At the Table: A Picnic

Sometimes when we meet a person outside of the usual context we might not recognize them. For example, when we encounter the doctor's receptionist at the grocery, we might not recall their name or recognize them at all! Then when they speak, or smile, or extend their hand, the familiarity of those actions place the person for you. Suddenly you remember exactly who they are! Following Jesus' death, no one expected to see him again. Even those closest to him did not understand that he would return, nor what that experience would be like. So when Jesus shows up to walk with two of his followers on the road to Emmaus, they don't recognize him. Only when Jesus performs the familiar act of breaking bread and offering wine to them do they realize who they are with. In Scripture Jesus often revealed himself at the table. He does the same today. Come, have a seat, meet the Master. Worship Link:

At the Table: A Wedding Banquet

Some of our most memorable experiences with friends and family, even strangers, have been around a table. The relaxed conversation shared over good food has a way of drawing us closer together. As we tell stories, hear about the lives of others, ask thoughtful questions, and wonder about life together, we develop deep connections that sustain us when we are away from the table. Jesus knew the power of the table. A close look at the stories of Jesus in the Bible reveals that he spent a great deal of time at the table with all kinds of people. It was there that people were welcomed, fed, loved, encouraged, and even challenged sometimes. It was there that community developed and outsiders found their place. It was at the table that Jesus revealed who he was. Worship Link:

Merry Christmas! Thank you for joining us in worship to celebrate this very special day. Whenever you are engaging this Christmas Day worship experience, may you know in abundance, the joy, peace, hope, and love of this season! Hear now, the story - the action and movement of God - that we celebrate today... Worship Link:

Welcome to Christmas Eve, Candles & Carols Celebration! Worship Link:

The Christmas season is one of many joys and wonders. Family gatherings, parties with friends and coworkers, decorations, gift giving and receiving, special food, beautiful decorations, and all the lights, celebrate Jesus' birth! If it seems a little over the top, maybe that's because it is! What else can we do to honor the God of abundant provision, generous love, and beauty beyond anything we could imagine ourselves? As God's goodness shines through the darkness of December in the child of Jesus, may our gratitude and thanksgiving shine God's love into a dark world - in our Christmas observances and in all we say and do through this special season and beyond! Worship Link:

When you think of Advent, your mind might not immediately go to John the Baptist, but this saintly prophet plays a pivotal role in the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. He was the herald, the forerunner who spoke about Jesus’ coming deliverance. No one does a greater job living for and preparing others for Christ than this saint. His entire life, mission, words, and works were breathing examples that pointed, not to himself, but to Jesus. In the midst of our own Advent journeys, there is no better exemplar who can show us the way. John the Baptist was known for his simplistic clothing as he proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. What will you wear this week, and how will you proclaim the good news as you point the way to Jesus? Worship Link:

Christmas in Plain Sight: Advent 2

The happy season of Christmas is upon us! Everywhere around us is joy and merriment and fun and frolicking! And we are so glad to join in with glad hearts... unless we aren't. For many, the joy around us puts our own pain, heartache, and hurt into stark contrast. For many, loss and troubles seem all the more poignant when placed against all the hype and happiness of the season. The good news of Christmas, though, is that the season is not one of superficial optimism. It is one of eternal, tenacious hope. Jesus came to us not because the world is already full of peace, hope, joy, and love. Jesus came to bring light to those who sit in deep darkness. Be at peace if you are not happy this season, Jesus came especially to be with you. Worship Link:

There is so much to enjoy about the Christmas season! The music, the gatherings, the gifts! And of course, the decorations! Some start to decorate the day after Halloween. Others have traditions of bedecking on Thanksgiving, or December 1, or even Christmas Eve. We put up trees, string lights on the house, and as a way to welcome family, friends, and travelers, we festoon our gates and doors with garland, wreaths, and holly. It is through these entryways that those we love most come home for the holidays, our friends enter and become family, and people join us in celebrating all that is wonderful about the season. When those within and those without come together, love is shared, joy is spread, and we are changed. As we welcome others in - as we are welcomed in - we can proclaim with the biblical writers, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Worship Link:

Yay, God!

Grandparents used to have "Brag Books" to show off their grandchildren. These small photo albums were always nearby to show a friend, family member - or complete stranger - how cute and accomplished their grandchildren were. Today we have Facebook, Instagram, and smartphone photos always at our fingertips to show off kids', grandkids', pets', and even our own best and brightest moments. The only "Brag Book" God has is God's people who tell the stories of God's good work in their lives and in the world. Thanksgiving Sunday (November 20) we "Praise God for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!" (Psalm 150:2 NRSV) as we brag on God's good work in and through the people of Union Chapel Indy... Worship Link:

Don't Forget to Remember!

The older we get, and the busier we get, the more we seem to forget. What was I supposed to pick up at the grocery on my way home? Why did I come into the kitchen? What are the names of the new neighbors we just met last night? We bemoan the state of our memories and employ all sorts of tricks to help us remember, including asking the people around us to remind us and help us remember. But we don't just forget details and tasks of our daily lives. We also tend to forget really important and helpful things, like how very good God is and all that God has done for us and God's promise to always be with us. Don't forget to remember all God's mighty work on your behalf. Because what God has done, God can do again. (Read Mark 8:14-21. Recall one time when God abundantly provided for a need you had.) Worship Link:

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