Wednesday August 12th – “The Half-Way Mark” (366 words)
The United Church is becoming an intra-cultural church. We are striving to step beyond tolerating others who are different. At this meeting of General Council we are walking with and learning from our Christian brothers and sisters – French, Japanese, Korean, African and more. In 1926, three Protestant denominations came together to form a new, stronger, richer and fuller being called the United Church. Today as a church we are working toward that kind of transformation.
This week enjoyed the rhythm and beauty of many languages as we have worshipped and done our work. Symbols and traditions from other cultures have enriched our understanding. We have embraced our brothers and sisters in the faith with joy. We are learning to be a church in which we truly value, respect and welcome all people.
And there is more. We have incorporated what is called green culture. Gone are the endless paper plates and Styrofoam cups. We carry our own water bottles to taps and jugs to be refilled with local water. The trash cans at UBC are not overflowing because most of what we use is recycled. We share print resources in order to save paper. We’re truly conscious of what we use.
The youth at General Council are leading us. Tuesday, they were an integral part of the discussion about our church’s position on the Israeli/Palestine conflict. This was their message to us. “I’ve been to Palestine. I’ve seen the poverty, the oppression. That wall has six hundred stops. By the time a poor farmer going to market gets through them his fresh fruit has rotted in the cart. We have to use more than words to express our horror at what is happening to the Palestinian people. It was a United Church program that sent me to Palestine to see what was happening. Listen to us.”
Monday morning we sang, “I Am a Child of God”. The words of that song declare the wonder and beauty and confidence of knowing and living the acceptance that Jesus taught. The United Church has stepped beyond having youth and people of other races as tokens among us. They are transforming us. I am grateful.
“Down to the Potter’s House”
“God is good,” shouted Right Rev. David Giuliani into the microphone.
“all the time,” responded the more than six hundred committed, passionate people of faith who filled the gymnasium at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna.
“All the time,” shouted Right Rev. David Giuliani.
“God is good,” responded the people.
Thus, began the first day of the fortieth meeting of the General Council of the United Church of Canada.
That same spontaneous energy -God’s Spirit – surrounded me all day. Signs of a healthy faithful church were everywhere, from the enthusiastic happy faces of the young people to music that called us to sing and dance to walls decorated with hundreds of prayer flags made by congregations from across our country. It’s been an amazing day.
We worshipped as two potters worked with clay on their potter’s wheels. “Working with clay is messy,” our Moderator said. “The potter kneads the clay to work out the memory of the shape the clay has been. Once centered, the wheel begins to turn, and the potter’s hands gently and carefully push and scrape to mold something new and exciting. During this time together, God the potter will be working with us, kneading us to help us let go of the past, and centering us in faith in order to bring forth from us something new and exciting.”
The sunny yellow shirts and happy smiles of the local volunteers who care for us were everywhere. We heard the drums of the local native people who welcomed us as partners in our love for God’s creation.
Lively discussion as we set the agenda, told me that change will be painful. We are a church, alive and healthy, that will make decisions cautiously and carefully. We have solid roots and strong faith, and still change brings fear.
I looked at nine week old Nicholas, asleep in his mother’s arms, heard the youth commissioner at our table speak of God’s call to him to be here, and took a deep breath. This will be work, and this will be fun.
Tonight I am thankful for the privilege of being here.
Can I Hold Him? Christmas Stories for All Ages
Table of Contents
1. Isn’t He Beautiful! 2. I’m An Angel 3. Can I Hold Him
4. That’s Not Your Baby! 5. The Last Shall Be First
6. The Reluctant Shepherd 7. The Third Wiseman
8. A Life Completed 9. The Refugees
10. An Ancient Love Story 11. Santa’s Story
Can I Hold Him? has many uses:
Read it at home as part of your Christmas preparations.
Give it as a gift of faith to a friend or neighbor or grandchild.
Use it with your Sunday School Class as part of the lesson or as a resource for writing a skit.
Use it with adults and children as a resource for Christmas Programs and Christmas Eve worship
Welcome to my blog. It’s 10:53 p.m. The countdown to retirement has begun. In ten days, I plan to focus on being a Christian author. Check back in a day or two.