Entries Tagged as 'Uncategorized'

Foul Weather Policy

December 12th, 2010 · No Comments

Just a reminder of our storm cancellation policy.

If it is snowing actively at 8:00 am, then Sunday school is cancelled.

If conditions warrant it, worship will be canceled – that decision will be made by 8:30 am and will be communicated via email, website, television (channel 9 WMUR), and by phone chain if deemed necessary.

When in doubt–call the pastor.

And the best judge of whether to come to church in the snow is you–do what you need to do to be safe.

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November Calendar

November 4th, 2010 · No Comments

November 2010 Calendar

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August 2010 Newsletter Online now

August 9th, 2010 · No Comments

August 2010 Newsletter

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Worship Assistant Schedule June – Aug 2010

June 26th, 2010 · No Comments

Worship Assistant Schedule June – Aug 2010

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Worship Assistant’s Schedule January – June 2010

February 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

Here’s the Worship Assistant’s schedule for January – June   2010

Worship Assistant Schedule

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Foul Weather Protocol

December 19th, 2009 · No Comments

FYI:  Snow Policy

If there are several inches of snow on the ground Sunday morning (or expected to be), Sunday School will normally be canceled. An email will be sent to your address. Please be sure we have your latest address. You may also receive a phone call, and you can always check the website messiahnh.org for latest news. When in doubt, call the church or parsonage.

In the case of worship, a decision as to cancellation will be made by the pastor no later than 9 am. news of a cancellation will be given to WMUR channel 9. Again, when in doubt–check the website, your email, or call.

Please make your decision to come to church in the snow or stay home based solely on your safety. Church will be there next week!

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December 2009 & January 2010 Calendars

November 28th, 2009 · No Comments

The calendars are available now

December 2009 calendar (PDF)

January 2010 calendar (PDF)

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What was that again?

December 29th, 2008 · No Comments

Song lyrics can be very weird. Some either make no sense at all, or they’re so cryptic that they seem to make no sense. The 70s rock band “Yes” was infamous for these kinds of lyrics. Sample with me, if you please, a verse from one of their greatest hits:

Long distance runaround
Long time waiting to feel the sound
I still remember the dream there
I still remember the time you said goodbye
Did we really tell lies
Letting in the sunshine
Did we really count to one hundred

What was that again? It makes no sense!

Now compare those lyrics with this easy to understand refrain from a popular Beatles song:

She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah

She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah

She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah

That’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Who loves you? She does. It’s certainly not Longfellow, but it’s message is perfectly clear. Nothing weird or ambiguous about those words! The previous collection or words is a mystery—I once read that Rick Wakeman of Yes wrote lyrics based upon how the word sounded and would fit musically in the song. No thought towards message or meaning!

Luckily (or rather providentially), our hymnody is not like that. Oh, don’t get me wrong—there, in that cranberry red book lies a generous usage of obscure words and theological jargon, vague biblical references, and jumbled-up lines that deserve footnotes due to a loose use of syntax , also known as “artistic license.”

Take for quick example A Mighty Fortress. In the third verse we sing, “Let this world’s tyrant rage; in battle we’ll engage (all right so far). His might is doomed to fail; God’s judgment must prevail! One little word subdues him. Well—what’s the word?

Even those most beloved songs—the ones we sing at this time of year, Christmas carols—they have incomprehensible lyrics sometimes too. Sing with me for a bit if you please, number 267 Joy to the World, stanzas 1 and 3.

Did you pick up on the slightly mysterious parts? No more let sin and sorrow grow / or thorns infest the ground. Thorns in the ground – that’s one—and? The other is far as the curse is found. What’s that again? What do thorns and curses have to do with baby Jesus? Well, as with many good Christmas hymns, you have to know a bit of Old Testament scripture and theology in order to get this. God and the people of Israel had a kind of cyclical relationship that played out like this: God gives the law, the people break the law and suffer consequences, the people repent and God forgives. Often this relationship is allegorized as that between a land owner and his vineyard. The owner gives what the vines need for growth, the vines produce nothing or wild grapes—and they suffer the consequences—being lopped off and thrown in the fire, or complete destruction of the vineyard. That meant that weeds and scrub trees would take over the land, and oft times the angry owner would sow thorn seed to be thorough.

This snippet of verse three therefore, set up by Joy to the world, the Lord is come, refers to Jesus’ mission to forgive Israel and reverse the fortunes of the vineyard. As for the “curse,” it is placed in juxtaposition with the blessings that flow from Christ Jesus, like irrigation for the thirsty vineyard. The “blessing” is again, forgiveness—the curse, the consequences and results of sin.

Let’s sing another—270. For one, it’s the most mistaken bit of angelology ever. We know the names of several angels in the bible—Gabriel, Michael, the notorious Angel of the Lord who deals death blows to culpable parties—but did you know that there’s another? Harold. “Hark!” Harold the angel sings. But there’s a real complicated bit of theology in verse two—which we’ll sing now.

Veiled in flesh the God-head see, hail the incarnate deity. This whole verse tells us theological truths about Jesus, which is known as Christology. It starts off with a reference to Jesus being God’s beloved, moves on to calling him “everlasting’ and ‘Lord”—the first an attribute of God, the second a title which denotes power, Then quickly it talks about his virgin birth, before moving into the two persons of Christ. Flesh – in this case not meaning the part of us that pushes us to sin a la St. Paul. But rather, meaning here “humanity”—Jesus took on flesh, he became as real a human being as you and I.

Why does it say veiled, then—and what is this God-head? Is it like one of those Easter Island sculptures? No, “god-head” roughly means “God-ness.” The veil refers to the veil Moses wore to tone down the brilliant luminosity of his face after his encounter with YAHWEH. Or to the veil in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies, entered by humans only once a year, from the rest of the temple. So what this statement means is that God’s “godness” can actually be seen, made non-lethal and possible by enfleshment. So hail, incarnate deity!

A couple of quickies and then I’ll tie this and the gospel all together with a bow (or at least put it in a gift bag for you.) Number 281 first verse. (song) Easier to read with the lights on, ay? Silent might, holy night, all is calm, all is bright round yon virgin, mother and child—is that a commentary on Mary’s physique? That she’s round? I always thought so. Of course you would “translate” this poetry as “All is calm and bright around that virgin mother, and her child.”

Gloria in excelcis Deo—what does that mean? Glory to God in the highest.

What child is this who laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping? An awkward construction—William C. Dix would have got a zero from my old English teacher on that one. “Who is the child sleeping on Mary’s lap” is infinitely better, but alas lap doesn’t rhyme with “shepherds watch are keeping.” So we have what we have, and it’s good—as long as you take the time to understand the words that you’re singing.

And that’s an important responsibility we all take on when we open our hymn books. There’s good stuff within those hymns, but some of it takes a little interpretive work to get the most out of it. So, when you’re singing, keep your eyes and mind open, otherwise you’ll miss out!

Now the gospel. Mary and Joseph bring their baby to the temple for the customary ritual for firstborn male children. There they encounter an old man and an old woman who appear to know Jesus, despite the fact neither of them had ever laid eyes upon the child. They say some pretty strange and wonderfully shocking things. They couldn’t believe their ears. Simeon says,

My eyes have seen your salvation…what was that again?

A light for the gentiles…say what?

This child is destined for the fall and rise of many…come again?

He will be opposed…excuse me?

And a sword will pierce your soul…now wait just a minute!

But there is no break in the action as when Simeon finishes up, Anna starts in. Mary and Joseph knew the child was special—holy—but they could not have even dreamed of such a response from total strangers. The words they heard rushed over them and confused. They needed time to sort out the implications of these events—the angel’s visit, the shepherds calling Jesus king, and now these two religious people praising God that their wait for the Lord’s Messiah had come to an end as they held Mary’s boy child aloft. They needed to ponder these words.

And we do too. We need to hold the story of God’s incarnation in our hearts and minds for more than one fleeting day. Because there’s too much to it all to contemplate in that short a time period. We should be asking ourselves:

What does it mean for me that God chose to become human?

What does it say about God?

What is salvation and why does it come in the form of an infant?

What should we as the church do in response to the incarnation?

What is the sword that pierces our soul?

We should be taking time to fully understand the rich implications of Jesus’ birth—his humanity and his deity. So I’m going to make a suggestion. You’re no doubt familiar with and have suffered through that carol The Twelve Days of Christmas. Lo and behold, it’s not a list of presents given by a very creative gift-giver, but a way to remember that there are twelve days of Christmas –not just one.

Now we’re already on day four, but hopefully you had Christmas on your mind Christmas day, so we’re only lacking three. What I want you to do is to use that song in what ever way you deem fit, to keep thinking about the meaning of Christmas all the way up to Jan 5th . And then on the 6th, we’ll gather together and celebrate Epiphany.

For instance—knowing that Jesus was born into poverty and impoverished people need food—instead of five golden rings, you might send five dollars to World Hunger. Instead of seven swans a swimming you might try to name all the seven deadly sins and confess your own before the one born to die for them. You might choose the number in your family to help you recall that Jesus was born into a family and loved them just as we do.

Leave the holiday decorations up, make the wise men in your crèche travel across the living room on their way to Epiphany and the newborn king. Light candles. Drink eggnog. What ever helps you extend your musing on Christ’s birth. Kids, play with your new toys, and while you do, remember the gift Jesus gave to us all—himself. Let Christmas last longer than the leftover turkey in the fridge.

And sing carols—I know you may be tired of them—but I’m talking Angels we have heard on high, not Grandma got run over by a reindeer. Sing Joy to the world, good christian friends rejoice, and all the other hymns. Look deeply at the words—find the ones that make you say: what was that again? Discover their meaning.

But most of all, remember that even as the world goes on—leaving the peacefulness of Christmas behind—there is a savior who goes on with us. The world will never be the same again because he was born. Think about it.

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Newsletter for September 2008

August 28th, 2008 · No Comments

The September 2008 calendar and newsletter are available right now!

September Newsletter

September Calendar

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Photos of the first Camp out at Calumet

August 11th, 2008 · No Comments

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