First Sunday after Christmas
December 27, 2020
Prelude — Linus & Lucy, played by Ezra Kauffman
Candle Lighting Liturgy, read by Abby Foster & Tyler Burkhart (from A Sanctified Art, “Those Who Dream”)
We believe in telling the story
The story of a loving and merciful God,
Who will not let God’s people go;
The story of a baby who grew up and changed the world;
The story of our faith.
We believe in speaking up—
For our neighbors,
For the oppressed,
For the overlooked
We believe in speaking out—
We believe in passing the mic—
So that we are not the only ones speaking,
So that we can lift up the voices of those around us,
So that we too might listen and learn.
We believe in the good news of the gospel.
We believe that this good news is too good to keep to ourselves.
We believe that those who dream cannot keep silent.
Speak to us, Holy God.
Speak through us, Holy God.
May it be so,
Welcome— Good morning and welcome to worship. This past week, we’ve stepped away a couple of times to take a holy pause together: last Sunday for the Christmas program, then on Christmas Eve, and now again this morning – the first Sunday after Christmas. It’s good to be together in this time, to meet God and one another.
Call to Worship
One: Here on the heels of Christmas,
All: We speak of love.
One: We speak of joy.
All: We speak of candle light and fireside.
One: We speak of dreams being fulfilled.
All: We speak of “glorias” and angel choruses.
One: We speak the words, “Do not be afraid.”
All: Here on the heels of Christmas,
We are called to speak,
for the world needs a light.
One: A light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness does not overcome it.
All: Let us worship and listen.
Then, let us speak.
Good Christian friends, rejoice, HWB #210, CMCL congregational singing from Christmas Eve, 2019
Hark, the herald angels sing HWB #201, CMCL congregational singing from Christmas Eve, 2018
Children’s Time — Malinda Clatterbuck reads Keepers, by Jeri Hanel Watts & Phylicia Marshall
Offering —Thank you for your continued support of your congregation. Our budget supports our staff, our building, our congregational care, and our outreach commitments. We are grateful that this community can be a place to seek and give mutual aid and to reach out beyond our community, too. Thanks so much for being the church and giving to the work of the church.God of today and tomorrow,
That your dreams are for justice and peace for all.
And we know
That those who dream your dreams cannot keep silent.
As we offer our gifts and lives to you today,
Give us eyes to see you, we pray.
Give us courage to trust you.
And give us lips to speak of you in our midst.
With gratitude and hope, we pray.
Amen.(Adapted from Those Who Dream worship materials)
Scripture— Luke 2:22-40
Reflections from two of “Those Who Dream” at CMCL — This Advent, we have been invited to dream. To share God’s dream of a beloved community, even in a time that often feels like a nightmare. To pay attention to the dreams of others — those who experience the world differently than ourselves. To honor the wisdom and guidance in our own dreams. So, this week, two CMCLers have agreed to share some of their experiences with dreams: how they honor dreaming as a practice and how they engage with their dreams. Jerry Lee Miller and Melissa Stock will be sharing. We hope their sharing might be a prompt for whatever dreamwork you all have been doing this month, this year.
Reflection 1: Jerry Lee Miller
I first encountered The Man in White Shoes in a dream.
Here’s the dream:
I am seated at a table in a restaurant. A woman hidden from my view is with me, seated on my left.
The waiter comes to our table and asks if we have decided on dessert yet. “Remind us of the book title,” I request. (Dessert in this restaurant is a book). “Crossroads of Desire.” he answers.
My companion immediately says “Yes!”
I think to myself “That doesn’t sound like the kind of book I usually read. Besides, if it’s good my companion will tell me and then I can borrow her copy.” So I answer “No thanks.”
The entire time we are in the restaurant I am only aware of 1 other person, The Man in White Shoes. He continuously glides across the floor without a sound, wearing spotless white shoes. He reaches a wall, pivots and glides back the other way as if he’s riding on a cushion of air. He reaches the other wall, pivots and glides back to the first wall again. Over and over. He says nothing. He is graceful. He is steady.
Awakening, I grab my dream journal. I write the date November 1st-2019 on the page. I decide the title of the dream is “Crossroads of Desire” so I write that.
Then I go through a few more steps to guide me in processing my dream.
Are there any connections to my waking life?
I have never heard of this book. I have never had an experience quite like this dream. Of course I have eaten in restaurants and expect to do so again.
What questions would I like answered if I could speak to the dream producers?
Why would the waiter offer us a book for dessert?
What’s the deal with the white shoes? Who is my dining companion, why is she hidden from my view and what is our dinner conversation about? Where did the book title come from?
Next, I need to come up with an action to honor this dream.
I decide I will look up ‘Crossroads of Desire” online to see if it exists. Secondly I will ask people today for the title of 1 book they have found particularly meaningful.
2 weeks pass.
The pain I’ve had in my feet for awhile is now growing worse. Recalling my dream, I say to myself “I wish I could glide along effortlessly like The Man in White Shoes.” I then schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. He tells me to get some shoes that give me more cushion.
So I go shoe shopping and the shoes with the most cushion happen to be a very bright white. So I become a man with white shoes, but who does not glide.
Also at this time, the book I’m reading is Wanda Burch’s “She Who Dreams”. Wanda relates her struggle to become free from breast cancer. She achieves this by following conventional medicine plus using healing meditations or visualizations which she creates out of images from her own dreams.
Following Wanda’s suggestions, I too create a healing visualization.
Here it is:
I see myself at Philadelphia’s 30th street Station. I’m riding up the escalator from the train platform to the main floor and I’m wearing white shoes. When I get to the top of the escalator I begin gliding as though the escalator turned into a moving sidewalk. I glide out the door, across the street into the subway station and glide on to the subway train.
I glide off the subway again in south Philly and continue gliding 2 blocks to my daughter’s house. I glide up the steps and through the front door. It is our 2019 family Christmas celebration and my feet are pain free.
I replay this scene in my mind’s eye several times daily. When the time for our family’s 2019 Christmas celebration comes, my feet are pain free just like in my visualization.
If you need healing images look to your own dreams first. But if you so desire, feel free to call upon The Man in White Shoes for added assistance. He is agile and he is adaptable.
the path to heaven doesn’t
lie down in flat miles.
It’s in the imagination with which
you perceive the world, and the
gestures with which you honor it.
—Mary Oliver, “The Swan”
Reflection 2: Melissa Stock — “Journey of Grief, Journey of Growth”
Sharing Time— Email your prayer requests or reflections (or any dreams you’ve been dreaming!) to email@example.com. They will be sent out by email by Monday morning.
You have been faithful;
You have been good.
You have shown us Your love –
not just in the year that is past,
but through all the years of our lives.
You are faithful;
You are good.
You put family around us
and comfort us with friends.
You touch us through the thoughtfulness
and warmth of other people.
You are faithful;
You are good.
In darkness, You are our light;
in adversity, our rock of strength.
You are faithful;
You are good.
Thanks be to you, O God.
(Adapted from “A Covenant Service”, Celtic Daily Prayer, 240-241)
Closing Hymn— Benediction, by Edmonds Music Collective
May the light of Christ lead you out in hope.
May the hope of Christ give you peace.
May the peace of Christ lead you out in joy,
Now and forevermore. Amen.
Benediction— Hear now this benediction using the words of Howard Thurman:
Go now in strength and hope to be light in the world.
May our lives be:
Candles of joy, despite all sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all our living,
Candles that will burn all the year long.
-Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas & Other Celebrations
Worship Leader: Leslie Homer-Cattell
Reflections: Jerry Lee Miller & Melissa Stock
Advent Wreath Candle Lighting & Reading: Abby Foster & Tyler Burkhart
Special Music: Luke Good, Leon Miller, Ken Nissley, Amanda Stoltzfus, Ron Umble
Tech Host: Drew Brubaker