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Pastor’s Pen January 7, 2016

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’”

Luke 2:15

         So this was Christmas. What happens now that the party is over? We take up our story this week with the baptism of Jesus, and then the words of Luke 3:23 which comes fast on the heels of the Christmas narrative. “Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work.” Theologian Howard Thurman issues an invitation to enter this work with Jesus in this way. "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

            We can see this aliveness in the saints of the church, in those persons through whom the Christ light eternally shines. We saw it in the life of Becky Woodman, a beloved member of our church who joined all the saints in light last evening on Epiphany. We will grieve her passing greatly, for she lived unashamed of the gospel and knew without question who’s she was and to whom she belonged.

            The Christmas season may now be ended, but the work of Epiphany is begun. It begins with the work of God breaking open the heavens, the star illumining every night, the promise that whether we live or whether we die we belong to Christ who is Lord of the living and the dead.

            We each in turn, with the days numbered for us, respond by our actions to God’s call and claim upon us through Christ. Jesus invites us to go with him now, away from the manger, away from Bethlehem, out into the world God made, to live for God’s sake as willing agents on behalf of God’s peaceable kingdom that is at hand.

           

"When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among people,

To make music in the heart."

                                    Howard Thurman

Prayer: Jesus me into your kingdom, O God. Create in me a new heart in this New Year, to follow you faithfully, and to serve you with single-minded commitment, that your will may be done on earth as in heaven. Amen

God’s Grace, Mercy and Peace,

Pastor Verlee

Please join the faith community of First Parish Congregational Church of York in a memorial service for Becky Woodman, to be held Saturday morning, January 16 at 11 a.m. with a reception to follow in Fellowship Hall.