Writing and waiting and planning...

Today I had hoped to get a little extra rest after the hustle of
this week but for some reason I was awake by 6:30 - and working on various writing tasks by 7.  Sometime during the night my nephew Chris and his girlfriend delivered their first baby while our nephew Michael Anna and her husband Gerald are still in labor with their first child, too. About noon two friends from church stopped by to help repair our Subaru that has been on the fritz of late.  And as all of this was shaking out, I had to keep on writing: writing Advent resources for our families, writing sermon notes for Sunday, charting diagrams for our Thanksgiving Eve concert, writing plans for Christmas Eve and writing my weekly email note to the congregation. Don't get me wrong, I love this gig and it sure as hell beats heavy lifting, but I am about played and look forward to an early evening pastoral call to bring some balance to the day. 

Still, here's part of what I wrote to my folk: This Sunday marks the celebration of Christ the King Day - one of my favorite feast days in the Christian realm - and I look forward to honoring it in worship with you for three distinct reasons:

+ First, this holy day asks us to make a choice between cynicism and hope.  The scripture for the day is taken from Luke 23, the story of Christ's crucifixion between two thieves, and each criminal (or sinner) represents something in us all.  One complains and curses Jesus, he mocks and degrades him, because even in an ugly death he doesn't want to give up control.  Like so many people of hatred who try to feel better about themselves by spewing venom against others, this soul is miserable - and generates only more hatred.  The other man, no less guilty, simply asks Jesus:  "Remember me when you come into your kingdom."  Implied in his request, of course, is a confession and repentance; he has looked into his own heart and chosen to seek God even though his life is near the end and he is living through the worst kind of torture.  To which Jesus says, "You will be with me forever in paradise."  We have a choice - cynicism or hope - hatred or love.

+ Second, Christ the King Sunday is the last Sabbath in the church year.  Hard as it is to believe, we will enter Advent next SundayDecember 1.  So this week is an invitation to get ready for Advent.  At the core of this worship, besides the choice, is a challenge:  will you be ready to see the Lord when he comes?  Clearly one thief was either unwilling or unable.  Getting our hearts and minds ready for the mysteries of Advent is another reason this is an important Sunday.

+ And third, there will be such beautiful hymns and music - and readings from Scripture - that I don't want you to miss our review of the whole Christian year.  Worship will be formed in a slightly different mode this week (what's new, right?)  Mostly I will be sharing a comment about each of the major church seasons - Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost - coupled with readings from the Bible and sacred hymns that evoke these seasons. This Sunday will be a good refresher in the sacred wisdom of the Christian calendar.

And then on Sunday afternoon, we'll redress the Sanctuary for our annual Thanksgiving Eve concert.  We'll set up the various microphones for the 15 performers and 10 additional singers in the gospel choir - my guitar army with drums and keyboards, to boot - and be ready for a practice and sound check by 3 pm. Before that we'll head out to the Plainfield farm for dinner tomorrow night and then do a music and practice evening with the core band members on Saturday.  Ok, now it is time for a break as the sun begins to set behind the Berkshires at 3:44 pm! 


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