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Written by Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan
A few nights ago, I drove by the lake on my way home and caught the remains of the sunset. In time, stars appeared in the silent eastern sky.
Last night, the image of that night sky came back to me during a high school Christmas concert. The choir sang softly and confidently the song, “Sure on this Shining Night,” composed by Morten Lauridsen and written by poet James Agee.
Sure on this shining night
Of star-made shadows round
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground
The late year lies down the north,
All is healed, all is health
High summer holds the earth,
Hearts all whole
Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
Wandering far alone
Of shadows on the stars…
Permit me voyage, Love, into your hands.
As I listened, I thought of the night by the lake, but my thoughts also went to those who, centuries back, stood beneath a shining night. The exhaustion of Mary and Joseph, the loneliness and wonder of the shepherds in the field, the quest of the wise ones from the east—all traveling by starlight toward Bethlehem, toward the One who would bring healing and make all hearts whole.
I’ve thought of all who know exhaustion, loneliness, wonder, and quest. On us all, light shines. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined” (Isaiah 9:2). “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).
In a few weeks, on Christmas Eve, when we lift our candles during “Silent Night,” we will honor the light that shines in the darkness, a light that unflinchingly shows us the world as it is and offers us a vision of what the world might become. Until then, sing, serve, and stand under the night sky tonight, sure of God’s love that holds you and all creation in affection and kindness.
God of love, compassion and kindness,
The light of your presence in Christ radiates through all creation:
Open our eyes to your ever-present light and make us transparent to it,
That in and through us, your light might shine in the darkness, never to be overcome by it;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Check out this podcast
of Pastor Tom
Tom recently appeared on the radio show
Living the Word with Jon Loufman who hosts the program on The Word 1220 AM radio. Check out the podcast below. This is a lively conversation with lots of good information about our work here and overseas. Tom is on after another guest. His segment begins about 26 minutes into the broadcast. Enjoy: https://soundcloud.com/living-the-word.
Keeping Calm & Focused Through the Holidays
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December Pastor's Page
This year we have been talking about ancient paths. An important dynamic of any trek is knowing your destination, having a good map, and following a guide or the sound instruction of others.
So it is with our church. It is important for us to discern together the direction the Lord is leading us. God is active, inspiring, healing and blessing not only our congregation but our community and world. So our task is to join in.
In January you will be invited to take part in one of five Dream Big sessions. They will be at different times but will all have the same structure and goal.
We will be asking two questions of our church.
1. What’s working well?
Where are we strong?
What ministries, projects, outreach efforts seem to be growing in strength and impact?
2. What do you believe God is calling us toward?
As a church how are we being invited to stretch and reach beyond where we’ve been? Remember, we are focusing on what God wants. We seek first God’s kingdom and take bold and imaginative steps to see the kingdom come.
During each session these questions will be asked in relation to the three categories below.
Discover (Education) Rejoice (Worship) Share (Outreach)
Each Dream Big session will begin in Trinity Hall with snacks, introductions and prayer to focus our time. We will then be divided into three teams to address our three areas of ministry and outreach.
Each room will have a facilitator and a scribe. The facilitator will make sure all have a chance to share their thoughts and dreams. The scribe will write like mad with a big marker on giant sheets of butcher paper. At the end, all teams will reconvene in Trinity Hall for a final blessing and to finish the snacks. Total time: 1 ½ hours.
The ancient paths:
December = Revelation;
January = Courageous Conversations;
February = Truth-Telling;
March = Holiness.
In December we celebrate the revelation of God’s love in Jesus. Related to our direction, we are asking God to reveal vision, insight and conviction for our shared future.
In January, we will have courageous conversations.
In February, all the insights and convictions that were shared at the Dream Big sessions will be organized and communicated to the congregation. This will be our truth-telling.
In March, all that we have courageously shared and organized will be lifted to our holy Lord. Our plans mean nothing unless the Lord directs our paths (Proverbs 16:9). We will ask for holy counsel and courage as we fortify existing ministries and venture onto new paths.
It has been said that behind every question lies a quest and that every quest, when rightly pursued, ultimately leads the searcher to God. So now is the time to start asking good questions and opening ourselves to God’s inspiration and counsel for the paths we will take together as a congregation.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; God’s the one who will keep you on track."
9:30 am and 11:00 am
JOHN KNOX UPCOMING EVENTS
CREW Progressive Dinner
4 pm - Trinity Hall
5:30 - Trinity Hall
December 30 & January 1
CREW / TNT Skating Event
Community Outreach Team launch
7 pm - Fellowship Hall
6:15 pm dinner - Trinity Hall
Women's Mini Retreat
Women in The Bible
12:15 - Trinity Hall
Proceeds received from the GFS
Fun Fund Program are used to
help support the annual youth
summer mission trip.
JKC's Organization # 2324060
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