Imagine a New World – from Rev. Welch

 

Dear Friends and Members of the United Church of Norman-UCC

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Last week I wrote about the way we could envision the messianic hope as a hope for a new world. And I said that such a movement to a better world was not immediate. That it was a cumulative process that takes time. But I wonder if we can believe in this season this claim.

That is, it may be that the reign of peace and justice is just as fantastical to believe in as a literal second coming. For our time is marked by divisions based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. And the result after the election has been over 900 hate crimes targeting various minorities.

We’re not a nation filled with expectation, the spirit of Advent is not here. Instead we’re a weary nation. Weary of our neighbors. Weary for our future. This is the world described in the famous Christmas hymn “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” The verses describe the angels as they respond to a world that looks like much our own.

“And still their heavenly music floats O’er all the weary world; Above its sad and lowly plains, They bend on hovering wing, And ever o’er its Babel sounds The blessed angels sing.”

“For lo!, the days are hastening on, By prophet bards foretold, When with the ever-circling years Comes round the age of gold When peace shall over all the earth Its ancient splendors fling, And the whole world give back the song Which now the angels sing.”

It’s the last verses which is the hope of Christmas, it is what we wait for in expectation during Advent. It’s hard to imagine that our world is fit for such an end. We recognize a weary world; can we imagine a world that sings a song of peace back to the angels?

Maybe Advent is not about waiting for the right time for God to come, for when Jesus was born, he was born into an empire that was not looking for good news. And he preached to an occupied people who could scarcely imagine good news. Maybe God comes precisely because we can’t imagine a new world. And we need an encounter with the divine to begin imagining again.

We’ll be exploring the ways progressive Christians can incorporate Advent and Christmas for Adult Education Sundays December 11th and 18th at 9:45 a.m And we’ll celebrate Advent for our 11 a.m worship services.

For Christmas Eve will have a hymn sing, where folks can choose the Christmas hymns. This will be held on the 24th at noon. On Christmas Day we will cancel adult ed but gather for our 11 a.m worship to celebrate the arrival of Christmas.

Blessings,

Rev. Dwight Welch

 

 

Future Events

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Sunday, December 11, we will be having a social justice committee meeting after church. All are welcome to attend. One of the things we will be discussing is how we proceed with getting others involved in our journey to have Norman designated as a “Nonviolent City”.
Please feel free to join us for our discussion and bring any ideas you have with you.

December 18, 2016 we will collect for OUR CHURCH’S WIDER MISSION and the CHRISTMAS FUND. Please indicate in the memo line of your check the fund to which you wish to contribute.

Our Church’s Wider Mission is the basic support for the UCC. It permits the church to provide for operating expenses, to equip leaders, support clergy in ministry, foster healthy and vital congregations, advocate and witness for justice, respond to disasters and tragedies, send help around the world, and preach a welcoming and open understanding of Christian faith.

The Christmas Fund provides direct financial assistance to retired and active United Church of Christ authorized ministers and lay employees and their surviving spouses, including pension and health premium supplementation, emergency assistance, and Christmas thank-you checks.

 

 

Book Club December 19th

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We’re reading chapters 7 and 8 and we’ll gather to discuss them at Nancy Logan’s home 3200 Summit Bend at 7pm.

 

 

Food and Shelter Needs

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Resident and Shelter Needs include soap, cleaning supplies, furniture, diapers. Kitchen Needs are dry sealed foods. Care Packets for the homeless include deodorant, self care products, snack foods

 

 

A New Recycling Box

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Given the number of paper products we use for our morning gatherings and conversation box the Social Justice committee has set up a recycling box to discard those items. Look for it on Sundays!