Dec 25, Christmas Day: Morning Prayer, online at 10:00 am. Join us on Zoom for hymns and readings! Click here to join.
Jan 1: Come as You Are Sunday. It’s New Years’ Day so come as you are for a relaxed worship service in the Parish Hall.
Jan 6, Feast of Epiphany: Epiphany Celebration 7:00 pm. Come for a Friday evening celebration of light and love. Firepit, hot chocolate, singing, and storytelling – activities for all ages!
Jan 8: The Baptism of Jesus: At the beginning of the year, we renew our Baptismal Vows as we tell the story of Jesus’ baptism by St. John the Baptist (our patron saint!).
Consider MaskingWhile masking remains optional at St. John’s, you are encouraged to consider wearing a mask during worship to help keep down the transmission of covid, flu, and other illnesses. Masks are available at both entrances.
Ana and I watched a movie called Summerland last night on Netflix. It’s a beautiful story that will likely make you cry so, you know, bring the tissues. The title comes from the name of the afterlife, according to Theosophy (an American spiritualist movement in the 19th century). In a book by Andrew Jackson Davis called The Great Harmonia, he calls “Summerland” the highest level of the afterlife a human can hope to enter. It’s an in-between place where souls go between their incarnations. As Christians, whether or not we believe in “Summerland” is not the point of my post today.
My point is that it seems to me that “Summerland” is like “thin space,” when our everyday experience seems to take on a new character that seems to be closer to the non-physical world. Some call this heaven, some call this nirvana. It’s an experience of, perhaps, feeling a bit closer to God, or a bit more emotionally vulnerable, or even an experience of lightness.
Even before I started following a Christian path in my 30’s, I thought of Christmas as one such “thin space.” Perhaps it comes from staying up on Christmas Even to watch the old Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life… that I would come to think of Christmas as a magical time – not about presents but about an other-worldly sweetness that comes to be embodied in this reality.
It’s as if something shifts in our consciousness and, dare I say, in the consciousness of people across the world, enough so that reality itself is imbued with a kind of luminous presence. We become more aware of the beautiful and powerful fragility and connectedness of all life. What has been so solid and impenetrable, seems to become tender and more real, more immediate.
I believe that people who are sensitive to this shift in energy can sometimes cause people to act out even more during the Christmas season. We have proof that “the holidays” can be stressful for people. But I think, if we slow down just enough… if we quiet ourselves just a bit… we start to see the shifting towards light in our lives and in the world around us.
My sincere prayer for each of you this Christmas is to find this “thin space” to be restorative for you. A respite for your soul. An experience of God’s Love that comes with the magic of true belief: Christ is born among us again. God’s promise becomes incarnate.
Emmanuel: God is with us.
In God’s love and mine,
Announcements for the Christmas Season
December 25 – January 6
Acolytes, Ushers, and Lectors… Oh, my! Attention all people of St. John’s! Rev. Michelle will offer a forum after worship on February 26. During this forum, you will learn more about different liturgical duties and be invited to register for training. We’ll talk about Lectors, Sacristans, Acolytes, and Ushers – all of whom are important to our common worship at St. John’s. People from age 6 to adult are welcome to consider these ministries.
St. John’s Pledge Campaign continues! If you haven’t made a financial pledge for 2022 yet, the Stewardship Team is still receiving pledges. If you’re new to pledging, you’ll find blank forms on the bookcase near the lectern.
Page Turners Book Club Meetings are on the first Thursday of the month at 2 p.m., in the parish hall. Here’s what we selected for the next few months: January 5: Trust, by Hernan Diaz; February 2: The Plot, by Jean Hanff Korelitz; March 2: Inside the O’Briens, by Lisa Genova. If we have bad weather during the winter, we will switch to a Zoom meeting. Interested in joining? Talk with Lynn Dennison.
Ulster Immigrant Defense Network needs Food Sponsors. You can support an immigrant family for 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks a month. The cost is $45/week. Sponsorship forms are available on the bulletin board in the vestibule. Or send a one-time donation to UIDN, 30 Pine Grove Ave, Kingston.
Have an announcement for the bulletin?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to firstname.lastname@example.org