We explored this together with our eighth grade bridge students. First, the story of baby Jesus is told only in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew and it is told in two very different ways. We can’t exactly make them work together, nor can we figure out an exact timeline based on them since telling exact dates wasn’t the point of their stories. Calendar systems have also changed. It seems likely that it was within 5 years on either side of what we may consider year zero. It is likely that it wasn’t the winter, as shepherds are not in the fields in the winter. The point of telling the story of Jesus’ birth is not for historical accuracy but to give us hope that God can work in all kinds of circumstances, through unlikely people to share His love with the world. Maybe He can share it through us! —Pastor Trudy
This question is from a Confirmation student.
Changing your point of view can be a really hard thing to do! It takes being open to new ideas and letting go of the idea that there is only one right way to see something. Sometimes other people don’t understand why you’ve changed your point of view, and they may not be very happy that you’ve found another way to see things. When Mary got pregnant with Jesus, Joseph thought the only thing he could do was quietly call off their wedding. But, God sent him an angel to tell him that Mary’s baby was from the Holy Spirit and would save people from their sins! Joseph changed his point of view, married Mary, and cared for her and Jesus. Jesus ended up showing so many people new ways to see the world! He loved his enemies and befriended the outcasts. So, I think part of living out God’s love is being open to changing our viewpoints. —Vicar Sharai
Last week we had part one of things we learned on the worship survey. It’s not surprising that not everyone agreed about what works and what doesn’t but some interesting questions also arose. Like…Why do our preachers not often preach from the pulpit and the companion question, why don’t our preachers preach on the floor level? Back before there was the ability to amplify voices in church, there were pulpits…set up to help people to see and hear the preacher. In some spaces, like ours, it also emphasized that the pastors are ‘set apart’ for their work. The distance was a design choice following church trends at the time it was designed/built. I preach from the pulpit for funerals because I am stepping in to the strength of the call and the witness of all of the saints. But I find the pulpit a little confining for my style for weekend worship. When I started at GLC I did preach from the floor. It took a little while, but eventually some folks told me that I wasn’t as tall as I may think and I was difficult to see. Since then, I’ve been preaching from the top step, especially when the sanctuary is more crowded.—Pastor Trudy
On the worship survey we learned that our space is warm and inviting. And we learned that it is cold and not inviting. We learned that it is just right and shouldn’t be changed and that it is not perfect and should be changed. Prayers for wisdom for the architects working on the plan! But there were also good questions like, why are the worship leaders so far away and tucked behind the pulpit and lectern? The architect who designed GLC built in chairs up front for the leaders. At that time and for him, it was important to set the clergy/leaders apart. There is even a little room on the north side that was the pastor’s place to get robed so he (yes it was always a he then) would be in the front as people arrived. This is not really my style so before we started livestreaming, I would sit in the front pew. This made me feel so much more a part of worship. When we started to livestream I found myself trapped by camera angles, unable to move freely without walking in front of a shot. Logistically, it is easier just to stay put up front during 10:30 worship, though I do venture out on Saturday evening! Knowing that you notice small things and that they matter to you is really encouraging to our team as we plan and lead worship and as we ponder what big or small changes we can make to our space to make it more accessible and meaningful. —Pastor Trudy
What is the best way to respond when we are hurt? Let’s think through some of our options: hurt someone back, walk away feeling sad with it unresolved, ‘forgive and forget’, tell others about our pain and gain sympathy, attack the other person, hold back from relationships in the future to avoid the pain. I’m guessing that most of us use some combination of these and they may seem to work to some degree, often in the short term. The pain may then show up in other ways in our lives or we may miss out on deep, meaningful relationships because we are trying not to be hurt. Honestly? This all sounds pretty painful. God’s work of justice, walking humbly and showing loving kindness requires that we do the hard work of learning and growing from each and every painful experience. This requires staying open, letting go, and watching what Jesus does and teaches. We will see that Jesus experienced great pain, hurt and death…and new life followed it. —Pastor Trudy