Sun, Nov 22 Gratitude Reflection

Give thanks for what is old. Appreciate what has matured and seasoned. Take notice of lives and perspectives made venerable through insight and experience.

Focus on an object, an artifact, whose purpose has become obscure or obsolete, but which is beautiful for its own sake, as a work of engineering and art. Appreciate an antique for its vintage status, for its rarity, for its implicit value. Get to know the history of what is old. Tell that story. Learn from it.

After all, what is old has endured. Shown persistent and resilience. Staying power. Has existed or lived for long periods of time.

On the other hand, be willing to part with what is old, and must be completed or set aside. Sometimes a belonging, an object or unstrument, a place or institution, no longer has function or relevance, and becomes an emotional, psychological, or physical burden. In the letting go, give thanks for what this item, location or relationship formerly contributed to your life. Acknowledge its significance, and honor it, and then lay it to rest. Say goodbye.

Aging has its own grace. It comes with changes, but also forms of liberation. The cares and concerns of youth, driven by the desire to create and generate, to accomplish and achieve, have transformed. With age comes curiosity. As we become ‘old’ we also embrace our capacity to adapt and learn.

The second half of human life requires a sense of purpose and passion, just like the first half. People continue to make meaning, but may do so in different ways.

Give thanks for what is old. — Rev Gail

You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. — Leviticus 19:32

I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you. 10 You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make way for the new. 11 I will place my dwelling in your midst … — Leviticus 26:9-11

He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age … — Ruth 4:15a

Thus says the Lord:
I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob,
    and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound,
    and the citadel set on its rightful site.
Out of them shall come thanksgiving,
    and the sound of merrymakers.
I will make them many, and they shall not be few;
    I will make them honored,
and they shall not be disdained.
 Their children shall be as of old,
    their congregation shall be established before me…
—    Jeremiah 30:18-20

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought. — Matsuo Basho

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. — Ralph Waldo Emerson


This Sunday with JCC: NOV 22

SUNDAY

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING CHOIR PRACTICE
    8am •  Pavilion (behind Whitney Community Center) & Zoom link required.
    Gather for poetry & literature, prayer, conversation.
  • VIRTUAL CHOIR PRACTICE
    9am •  Zoom link required
  • VIRTUAL & IN-PERSON SUNDAY WORSHIP with Gratitude Focus
    10:30am •  Zoom link required.
    Join us for worship with music, scripture, prayer and reflection. Stay for virtual coffee hour (via Zoom only). In-person attendance requires masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing in the sanctury. Service will also be live-streamed to website and Facebook (if technology supports this function on the day of event). Afterward, recordings of worship service will be posted to FacebookVimeo.com channel & Youtube.com channel.
  • RING BELL
    Noon • Jackson Community Church

Sat, Nov 21 Gratitude Reflection

Appreciate what rises. What goes up. What climbs.

The sun breaks over the horizon as it starts the day. People, in their efforts to achieve things, often rise. Sometimes the ascent is its own journey, sometimes it’s the path that leads to a goal or destination.

Sap rises. Birds and plans take off, balloons go aloft: they all rise. New life pushes up through the earth, toward the hope and necessity of sunlight, and rises.

Emotions rise. Expectations rise. Energy rises. Sometimes rising comes as too much of something: overwhelming or out-of-control.

Implicit in rising is the idea that things will soar. That you are making progress. Summiting. Reaching for a climax. Overcoming some obstacle or challenge.

Within the idea of the rising is also its corollary. What rises will also descend. Will settle down. Find a lower point or landing place again. Root itself in calm.

For now, let us give thanks for what rises, and all the promises and possibilities in that movement. — Rev Gail

Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you. — Genesis 13:18

You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. — Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed. Psalm 10:12

We rise by lifting others. Robert Ingersoll

You’ve seen my descent. Now watch my rising! — Rumi

Fri, Nov 20 Gratitude Reflection

Give thanks for what falls. We crush underfoot the acorns that land in our paths, or kick them aside as fodder for wild creatures. We press bruised apples, shaken from their limbs, into cider. We pause in wonder at the rushing torrents that cascade as waterfalls, dropping dramatically, tumultuously, to the river below. Our own bodies sometimes tumble.

            Yes, some things that fall are discarded, no longer useful, damaged by the impact upon landing. Some are hurt and broken in the descent, in need of healing and repair. Other things are made glorious by the journey that begins at the top and plummets downward.

            Our eyes fall as we grow weary. Night falls as the day ends. Sometimes, falling simply signifies release and reprieve.

Let us give thanks for what falls. — Rev Gail

It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand. — Romans 14:4b

My vows to you I must perform, O God;
    I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death,
    and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.
— Psalm 56: 12-13

And falling’s just another way to fly. ― Emilie Autumn

It is sometimes a mistake to climb; it is always a mistake never even to make the attempt. If you do not climb, you will not fall. This is true. But is it that bad to fail, that hard to fall? ― Neil Gaiman

Stumbling is not falling. – Malcolm X 

C3: Cocktails & Christian Conversations (Reminder)

5pm • Tonight (Fri, Nov 20)
Two Week Series: Morality & Ethics
Friday, Nov 20 & Nov 27


C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATIONS 

  • 5pm • Zoom link required.
  • Option: Call in via touch-tone phone. Link required.
  • This week we discuss the concept of morality. Bring your adult beverage and your curiosity for a conversation about this concept as reflected in our sacred texts.
  • As preparation, please find Tony DeLuca’s framing thoughts about Morality as well as text of scriptural excerpts available below.

MORALITY by Tony DeLuca
 
         Morality is the standard by which we as human beings are able to distinguish between what is right and wrong, between what is good and evil. It influences the decisions we make, the positions we take and the values we embrace.  It requires us to define our priorities and measure the things we consider to be of value in our lives. It is fundamental to the formation and development of our character.  It is very much a personal affair.
 
         As members of a society, we need to extend these values and create a common code of conduct that will serve the interests of the entire community. That is the hardest part. It is also the most consequential. When people fail to create a shared system of values or start losing some or all of their moral values, society runs the risk of coming apart.

ISAIAH 30: 21
And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

JOHN 14:26
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

MATTHEW 6: 24
“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

MATTHEW 22: 37-39a
He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

ROMANS 2:15
They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them.

1 CORINTHIANS 15: 33
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

HEBREWS 13:18
Pray for us; we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things

ROMANS 12:1, 2b
… but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

PHILIPPIANS 4:8
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

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