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From the Pastor

Pastor Kirk Anderson

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Yes? Good for you.

Self-improvement takes discipline and the word “discipline”, and the word “disciple” have the same root word.

And, if your answer was “no”, then let me suggest just one resolution anyway.

During the pandemic we have become more isolated, both physically and socially and this has had a negative impact on our mental health. So, one possible antidote would be to join one of the Friends and Food groups that are being organized on Sunday January 8 after worship.

These are groups of 5 to 8 people. The ideal number is 7. The groups meet once a month. They can meet at a home, at a restaurant, in a park, or some other place. The point is to gather around food and enjoy fellowship. It is a unique opportunity to get to know others in your congregation. You will hear stories and learn things about others that you probably would not learn during a coffee fellowship conversation.

Covid taught us many things. For one thing, as a church, it taught us to get out of our buildings. The pandemic made online worship a normal occurrence. Covid also taught us how fragile and important our relationships are. Our connections with our siblings in Christ can be severed by illness, death, and isolation. We must cherish and nurture those connections.

And who knows what you may learn about others, and maybe even about yourself? It might even lead to some epiphanies, in this season of Epiphany.

So, please take part in a Friends and Food group, even if you cannot cook, or host a group, just get involved! Get connected!!

A faith community’s strength is in its relationships. Jesus’ final commandment, a new commandment was, “Love one another.”

Happy New Year, and a blessed Epiphany season

Pastor Bob

Easter, Christmas, Lent? Do you have a favorite? Mine is Advent. It is only 4 weeks long, but it is a season of hope and expectation. And the 12 days of Christmas follow right after. The hymns of the Advent season are some of my favorites: Awake, Awake and Greet the New Morn, On Jordan’s Banks, and the meditative O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Plus, we get to light more candles.

The Advent Wreath holds 5 candles: one for each of the weeks of the season and one for the celebration of Christmas. The candles have many names. Some call them the Shepherd, Angel, John the Baptist, and Bethlehem candles. Some call them the Faith, Hope, Joy, Love candles. And there are others as well.

This year the Worship and Music Committee and I thought it would be acceptable to use a little reverse psychology in our Advent Wreath candle names. What do you think of the Judging, Complaining, Worrying, and Resignation candles? The thought being that they represent our sometimes-automatic response to life and to other people. Of course, we will also talk and sing and pray about the antidote as well:

Judging – Love, Complaining - Joy, Worrying – Peace, Resignation – Hope.

Why are we being counterintuitive like this? Well, I think it helps us to remember what Advent is about. It may also help us change. This time of year can be difficult, for any number of reasons. So, when you may catch yourself complaining or worrying, it just might help you to remember what God offers us at times like this. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun, if you were talking to a friend or neighbor, to say, “We lit the Complaining candle on our Advent wreath on Sunday.”

What will you be doing differently this year than you have in the past? Are you doing away with or changing some of your family traditions? Let me know via email if you care to share:

God bless you this Advent as you prepare your house for Christmas and as you prepare your heart for Christ.

peace to you,

Pastor Bob Albing

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