Congratulations and thank you to all!
OSA's Sunday School, with the help of family and friends, has raised $600 to purchase farm animals, seeds, and fish through the ELCA's Good Gifts catalog!
Congratulations and thank you to all!
Happy Christmas to you all – not from New York, but a little village of about 450 near Banbury in Oxfordshire, quite a change from Bennett Avenue where far more lived in the apartment building across the street!
Dear People of God
In December – which in our faith communities we call Advent – we prepare with joy (and sometimes with trepidation) to celebrate the Christ-Mass, the birth of Jesus. We prepare in many ways: some by heading to the stores to buy, buy and buy until exhausted; some by planning a trip home to family; some by bringing out the heirloom crèche and decorations; and some by quietly reflecting upon hopes for themselves, family, friends, and the world.
Amidst this preparation comes the Word of scripture that in a manner so common and yet so unique the Word of Hope, the Word of Joy, the Word of Family, the Word of Life has come and is even now in the world. Jesus, born of Mary, discloses to the world that the Word has flesh and blood and through flesh and blood the world will know the depth and breadth of love. The Word reveals to us and in us what we always have been and shows us how to live fully into our potential as children of God, born of God. God redeems what God takes on. Even more radical: what God takes on becomes part of God.
This Advent practice being a part of God: in your frantic shopping smile at your fellow bargain hunters and cashiers; buy an extra gift for Toys 4 Tots or the food pantry at Emmaus House; when traveling home give everyone you know a greeting and hug of great warmth – they are family; when setting up that crèche, whether heirloom or newly purchased, do so by bringing to mind what each piece represents; and when sitting quietly meditate upon how the Word brings life and meaning and joy and hope to your every moment.
We are children of God. God – truth, love, justice, mercy – comes alive through us! May our Advent journey bless us as we gather on Sundays at 11:00 AM or Thursdays at 7:00 PM for worshipping our Lord. Pausing in Advent to intentionally love God, we gain a deeper understanding of the majesty, mercy, and mystery of God.
Dear People of God
I keep trying to put some words of wisdom on paper, but my thoughts are all jumbled. Coming back to NYC from a lovely cruise to Bermuda, my wife and I (along with millions in the tri-state area and beyond) had our lives turned upside down with SuperStorm Sandy. We’re more fortunate than most of our neighbors as we never lost electricity. Even now as I’m writing I hear Mayor Blumberg providing another update on recovery/repair operations: Alleluia! It seems as subways are returning on a limited basis. Nature’s power has jumbled our life and it will take a long time (much like with the 2008-9 Great Recession) to put the pieces back together. Nevertheless, as we sang on Reformation Sunday, we have the eternal Word:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;
though its waters rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Then the coming election adds to my jumbled thoughts. Although we’re spared endless ads in this “non-battle ground” city we know this is an important election. There is a cultural tension between communal support and individual initiative. Sadly it seems our choice this time is between the two when it should be a celebration of both. Our lives need creative, energetic individuals providing solutions to our problems and goals for our nation. And we need to work together to implement them. We must have both private and public sectors.
On November 1 we remember the saints of the church. All Saints Day celebrates the baptized people of God, living and dead, who make up the body of Christ. Many saints are individuals whose lives are an example for being God’s Hands doing God’s Work. And many saints gathered others into communities to have an immense impact for good and holy life in God’s creation. We memorialize both private and public saints
As we are pulled forward by our God into the work set for us may we celebrate the gifts each of us have been given and exercise them for the well-being of God’s creation. Some of us are gifted to lead, motivate or guide others in our communal journey. Some of us are gifted with skills that sustain our community in worship and service: we sing, we bake bread for our Lord’s Meal, we tend the garden that brings delight to our neighbors, we visit the sick. Growing as a disciple of our Lord – being pulled forward by God – means we give away our gifts so others experience the joy of receiving.
In November our Lord’s disciples gathered around his Word and Meal at Our Saviour’s Atonement are invited to fill out and return to church a Commitment Card indicating their support of his ministry through OSA in the year ahead. During this time of pastoral transition your financial support is vitally important. Please consider growing your giving by one percent of your income. Gathering each disciple’s gifts into communal ministry will enable OSA to provide a strong foundation for new ministry with your next pastor.
Sovereign of the universe, your first covenant of mercy was with every living creature. When your beloved Son came among us, the waters of the river welcomed him, the heavens opened to greet his arrival, the animals of the wilderness drew near as his companions. With all the world's people, may we who are washed into new life through baptism seek the way of your new creation, the way of justice and care, mercy and peace, being your hands doing your work; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. (ELW)
In the Name of our Lord
Pr. Bill Eggers, Coverage Pastor
A Visit with the Lawlesses by Eleanor Hill
In front of Shakespeare's home
A month spent in England would not be complete without a stop at the Lawless family compound. I was in London to write, to experience the culture, the Olympics, and of course, a home cooked meal from Lois Ann. My class and I were staying in London, so finding the time and the energy to take the 45 minute train ride to Banbury was hard, but well worth it.
Aboard the train I told them stories about Domingo Gordo, Christmas, and the amazing garden Lois Ann had built. Cassie and Joanna, my travel mates, are Agnostic and Conservative Jewish History majors (respectively) – so I knew they would have plenty to talk to Barrie about. We met them at the train station, the couple just as bright and warm as always, I no longer felt like a stranger in a foreign country.
These images and more are available at WHIN's Facebook page!