Meditations on tangible love during Advent 4: holy, messy, stubborn love that moves among us here on earth.

I believe God loves the world through us—through you and me. — Mother Teresa

The three grand essentials of happiness are: Something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.― George Washington Burnap

The great struggle of … life is to take God’s name for us, to believe we are beloved and to believe that is enough. ― Rachel Held Evans

The roots of a lasting relationship are mindfulness, deep listening and loving speech, and a strong community to support you. — Thich Nhat Hanh

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
― William W. Purkey

Prayer
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
— St. Teresa of Ávila
 

Questions to consider:

  • When did you have an experience of holy, stubborn love this week?
  • When has love insisted on showing up, despite whatever should have turned it away, in your life?
  • What or who has been transformed by love, in your life?
  • When have you served as tangible love in someone else’s life?
  • What is your ‘language’ of love? How do you express love to others? Read an article on this concept.
  • In what ways are you willing to receive or accept love? When and how is it hard to allow yourself to be loved?
  • What songs make your playlist as great love songs? Are they romantic or do they describe a different kind of love?

HOLY, STUBBORN LOVE: Incarnate, Embodied, Among-Us

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ― Rumi

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love. ― Mahatma Gandhi

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Every one of us is trying to find our true home. Some of us are still searching. Our true home is inside, but it’s also in our loved ones around us. When you’re in a loving relationship, you and the other person can be a true home for each other. ― Thich Nhat Hanh

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close. ― Pablo Neruda

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. ― Elie Wiesel

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always. ― Mahatma Gandhi

I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough … ― Nicholas Sparks

Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love. — Mother Teresa

You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not. ― Jodi Picoult

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. ― Louise Erdrich

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater. ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Spiritual Commentary on Love

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. ― Dalai Lama

I do not understand the mystery of grace — only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us. ― Anne Lamott

Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. ― Richard Rohr 

Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love. ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

What I love about the ministry of Jesus is that he identified the poor as blessed and the rich as needy…and then he went and ministered to them both. This, I think, is the difference between charity and justice. Justice means moving beyond the dichotomy between those who need and those who supply and confronting the frightening and beautiful reality that we desperately need one another. ― Rachel Held Evans

God’s grace is a gift that is freely given to us. We don’t earn a thing when it comes to God’s love, and we only try to live in response to the gift. No one is climbing the spiritual ladder. We don’t continually improve until we are so spiritual we no longer need God. We die and are made new, but that’s different from spiritual self-improvement. We are simultaneously sinner and saint, 100 percent of both, all the time. The Bible is not God. The Bible is simply the cradle that holds Christ. Anything in the Bible that does not hold up to the Gospel of Jesus Christ simply does not have the same authority. The movement in our relationship to God is always from God to us. Always. We can’t, through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us. Most especially in the Eucharist and in the stranger.
― Nadia Bolz-Weber

When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning. ― John O’Donohue

THIS WEEK: WED, Jan 23 – SUN, Jan 27

WED, Jan 23

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9:30am • Parish House.Fitness class. Free; open to public. Weather dependent; if schools close, the class will be cancelled.
  • MISSIONS TEAM
    4:30pm • Parish House, Jackson Community Church
    Meet to review proposed budget, set program priorities, and schedule of events for 2019. All welcome.
  • ANNUAL POTLUCK & CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
    6pm • Potluck (bring a hot entree, salad or side dish, or dessert to share)
    7pm • Attend business meeting to review and approve budget and governance items such as Council officers.

THURS, Jan 24

  • FLOW & ALIGN YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.

FRI, Jan 25

  • Private Event: AVALANCHE CLASS
    All Day • Second Floor, Jackson Community Church
    Private class providing instruction to outdoor athletes and emergency responder for avalanche preparedness and response.

SAT, Jan 26

  • Community Event: FREEMAN FROST WHITE MOUNTAIN 30K CLASSIC XC SKI EVENT
    More info. Volunteers also welcome: contact Sarah Kimball. 16th year of the White Mountain Classic event: this is a popular citizen’s race and tour and also serves as a one-day New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) Championship.  The event lunch, run by the Jackson Grammar School at the Whitney Community Center, is one of the school’s major fundraisers. This is a classic technique marathon utilizing the unique trail systems in and around Jackson Village. The course includes Jackson’s FIS Homologated Course, Wentworth Golf Course, and Eagle Mtn. Fields. Entry includes food stations, post-race meal, awards and random prizes to both racers and tourers. Proceeds will support youth nordic programs in the Mt Washington Valley. Touring Classes are untimed. All skiers 13 and under must tour with an adult.
    BIB PICKUP: Race HQ, Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (JSTF), Jackson Village:
    – Friday 1/25/19 – 5:00-7:00 PM
    – Saturday 1/26/19 – 7:00-9:00 AM
    Register at: https://www.skireg.com/white-mountain-classic-30k Racers: $65 – Thru 1/25/17 at 5:00 pm / $100- Day of Race Registration until 9:00am.
    Tourers: $40 – Thru 1/25/17 at 5:00 pm / $100 Day of Race Registration until 9:00am.
    Kids 13 and under with a participating adult: $20 if received by 1/25/18.

SUN,  Jan 27

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING @ OLD LIBRARY
    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
  • BLESSING of BODIES, BOOTS & BINDINGS
    9:15am • Jackson XC Ski Touring Foundation  HQ
    Rev Gail offers blessings to staff, volunteers and skiers.
  • WORSHIP 
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    • Message: Gail Doktor
    • Accompanist: Alan Labrie
  • Community Event: CARROLL COUNTY STATE REPS @ JTOWN DELI
    Noon • JTown Deli
    Monthly coffee to meet state representatives and learn what’s going on in Concord. Attending this week: Anita Burroughs and Ed Butler.
  • Community Event: DACAPO CONCERT
    4pm • Whitney Community Center
    Continuing the DaCapo tradition of singing popular favorites, the concerts will include arrangements of Gershwin tunes, hits from the 1950s and 1960s, including “California Dreamin’,” “Misty” and “Girl from Ipanema,” and recent releases such as Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” The group is co-directed by conductor Mary Bastoni and accompanist John Waldie. Concert is free to the public, $10/pop or $20/family donations suggested. Members of our church will be in this performance!