Friday, December 31, 2021

December 2021 All Around Town

December 2021 all around town header

• Urban Paradise Lectionary Project: Four for December

Armenian Cathedral Burbank California
• Tuesday 07 December: Ecumenical Prayer followed by Soup, Bread, and Pastries at the Armenian Cathedral in Burbank

Toy Drive Books
Toy Drive Triptych
• Neighborhood Toy Drive and Christmas Party on Saturday 11 December

Four Candle Lights
hree Sups of Tea
Hello Spring and Roses Tea Cups
• Day Long Worship Planning Retreat on Thursday 16 December

Las Posadas flyer
Las Posadas Cookies
• Las Posadas Tuesday 21 December "Wear Your Own Costume" because of COVID. I was a black cat panther.

Nativity Scene
• Front Lawn with Nativity Scene to set the seasonal theme

• Christmas Eve – Participatory Lessons and Carols at church. I got to be pianist because our staff pianist's spouse had a high fever so the fam wisely didn't go anywhere.

• On 26 December, "The First Sunday of Christmas," three of us gave a talk – here's mine – focused on our testimony of Christmas. Instead of live music we had a wonderful video of scripture readings and music for another Lessons and Carols.

• The afternoon of 26 December I finally saw West Side Story 2021, one of very few movies I absolutely wanted and needed to see.

house blessing cow clock elephant
• Final event of the departing year—house blessing for Jeremiah at noon on Friday 31 December. His place is full of beautiful furniture and decor. I've included pictures of the cow painting that's similar to one or two I have; the tall digital clock he got at Home Depot for an amazing price; elegant elephant tapestry.
Living Local 2021

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Nativity 2021

Christmas candles 2021
The First Sunday of Christmas

The pastor asked three of us to bear our testimony of Christmas for the proclamation on Sunday, the day after Christmas: where do we find Jesus, the Christ child? On my mostly lectionary blog I posted approximately what I plan to say. I really like the prayer I wrote to help focus my remarks, so I'm blogging it here.

Nativity Prayer

Root of Jesse, Son of Heaven, Mary's Child.
Cradle of Joy, Word in the Manger, Astonishing Gift.
Lord of Creation, Abundant Promise, Dayspring of Peace.
Be with us here in this place; make us shepherds of your grace.
May our lives season the world with salt;
Nurture our neighbors with leaven;
Light a path to show your way.
In your name we pray—

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Five Minute Friday :: Announce

Advent 4 candles
FMF :: Announce Linkup

The last Five Minute Friday of 2021!

• On my mostly lectionary blog this week I wrote about Mary Jesus' mother's response to Gabriel's announcement. As the world approaches again celebrating God moving into the neighborhood (thanks soooo much to late Pastor Eugene Peterson for that description) in Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem Little Town of House of Bread, we read again in Luke's gospel how Gabriel the angel first announced John the Baptist's upcoming birth to Elisabeth's spouse Zechariah; Gabriel announced to Miriam/Mary the birth of a son. Both those events were biologically unlikely and humanly unexpected. What can I say about announce today on the eve of the fourth Sunday of Advent? This blog description announces, "Theology – Ecology – Liturgy – Life" so I don't limit its content as much as I do for Urban Wilderness.

Taking 5 to write:

I'll start by announcing communication is key in every facet of life. Humans and critters have many ways to convey what's going on; varieties of spoken and written language are fairly central to people, but signs, gestures, colors, and symbols play major parts. It's announce for today, but sometimes speech and other forms of communication makes a reply, reminds, or has another function. Where am I leading? Back to this morning, when a gentle mid-December sun announced the hope of yet another day of grace. On to a little later when an email announced a quick client design I need to start and finish at almost the same time. Then to the calendar announcing tomorrow is Sunday.

More than once I've quoted Cornel West, "We are people of hope? Why do we party on Friday nights? Why do we go to church on Sundays?" So along with Gabriel each of us can announce the surprising end of the routinely expected status quo. The dawn of the new creation. Is this only reason to rejoice because our waiting for God in our midst in Jesus is almost over? No, let's announce it's already happened, it's been happening, it'll keep on happening! To quote Jesus' cousin John the Baptist, "Jesus must increase and I must decrease." With light and evergreens, my header advent candles design announces, "All Earth is hopeful; the Savior Comes…" Even COVID-devastated earth. Even war-ravaged people and places. All. Announce it! Amen!

# # #

FMF Announce
FMF button

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Five Minute Friday :: Expectation

Advent 2 candles
FMF Expectation Linkup

• In Shakespeare's Henry V: "For now sits expectation in the air!"

Luke 3

15As the people filled with expectation, and all of them questioned in their hearts concerning John the Baptist, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

Expectation, anticipation. From observing a few others and from knowing myself to a limited degree, it seems as if most humans spend most of their lives in a past that is over (to some extent) and in a future that hasn't yet dawned (though God already has gone there to ready it for us). Those enticing five minute fridays! Of course you can write to any prompt at any time, and I've done a couple of them too late to link, but isn't it more fun to join the weekly writing flash-mob?

With Advent well underway and Nativity drawing nigh, it's been yet another crazy week. I had to attend to formal and official projects so I didn't quite write about expectation, but I blogged my weekly Revised Common Lectionary reflection for Advent 2. In doing that, I retrieved and slightly updated a prayer I wrote fifteen years ago; I'll re-blog it here:


God of all creation, again this year we anticipate your Holy Presence among us in the Bethlehem manger. We also find you in our neighbor next door, the homeless family in the park, the clerk at the convenience store, frontline medical and municipal workers, scientists studying COVID, and conflicts across the world, may we bring to all of these the joy of the Bethlehem baby. We pray in the name of the Bringer of hope and Author of peace, amen!

© Leah Chang, 2006, 2021
# # #
Five Minute Friday Expectation