Words from the Pastor
The story comes again…
an Epiphany poem by Maren Tirabassi
It's the story about the pregnant woman
whose fiancé married her anyway
and how they traveled together
to the crowded city
where an innkeeper offered a stable,
and animals, legends say, their strawspitality.
(or maybe the pair sneaked in to sleep rough
like homeless people always do
in abandoned buildings)
And there's the sequel about shepherds
who were watching their flocks by night
all seated on the ground
when the angels came harmonizing
SATB in the sky
and sent them to Bethlehem
to see the child born for them
and then to share those good, good tidings.
And that's what they did –
they went back to the fields all christmasy,
with good will, peace on earth …
though probably not chestnuts.
But now there is the other plot line
that often gets folded into the bathrobe pageant
though it happened weeks
or even years later –
about the travelers and their gifts
and the detour home
to avoid the homicidal Herod.
And that's what makes us part of the story –
not because we are wise and
certainly not royal,
but because we're always late or lost,
and, if we arrive at the holiness of it at all,
we come with road dust on our feet,
and star dust in our hair.
In the earliest years of the Church, and still today in the Orthodox Church, the Epiphany of Our Lord took priority over celebrations of Jesus' birth. The story of the Magi introduces us to some less sentimental aspects of Jesus' arrival in the world--the conflict between all that Jesus stood for vs. that which Rome stood for as witnessed in the conniving and actions of King Herod the Great. Because of this story we are alerted to the reality that the world cannot handle two lords and therefore we each must renew our commitment to Jesus Christ as lord of our lives and lord of the world. May the start of this new year prove to be a time for us to recommit ourselves to all that Jesus taught, lived out, and died for--compassion for the most vulnerable, service as the key to power, and sacrifice as the way to new life.
Celebrating the Epiphany,
The Baptism of Our Lord
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11
Theme: New Beginnings
For Jesus, his baptism by John in the Jordan River proved to be life-changing. The vision that accompanied his baptism changed the trajectory of his life from that of a village carpenter to that of an itinerant preacher, teacher, healer, and visionary. It was, to say the least, a new beginning. On Sunday we will renew our baptismal vows and likewise commit ourselves to a new beginning. What will your new beginning look like?
Change of Worship Locations
Just a reminder that because of the work that is now taking place in the sanctuary we will be holding our worship services in alternate locations for the next six-eight weeks. The 8:15am service will be held in the chapel as will the 9:00am Swahili language worship service. The 10:30am worship service will be held in the vestry. Thank you for your patience as we eagerly await our return to the newly refurbished sanctuary sometime in February.Announcements Calendar for the Week of January 7
Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Planned
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration will once again take place at the First Baptist Church located on Manchester Street here in Nashua. The service takes place on Saturday, January 13th at 6:00pm. The theme for this service is "Love shall Win" and the keynote speaker is the Rev. Dr. Neal Pearson, the pastor of the St. John's Baptist Church in Woburn, MA. There is also plenty of great gospel music, including the Interfaith Choir which is led by our choir director, Julie Oliver and involves many of our choir members. A free dinner follows the service in the church's fellowship hall. All are welcome!
What Time is it? Children's Time!
It all started when Kathy Whitman had an idea for a Halloween contest for the Sunday School children where they would dress as Christian historical characters--ones who have influenced our Christian beliefs today. That idea spilled over into having a character appear during Children's Time as part of the church service.
Kathy began by playing Anna Howard Shaw, the first woman to become an ordained Methodist minister. The next Sunday, Lisa Svenson was the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. It was amazing how historical and Biblical characters were coming alive during our 10:30 worship service!
We met Martin Luther as played by Pastor Rich, who also portrayed a grateful leper--the only one of ten to return to thank Jesus for healing him. Zach Sommers was John Wesley, and Steve Rogers was a disciple of John Wesley.
Pastor Dave Svenson was Melchior, one of the three wisemen, whose camel waited for him outside. And who can forget King Herod as portrayed by Paul Pederzani.
In the future, more wisemen and other characters are coming to visit our congregation. Thanks to all of the actors and thanks to Lisa Svenson for her costume contributions. If you want to volunteer to be a historical figure, or if you have an idea for one, please contact Susan Pederzani or Mavis Pyle.
Meeting historical figures each Sunday helps to remind us that Christianity is not separate from everyday life and has been experienced by ordinary and extraordinary people for many centuries.
-submitted by Susan Pederzani and Mary Marchese
United Methodist Men's Breakfast
Due to the extreme cold last Saturday, the UMM's breakfast was postponed to this coming Saturday, January 13 at 8:30am. Dr. Ernie Marino will be speaking on the topic of Healthy Living for Seniors. All are welcome!
-submitted by Kent Swanson