A community . . .committed to peace, engaged in justice, cultivating faith
News And Upcoming Events
As we continue with our experiment as a true house church, we’ll be gathering at 10am on Feb. 19th at our old worship location – 7612 Wanymala Dr. (White Building) Richmond, VA. Our tasks will include cleaning out items that we want to keep as a group before ending our lease with our wonderful hosts these last number of years, the West Richmond Church of the Brethren. After we’ve finished cleaning out items, we’ll head somewhere for brunch.
Both of these passages are about the “messenger”. After reading through these passages numerous times these are questions that came to me. Perhaps as you read through these verses you might think on these questions and ponder others of your own.
What is a messenger in the context of these scriptures?
What experiences allow you to identify a messenger?
Why does there seem to be so much doubt and negativity surrounding the character of a messenger in these two passages?
What symbolic association do we make with the meaning of the word “messenger”?
How do we define and identify a “messenger” in our society today?
Who are the messenger types we want to receive guidance from in our lives?
How might each of us become messengers of our time?
Why is skepticism a positive attribute in being aware of messengers?
Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
By Maya Angelou
Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.
Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.
We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?
Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.
It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.
Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.
In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.
We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.
We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
implore you to stay awhile with us
so we may learn by your shimmering light
how to look beyond complexion and see community.
It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices to celebrate the promise of
We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
We look at each other, then into ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation:
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul
~Submitted by John Williamson
“The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.”
I’m always glad that I can read while moving – in cars, on an airplane, on a train like the one I’m riding for eight hours today to Connecticut. It makes travel that much more enjoyable and/or productive. Reading was a coping mechanism developed relatively early in my life to stave off the waiting for a trip to end. (I’m guessing my parents approved since it provided an alternative to the classic “Are we there yet?” questions.) One of the genre’s I always enjoyed was fantasy – a genre that is no stranger to heroes and dark, hopeless situations that somehow turn out for the better.
The Isaiah and Luke passages bracket hundreds of years that the people of Israel spent waiting for the prophesied coming of the Messiah. Jude, the lead-in to the book of Revelations, sounds themes of waiting for Christ’s return and the fullness of God’s Kingdom becoming present “on earth as it is in heaven.”
The challenge of waiting is sometimes no easier for us as adults than when we were children. Yet it’s also likely (given the lengths of time the church has been waiting so far) that our lives will pass before final fulfillment occurs (whatever that looks like.) For me, sometimes the most relevant question as a Christian is not “what are you waiting for?” but “what should we do while we wait?”
The passages in today’s lectionary also have some suggestions. “Do not be afraid” are words that stand out from Isaiah. “Build yourselves up in . . . faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love,” writes Jude to fellow believers. John also, before clarifying for the crowd that he is not the Messiah, responds to their question “what should we do then?” His answer to all – “the one with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”
What does that mean in your life as we approach our remembrance of Christ’s coming and a new year?