Pastor’s Piece: The expectant season
December is an especially wonderful month of the church calendar. We began the season of Advent and a new church year on December 2.
We closed the clipped, urgent Gospel of Mark and opened the gracefully written Gospel of Luke, with its parables of lost and found and its overarching theme of mercy.
Our Advent readings always bear some apocalyptic scenes, replete with celestial signs, distress among nations, upheaval in the natural world and the Son of Man approaching on the clouds. John the Baptist strides out of the desert and wades into the Jordan, demanding fruits worthy of repentance, invoking images of ax, root, grain and burning chaff.
Yet, all this turmoil and distress are keyed to the pregnancies of Elizabeth and Mary. Distress of sky, sea, Earth, hostility between peoples, are like immense labor pains that presage birth.
There is much distress in the world, and distress is surely not good in and of itself. Yet, it always carries the possibility of great transformation and newness. On the last Sunday in Advent, we will hear of Mary visiting Elizabeth, of Elizabeth’s child leaping in the womb and of Mary’s remarkable declaration that the Lord has looked upon her lowliness with favor, brought down the powerful and lifted up the lowly.
Advent is an expectant season, when our hopes are fed, when we can see past the world’s current distress to a new reality. We clear our hearts and light our candles and lean forward to receive the Christ child anew.
Wednesday evening Advent services and meals
This Advent season the three Cheyenne ELCA congregations will join together for combined Wednesday Advent meals and services as follows:
December 5 at Christ;
December 12 at Ascension; and
December 19 at St. Paul’s.
A meal will begin at 6 p.m. with the service at 7 p.m.
Please join us for Christmas Eve candlelight services!
We will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with two Christmas Eve services on Monday evening, December 24 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Come sing hymns, Christmas carols and share the joyous news of our Savior’s birth. Nursery care is available for both services. We look forward to having you join us!
Biblical essential oils topic for WELCA group
The Women of the ECLA (WELCA) will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 18, in the upper fellowship room for a devotion from the December issue of the Gather magazine and an “Essential Oils of the Bible” presentation by Jacy Kruckenberg.
All women are invited to bring cookies for an exchange. If there are extra cookies, they will take some to shut-ins. The January 15 meeting will begin a new study. For information, contact Shirley Toppenberg at 634-4946.
Quiet time to be offered for spiritual renewal
A newcomer to Cheyenne who is a spiritual director and a congregant at St. Mark’s Episcopal is offering a free retreat six Wednesday mornings in 2019. Loretta Barker invites men and women to a time of spiritual growth and quiet reflection. The mini-retreat will run Wednesday, January 30, and continue each Wednesday through March 13, with the exception of Ash Wednesday, March 6, and will meet from 10 a.m. to noon. To guide the group in this time of retreat, Joyce Rupp’s book “The Cup of Our Life” will be the centerpiece. Although this group is not a book study, Rupp’s book will help guide the participants’ time of reflection and refreshment during the rest of the week. All are welcome, but space is limited to the first 10 who call Loretta and ask to participate. For more information, including the Cheyenne location of the retreat, call or text Loretta at (307) 760-1091.
Youth to take down the ‘Greens’ January 6
The Youth Group will take down the Christmas tree and the wreath on Sunday, January 6. They start about 11:45 a.m., as soon as Sunday school ends. Lunch will be provided, so please text Nichole Morris at 719-321-7038 or email her at email@example.com if you can help so that she know how many people to plan for lunch. This is considered a youth work activity.