Sat., Dec. 15
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
to our FREE
This is the parking lot for "raw text" from Jeff Gill, a pastor, mediator, and freelance writer in Granville OH; contact -- knapsack77_at_gmail_dot_com. What you read here may not be what runs each week; copy editors often (usually) write their own headline. "Faith Works" in Sat. Newark Advocates, and "Notes" in the Granville Sentinel, both published by the Media Network of Central Ohio (www.centralohio.com), which has nothing to do with this blog/website! Plus, occasional bloggage...
Sat., Dec. 15
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
to our FREE
Faith Works 12-8-12
Apocalyptarama, in VistaVision!
You'd be surprised how much I don't want to write this column.
I've known for years, quite a few years, actually, that someday I would have to address this subject. I'm willing to talk about just about subject relating to faith and life, but sometimes I just want to throw up my hands and walk away.
But since my editorial commission in this space is to write and think broadly about how faith is at work in the lives of central Ohioans, I have no choice but to speak now, with very little time to spare, about a subject of great controversy.
What I mean is 12-21-2012.
You may know it as the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the solar year on Earth, when the sun rises the furthest south on your eastern horizon, crosses the sky the lowest it will go, and sets frighteningly early at the southern point of the western set-points.
After about Dec. 25 (the solstice, or "stand still of the sun" means the sun's rise point stays put for a few days, as opposed to moving a smidge every day as it does except at the Summer & Winter Solstices) our days will start getting imperceptibly longer again, and by the end of January you realize that dawn is indeed creeping earlier, and the light is a bit brighter even at noon.
But on this longest night, we're all feeling the weight of darkness and a bit of the ol' seasonal affective disorder. If you are dealing with trauma and sadness in your life, the joy all around you in the community can itself feel like a burden.
That's why some churches, my own Newark Central among them, hold a "Longest Night" service on or around Dec. 21 (ours is 7:00 pm that Friday night) for people who need a quieter, more solemn remembrance of the Christmas celebration.
What will get even more attention is not the annual solstice or services for the season, but The End of the World. Not "the end of the world," but The End of the World. The Mayans predicted it, right?
Actually, no. Aside from the fact that most of the gags you see online and in comics are based on the round Aztec calendar stone from Mexico City, the Mayan calendar probably, but not definitely, simply marks a change of eras on this date. Or it may be calling for that change somewhere around the year 30,012. Scholarly opinion differs.
There was a silly movie with planes flying under bridges and the Himalayas collapsing under the seas with the Mayans having accurately predicted the shift of tectonic plates tied to the flip of magnetic poles or something. Yes, the magnetic poles of this planet have flipped, and will flip again, but if it happened tomorrow, you would likely be disappointed . . . or pleased. I think. Anyhow, it's not clear how it would impact electronics, but it would make it hard for Boy Scouts learning map and compass, while affecting the crust of the planet not a whit.
I didn't comment on the movie then, and I've been avoiding the subject of 2012 all through . . . 2012. It's been a subject kicked around for literally decades, this Mayan apocalypse, and it has largely turned into a self-referential joke, which is all it deserves.
Some are taking it "seriously" in the sense of a prediction from a native, indigenous wisdom tradition that the solstice ending 2012 is a key time for a spiritual renewal and a need for us to respect life and our global ecosystem. You'll get no argument from me on that!
But when the agitated edges of the remaining anxious apocalypticism lead people to vandalize ancient artifacts in the name of "saving the planet" from technology or some other modern bugaboo, I hate to even condemn for fear of just adding fuel to the fire.
No, I don't think the world is ending on Dec. 21. Nor is Jesus returning on any date predicted by someone with a TV show and PO box, nor is the Number of the Beast telling me anything about how to live. What I do like is the punchline on the best Mayan apocalypse comic, which uses an image of the Aztec calendar, but has a carver saying "I only had enough room to go up to 2012."
His buddy answers "Ha! That'll freak someone out someday."
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor; tell him your expectations of the world's end at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.
The Newark Christian
Serving God's Transformation of Licking County
Vol. LXXIII December 5, 2012 No. 37
After 8:30 & 10:30 am worship
Sunday, Dec. 9th
One of the distinctive elements of our Disciples of Christ tradition is that the members of the church have the opportunity each year to vote on the officers of the congregational leadership team, and the church budget. This is an opportunity that is not the case in every denomination, and our work together in seeking God's vision for this body of believers is shown, in part, by this annual congregational meeting.
Of course, we meet and plan and fellowship and decide in many other times and settings, but there is both a practical and symbolic value to what we do every year in the congregational meeting.
Please plan to stay for a brief period following the benediction this Sunday; guests and visitors are welcome to stay and witness how we do this, or may leave, but we do encourage all members to plan to participate!
On Sunday, Dec. 9 all youth ages 5 and up are invited to meet at the church from 1:30-4:30 p.m. We will be watching a Christmas movie and enjoying tasty refreshments. The youth will receive a small Christmas gift. In addition, the youth will play games, make crafts, and also listen to Christmas songs performed by Vintage Voices. Please bring a game and a drink to share with everyone. Until then get ready to experience the Christmas Spirit.
Samantha (call office)
Vintage Voices Return for Holiday Concert
The Vintage Voices will again be presenting their Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3:30 p.m. in our sanctuary. Please come and enjoy a delightful seasonal performance by this
local choral ensemble.
Plan to participate in the Live Nativity this year. It is Saturday, December 15 from 6-9 p.m. There are no lines to memorize, just follow the prompts from the Christmas story, which is recorded. The sign-up sheet is on the Welcome Center or call Ron or Carol Thompson at (call office). We need two sets of characters to take alternating shifts. One shift will be on the hour and one on the half hour. We need adults, youth and children. Hope you can be part of this fun and important event or come to the parking lot and enjoy the presentation. Invite your friends and neighbors!
Youth All Christian Skate Night
On Monday, December 17 all youth ages 5 and up should meet at the church from 6:15-8:15 p.m. Skating admission is free thanks to Betty Lou and Larry Iden, In line skates are $1.00 and any money needed at the consession stand. We will have devotions at 7:30 at the skating rink. Until then get ready to play the number game!
Thanks to all who participated in our recent Christmas Child Shoebox Project. This year we collected a total of 24 shoeboxes. The boxes were full of many fun gifts and will definitely delight a child this Christmas. What a great way to reach out and spread the love of Jesus!
With much appreciation, Outreach CommitteeYouth SEE the LIGHTS at the ZOO...
On Friday, Dec. 21 all youth ages 5 and up are invited to meet at the church from 4:30-9:00 p.m. We will be traveling to the Columbus Zoo. Please dress warm for the weather (gloves, thermal underwear, hats, coats, etc), bring $7.00 and money to eat at McDonalds. Parents and Chaperones are encouraged to attend and help drive. Please see Samantha for details. Until then get ready to for Christmas fun at the ZOO!
Samantha (call office)Neighborhood Caroling
Come one; come all to sing lots of Christmas carols throughout the neighborhood. We will meet at the church December 9 at 6:00 and walk in our area to sing our favorite carols. Dress warmly, wear comfortable boots or shoes and join the fun. We will return to the church for coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies.Notes From My Knapsack
Christmastime is filled with opportunities to give.
That's preacher-speak for "you get asked to give to lots of stuff"!
It's true, whether in church life or in the community, the end of the calendar year is filled with all sorts of appeals and requests and urgent notifications of the needs of non-profits and helping agencies all around (not to mention your college alumni associations).
It can feel overwhelming, and someone coined the phrase "compassion fatigue" which neatly sums up what can happen as you open your mail at home or click around on the internet.
The Bible, on the other hand, says "And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)
We already know, as Christians, that you don't earn your way into God's love, but it is given us freely -- that's grace! But our response to God's grace is an important form of witness that the world watches for from we who believe. So when you pile up those request envelopes and cards of reminder to give to this or that, give thanks first of all that you have the ability to give anything, anything at all. Figure out, using your personal budget (you've got a budget, right?) what you can give and how that fits into your general witness of stewardship -- how you use what God has blessed us with -- and then work with that number, and the requests you've received.
Yes, it can be hard, but if guilt is your main feeling when you honestly sit down and look at what's before you, then you need to work on where the guilt's coming from! If you need to give more in general, that's between you and God, but when you know in your heart and your pocketbook what you're supposed to share with others, it's a real adventure to look at where and how you'll give, and ask "how does this work reflect the values and priorities I feel God is calling me to embody and share and represent, in my own life?"
When you give to the Christmas offering (envelopes on the Welcome Center!), it's a chance to support the wider work of the Disciples around the US & Canada. When you decide which helping and healing ministries you want to affirm with your gifts, it's a chance to make clear to the world where your heart is; or as I mentioned last Sunday with Bob Pierce of WorldVision, "Let my heart be broken by the things which break the heart of God."
Enjoy the process of deciding where your blessings will go, and finally: pray for them to bear fruit, and to show grace where you can't be yourself! That's where you really feel the hand of God at work in the whole process of giving.
Joys and Concerns
In grace and peace, Pastor Jeff
December 9 - "Bringing the baby home, part 2",
December 16 - "Bringing the baby home, part 3",
Luke 3: 7-18
December 23 - "Bringing the baby home, part 4",
Luke 1: 46-55
December 24 – Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at 6:30
To my church family...
It meant so much to be remembered with cards on my birthday and while I was in the hospital. I very much appreciate the love and care that went into the gifts that the youth group brought me. What a treat it was to have the children visit me! It's always such a joy to hear from my church family and I thank you for thinking of me.
Daily Scripture Readings
Dec 3 Psalm 119: 105-112
4 Luke 12: 22-31
5 Matthew 18: 15-20
6 Romans 8: 5-14
7 Matthew 2: 1-15
8 Romans 12: 4-13
9 Luke 1: 5-24, 57-80
10 Psalm 126: 1-6
11 Acts 2: 41-47
12 1 Thessalonians 5: 14-18
13 Ephesians 2: 4-10
14 Matthew 1: 18-25
(Taken from The Upper Room)
Thanks to all who came to decorate the church for the Christmas Season! We appreciate your help. Once again we are blessed by the artistic talents of Dennis Kohler. We especially appreciate all the time and effort he put into making all new chrismons and poinsettias for the large Christmas tree in the sanctuary. Then he spent hours decorating it so beautifully. Thanks, Dennis!
As fellowship chairman, I would like to thank everyone who helped plan, prepare, and serve the church Thanksgiving dinner so that Bob and I could go to North Carolina to spend time with our children. We really appreciate all of you making it possible.
Linda and Bob JewellUpper Room Devotionals
…is selling pecans again this year at the following prices: Mammoth halves $8.75 per pound and medium broken pieces $8.25 per pound. To order, please contact Cynthia Rarick at (call office).
Food Pantry Collection…
…will be Sunday, December 16. Food and basic hygiene items are needed. You also can make a financial donation which the food pantry can use to purchase supplies at a greatly discounted price. Please give as you can!
Live view of Banff & Cascade Mtn. from