Category Archives: Seasonal Ideas

#AdventWord2020

I was excited to receive an invitation this summer to write a meditation for #AdventWord2020. If you’re not familiar with #AdventWord, it is a simple and interactive (if you want) way to engage in reflection on the Advent Sunday lectionary readings via one word a day throughout the Season of Advent. Today marks the first Sunday of Advent – a day we hear words from the prophet Isaiah and light one candle on the Advent wreath. We await, with expectation, for the birth of Christ – Emmanuel: God is with us. And in this “Year of the Pandemic,” Advent will be filled with more expectation perhaps than usual as we look for the light at the end of this long, long darkness we have been in since March.

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A Zoom Thanksgiving

For me, Thanksgiving has been a time of story-sharing from one generation to the next. I recall long tables in the basement of my childhood home filled with grandparents, aunts, uncles, first/second/third cousins, and the random relative or friend who I could never figure out how they fit in the mix. There were often “unrelated” elderly people present who did not have a family to share the meal with. Kids were mixed in with the adults – there was no “children’s table” of isolation. Most of all I remember the laughter and the passing of casseroles, including the jello mold containing unknown substances (shout out to National Lampoon’s Family Christmas).

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International Day of Peace

Established by a United Nations resolution in 1981, the International Day of Peace is marked every year on September 21. While a day created for nations to highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace, it can also be a day for individuals, households, and faith communities to mark the occasion. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation, or planting a peace pole on your property. You can also make the day an opportunity to make peace with your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. It can be a day we learn how to be more patient, turn the other cheek, living in community with our neighbors more wholly.

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Exploring the Trinity

Long ago (before the Rotation Workshop Model was a “thing”), I worked in a parish as their Director of Christian Education. From time to time we would have intergenerational gatherings of learning; one year on Trinity Sunday we had such an event in the midst of worship. In the context of the Holy Eucharist, three stations with Bible readings and related projects served as the Liturgy of the Word. The congregation began in the church and fanned out to the three learning centers (set up in advance) in adjacent spaces (the nave, chapel, and a nearby room where coffee hour was held). These three groups of mixed ages rotated (with the sound of a bell) from location to location. Each station took about ten minutes. This year Trinity Sunday will be observed on June 7, 2020.

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Celebrating Pentecost at Home

Pentecost is sometimes referred to as “the birthday of the Church,” but the birthday refers not to the institutional church, but rather to our birth into the new life of the Risen Christ, the new creation that comes from the Holy Spirit. Pentecost (this year on May 31) brings the Easter season to an official end, but it also marks the beginning of our new life together. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are guided and supported in our attempts to live out our baptismal promises.

There are significant meanings in the Acts of the Apostles description of Pentecost. The Jewish feast commemorated the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. The gift of the Spirit to the Church on this feast fulfills the words of Jeremiah, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). Pentecost also symbolizes the reversal of Babel in Genesis 11. At Babel, confusion, in the form of diverse languages, confound the understanding of the builders. On Pentecost (in Jerusalem), the apostles understood every language being spoken by the crowds (Acts 2:1-4 and John 20:22). At Babel, the human city is scattered. On Pentecost, the City of God is drawn together as 3,000 believers are added to the Church.

After Easter, Pentecost is the most important day of the Church year. Churches typically celebrate it with everyone wearing red (representing the flames of the Holy Spirit), perhaps a dove kite soaring above the congregation in procession, lessons read in various languages, children wearing construction paper flame hats, red balloons tied to pews, and birthday cake at coffee hour. Not this year! But it can still be celebrated at home. Some ideas and links to others:

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