Thursday, December 06, 2007

Life @ The Crossing: Open Up, Open Out

Don't you love Advent? Throughout the year, we talk about opening our hearts and lives to the very presence of Christ. But this time of year, we actually hunker down, pay attention, pray a little more, clear some space, and practice the presence of Christ. Or at least we try ... . I hope the practices and reflections @ The Crossing this Advent ~ plus some opportunities for service, deeper reflection, community and more -- help all of us to get ready for the coming, the birth, the advent of Jesus among us.

What's Going On @ The Crossing ...

EVERY THURSDAY / Spiritual practice (6pm) & worship (6:30pm): This month, soul sisters Audrey O'Brien (reflections) and Kirsten Wesselhoeft (spiritual practice) will team up to lead worship and take us all deeper into this period of waiting, hoping and opening.
  • FYI on Advent scripture reflections: If you'd like to offer up some thoughts on the Advent scriptures @ The Crossing, scroll to the bottom of this email. You'll see all the readings AND an email for the month's reflection leader, Audrey.
  • FYI on Advent practice: You can share the spiritual practice everyday of Advent -- just go to It's a movement to "restore the scandal of Christmas by worshiping Jesus through compassion, not consumption," and it'll change your life (and the lives around you) ... if you let it.
  • FYI on December worship dates: We meet Dec. 6, 13 and 20, but NO CROSSING ON DEC. 27!

NEXT 2 THURSDAYS, 12/6 AND 12/13 @ 8-9pm / A Vision for The Crossing: The Crossing's leadership crew has spent some time discerning the future of our ministry. But YOU'RE part of this ministry, too, so we want to open the circle and hear/share more with the whole Crossing community. Stick around after worship this Thursday and next Thursday to share your hopes, thoughts, imagination for what God will do with our funky little emerging Christian community over the next year and over the next 3 years.

EVERYDAY IN DECEMBER / Help Our Hungry and Homeless Neighbors: Bring new socks and t-shirts (large or extra large), plus any coats, gloves or other winter wear you no longer need. We'll share the items with St. Francis House and the Monday Lunch Program (programs to assist homeless and hungry people in Boston). If you'd like to volunteer at St. Francis, contact Lynn Campbell at or 617.718.2055. To help at Monday Lunch Program, contact Hal Carter at or 425.238.0505.

NEXT MONDAY, 12/10 @ 6:30-8pm / Harvard Square Scripture Chat: Join us 2nd Monday of this month (but not the 4th Monday) at 6:30pm at Grendel's Den for our Harvard Square Scripture Chat. No need to be a Bible scholar, just be curious about how our stories connect with the ancient story and with God's story. Bonus: Grendel's half-price dinner menu. Getting there: JFK St., toward the river, on right, same strip as Peet's Coffee, just before Staples). Contact Chris Ashley at or 312.451.5124 (esp. if you're lost).

MLK WEEKEND (1/19-1/21) / Young Adult Retreat in Maine: We're co-sponsoring a 20s-30s overnight retreat in Alfred, Maine, on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend with friends in the Diocese of Maine. If you want to breathe deep, build your spiritual practice toolbox, sink deeper in the the life of Christ as the New Year unfolds, then mark your calendar. Alfred, Maine is 2 hrs N of Boston; retreat runs from 2pm Saturday to 11am Monday. For more info, contact Audrey at

PLUGGING INTO MINISTRY @ THE CROSSING: There's room for everybody's gifts in this circle (it's part of what we mean by "radical welcome." This contact list will help you to connect:

  • Stephanie Spellers,, 617.482.4826, x318 (Priest; Pastoral Care; Communications)
  • Chris Ashley,, 312.451.5124 (Scripture Chat Group; Greeting & Hospitality
  • Edith Bross,, 610.248.1734 (Justice & Service Opportunities)
  • Lynn Campbell,, 617.230.5272 (Newcomer Connections)
  • Hal Carter,, 425.238.0505 (Logistics and Administration)
  • Ben Garren,, 919.691.5585 (Worship/Creative Input)
  • Jason Long ,, 617.519.1538 (Faith-Sharing Small Group)
  • Ashley Merrell,, 330.883.9089 (Music Ministry)

And here are the scriptures for our three Thursdays in December; reply to Audrey at with your own comments on where your hear the Spirit speaking ...

December 6: Matthew 3:1-12: In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: `Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'" Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

December 13: Matthew 11:2-11: When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, `See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

December 20: Matthew 1:18-25: Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, 'God is with us.' " When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

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