her writing).

You can envision Abraham having that moment….looking at the stars with God, filling the fullness of God’s will and purpose. Having it for a moment, and then continuing (since we can’t hold the fulness of God all the time)  through a relationship.

What I do know, is that experiencing God is relational, not rational, that we cannot fully know God by ourselves, and that this is why we are relational with both God and each other. Thus we better know God through all of our relationships–with God and each other.

That is why we are in community, because we don’t all have the same experience of God. We are together, not to tell each other that the only way to experience and know God is the way that works for us! (Did you know that you shouldn’t like ALL of worship, ideally different people like different parts, because its not all for one person, its for a diverse group of people so different people can experience worship during different parts of the service)

The point of the variety is so that we can share, experience and relate to God differently and (in the best of times) simultaneously. I don’t know what to do if you haven’t experienced God, but I do know, that your best bet is a faith community…Because we can’t experience God alone, we can only believe in God…alone…..

 

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivitesand Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.

16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ –Exodus 3:7-17