Monday, December 31, 2012

Advent Prayer

We used this prayer, by Janet Morley, at our Christmas Eve services:
God our Deliverer, whose approaching birth still shakes the foundations of this world, may we so wait for your coming with eagerness and hope that we embrace without terror the labor pangs of the new age, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

More from Christmas Eve to come over the coming days. And, Happy New Year!

Recital

Thanks to Marsha for bringing her students to perform in recital here on 22 Dec, and to the Praise Team and others who helped out with the hospitality. It was a wonderful evening of Christmas music.

Bodies: Ready for Redemption (4)

Listen online or download Sunday messages, and here!
Christus Victor, the ancient blessing and sign
the entwined fingers, for the two natures
Two made one, perfectly
the miracle of conception, pregnancy, birth
a body that (ideally) manifests the love of mom and dad

What does the body of Jesus manifest?
Mystery: He became fully human, without ceasing to be fully God

Our bodies:
toilet paper, pepto bismol
tissues, allergy meds
Stephen Baxter, Ring, re human evolution, "will always have our plumbing"

Yet Mary hosted GOD in CHRIST
What does the body of Jesus manifest?
He loves human beings, and both brings glory to human bodies and finds glory in human bodies
practiced obedience to God, offered his body to God ... our potential!

The contrary story: Alien and Prometheus and pregnancies
DNA cannibalizes, parasite destroys the host

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Incognito: The Christmas Surprise

Join us on Christmas Eve! Bring a friend!

Come caroling at Victor's Italian Restaurant at noon.
Sing carols and light candles at the Grantley Fire House ambulance bay at 5:00 pm.
Celebrate our Family Christmas service at 7:00 pm at Bethany - with choir, bells, kids praise, band, percussion ensemble.
Reflect during our Service of Lessons and Carols at 11:00 pm.

Caroling


About 4 teams of 45 carolers sang to many of our homebound or grieving and caroled through our church neighborhood as well. Then, we finished up with a party at the Bohanan home. (Sunday Dec 16). Thanks to Michael for coordinating and recruiting!

I Heard the Bells

The Bethany Bells, playing in worship on Sunday December 16. They will also be playing on Christmas Eve at our 7:00 pm service.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baptism!


We celebrated the gift and promise of baptism this past Sunday. Congrats! And, thanks to Curvin for presenting and Tina for assisting.

Dance, then

Thanks to Lindsey for interpreting the words of Zephaniah in dance this past week!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Musicians Honored

One of our own Bethany young people, Morgan on clarinet, and Aileen's grandson Nate on trombone, are among the York Suburban students honored in District Band. Congrats!

Christmas Quartet

On a lighter note . . . thanks guys!

Visit from Santa



From the church Christmas party, on Dec 8. Thanks to Santa and his elves!

Root and Fruit: Ready for Redemption (3)

From Father Abraham to the Coming One, from Vipers to Baptism, and from orchard to field, John urges us all to be ready for Jesus.

Listen online to Sunday messages, and here!

Christmas Party



Thanks to the kitchen crew for the fabulous meal, including stuffing balls made with soft pretzels!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Holy Innocents, for Newtown CT

We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrant and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From The Book of Common Prayer, for December 28. For the Bible story, read Matthew 2.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Garito Wernerinski

Garito Wernerinski shared the stories of the stars as we prepare for the coming of Christ.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bishop Park responds to the Newtown, CT tragedy

"Comfort my people," says our God. "Comfort them!"
- Isaiah 40:1
"I will comfort you in Jerusalem, as a mother comforts her child."
- Isaiah 66:13

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

In the midst of the hope and peace of Advent and the anticipated celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our lives have once again been invaded by the horrible news of tragedy and death. I have a personal connection with Newtown, Connecticut where this indescribable tragedy occurred. My family and I lived in a nearby town, and I remember the time when I visited and worshiped in the Newtown United Methodist Church. There are no words to express our heartbroken sorrow for the loss of the innocent lives by this senseless killing. We resonate with the words of Jeremiah, repeated in Matthew, over the killing of innocent children by King Herod:

"A sound is heard in Ramah, the sound of bitter weeping.
Rachel is crying for her children."

Obviously, like Rachel, we weep for these children and their families. We are praying for them and for solace in their grief. We are praying for strength for the religious and civic leaders in the Newtown, Connecticut community as they, and their people, mourn and prepare to bury their loved ones and to support their grieving families. This tragedy raises for us many questions for which we have no immediate answers. However, this much we do know: our God cares and our God can comfort. We, as God's church, represent God's presence for such a time like this for we can be a part of God's healing and hope.

I am calling upon the pastors and the congregations of the Susquehanna Annual Conference to find a moment in this weekend's worship services to especially pray for these deceased children and adults, their families, and their community. Might we all take time to tell our children and loved ones how much they mean to us. Let us be people who show God's love of grace and peace as made known most vividly in the Christ child. Let us respond with grace to those persons who are hurting and need a helping hand. Amidst this season of light and joy, there are many individuals within our communities and churches that desperately yearn for a word of hope and an assurance that they are loved. God's grace and love ultimately triumphs over evil. So, let us be instruments of God's solution to a hurting world. May each of us this day, feel the support and nurture of the eternal grace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Jeremiah J. Park
Resident Bishop, Harrisburg Area

Moving Heaven, Moving Earth: Ready for Redemption #2

Listen online, and here!

Malachi 3.1-4, Luk3 3.1-6

Intro:
"all flesh shall see the salvation of God"

salvation:
repentance
baptism

mission: "shall see"
Invitation, John (model)
Inclusion, "All flesh"

both are collaborative
God in Christ is coming to us
we prepare, we "make him room"

1. Moving Heaven: Dear Santa (North Pole)
heaven comes to earth: "Prepare the way for the Lord"
moving heaven – back up the truck, call the movers
but God does the simple thing – bring nothing
otherwise, earth could not contain
God comes to earth, God moves heaven, by being stripped bare

Layette items, Baby Shower for Mary and Jesus


Hanging of the Greens





Enjoying a night of tradition - including a kiss under mistletoe - and cookies! Thanks to Ruth for putting everything together. (Dec 2)

Kids Praise - Christmas!

Kids Praise performed in the Celebrations service on Dec 2, and they will be back on Christmas Eve at our 7 pm Family Service.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Prayer Shawl

Thanks to those in the prayer shawl ministry for creating and praying over each shawl or lap blanket they create. Here's a pic of Nancy smiling with her shawl!

Tech for Tanzania

Great story that connects us, through Mission Central, with Lutheran ministry in Tanzania.
  

MISSION CENTRAL Tanzania Shipment Arrives
UPDATES on previously reported
stories:
Things continue to unfold in wonderful ways in Tanzania because
of so much kindness from Mission Central, Computer Ministry Inc.
and UMCOR. I hope you enjoy these pictures, the summary and
the email from Bishop Israel-Peter Mwakyolile.

University status is in place and 300 student arrive this Saturday.
The computers and all of your help were game-changers that
continue to bring life and hope. Thanks for all that you do!

Randy Barr

tech4Tanzania (history)
-------------------------------------



Friday, December 7, 2012

Jolly Old St. Nick

From Common Prayer, Dec 6:
The original "Old St. Nick" who inspired the tradition of Santa Claus, Nicholas was bishop of Myra in fourth-century Turkey. Little is known about his life except that he entrusted himself to Jesus at an early age and, when his parents died, gave all of their possessions to the poor. While serving as bishop, Nicholas learned of three girls who were going to be sold into slavery by their father. Moved to use the church's wealth to ransom the lives of these little ones, he tossed three bags of gold through the family's window. We recall this ancient Christmas gift, even as we remember that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year in the global sex trade today. (By Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro. Copyright 2010 by The Simple Way and School for Conversion. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Alarm: Ready for Redemption #1

Listen online, and here!

 
Jeremiah 33.14-16 (branch), Luke 1.68-79, Luke 21.25-36, 1 Thessalonians 3.12-13
 
Story: Christmas Eve at the Grantley
The "little apocalypse" (a feature of the final discourse of Jesus in the synoptic gospels)
Fear? No
"Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Lk 21.28)
"Proximity detector" for Jesus’ coming
Story: New car and the alarm system
First purpose of alarms: be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down by dissipation, drunkenness, and worries of this life (Lk 21.34)
Wake up
dissipation (pleasure)
drunkenness (addiction)
worries (anxiety, obsession, compulsion)
often rooted in a "good" that is twisted
A period of great stress in my life ... Robin sounded the alarm.
For the sake of what is less important, we too easily lose connection with what is most important. That’s why we need alarms. We are sleep walking away from God – God’s love, God’s purpose for our lives – and we need an alarm to wake us up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

From Bishop Park: Hurricane Sandy Relief

A letter from Bishop Jeremiah Park:
 
Dear Friends & Colleagues,

First and foremost, let me express my sincere thanks for your prompt and significant response to the devastating effects of Super Storm "Sandy." Once again the connection of our church is a wonderful gift in the midst of tragedy and loss.

I am writing to provide you with an update and make an additional appeal for your consideration. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief has done their initial assessment of the situation and has determined that the recovery from this disaster will take approximately 3-4 years to complete. This means that our response will be ongoing as we provide a helping hand to those in need.

At a recent meeting of the Northeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops, we determined that the focus of our efforts will be centered on the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. The devastation there is significant and, after nearly a month, is still being assessed. Yet, we know already that there are critical needs that must be addressed.

What Is Truth?

The message by Tina Ness on Sunday 28 Nov in our 9:00 Traditions service, from John 18.31-38 (no audio available):

There Pilate is standing before Jesus, the Son of God – one who just said He came into the world to testify to the truth and Pilate asks that question – “What is truth?”

What is Truth?

This is the question that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate asked Jesus of Nazareth about 2,000 years ago.  He does not accept the charges of "the Jews" but neither will he listen to the voice of Jesus. He does not recognize truth. 

Had he not been listening to any of the teachings of Jesus?
Has he not seen all that Jesus had done in ministry – on the streets and in the sanctuary?

The lame to walk.  The blind to see.  The lost found.  His love abound.

 His offering of peace that passes understanding.

Pilate’s response is tragic. What is truth?

It is phrased as a question, but it is really an admission of complete cynicism. He does not ask, “What is the truth?” Such a question would indicate that Pilate believes in truth but does not know what the truth is.

Mission on the Margins


Wonderful story of mission and church among brokenness and across boundaries, from Swansea, England. For more stories, check out Fresh Expressions in the United Kingdom.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mission Recognition

This past Sunday, Tina Ness was recognized with the annual Mission Recognition (a mission gift in her honor) of the United Methodist Women. Tina also brought the message in the 9:00 Traditions service. Thanks Tina!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Craft Bazaar ... still for sale!




Going once . . . going twice . . . .  Tomorrow from 8-3 is the finale of the bazaar. Check out these items, still available - along with much else!

Christmas Craft Bazaar Fun



Great fun, lots of laughs, and even a Santa's Secret Shop for the kids!

Christ the King!

This past Sunday in our 11:15 Celebrations service, Robin Bohanan spoke on "Christ the King", particularly from John 18:33-37. Her notes follow. Listen online to Robin's message, and here!
King – when you hear this word what images/thoughts come to your mind? 
Our Psalm today reflects these images –
Lord Reigns
Clothed with Majesty
Girded with Strength
Creator of the world/life – power
Throne established
Heralded – loud waters – flood of waters
Hurricane Sandy in New York/New Jersey – older couple who were rescued; stayed due to wife’s Alzheimer’s – never heard anything like this
Mighty
Testimonies confirmed
Holiness befits thy house
Today is CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY –
The Psalmist presents us with the image of God as King – everything we expect in our King, our God. 
But the Gospel lesson takes us to the unexpected – to the cross.  Why is this?  We are looking for Christ the King; not Jesus the crucified man.
The Scripture today is taken from John 18: 33-37
When I realized that this was the Gospel lesson of today – I thought what are they thinking?  This is a scene in an entire story, a play if you will.  Why only focus on a few verses, one scene?

AIDS Stigmas Remain

For World AIDS Day (Dec 1), a story from The Interpreter, the official magazine of The United Methodist Church which is also available for free on-line subscription:

Can you get AIDS from a mosquito bite? How about eating food prepared by someone who has the disease? Or drinking after someone who is HIV-positive?

The Rev. Deborah Tanksley-Brown says some people still believe the answer to those questions is yes, despite all the information known about HIV/AIDS.

And without the facts, she says, people who don't have the disease are at risk of contracting it and those who do face stigmas that can isolate them from family, friends and faith communities.

See the entire article.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Decoration Day






Christmas decorating on Nov 24. Thanks to all those who helped out!

Learning Center Thanksgiving Feast





A wonderful feast for kids, teachers, and families on the Wednesday before the holiday!