Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Life @ The Crossing: New year, new hope, new life

It occurs to me that the title - “New year, new hope, new life” - sounds a bit Star Wars-esque. But maybe it’s okay to get cosmic in Epiphany. What are we celebrating, except that God came down to visit us, to be with us, to be one of us, to walk around and shine that divine light all over the place? It doesn’t get much more cosmic - or much more earthy - than that. Ah, welcome to the paradox of Christian faith.

We’ll be exploring those paradoxes in the month of January, from the Christmas season right into Epiphany, the season of light and hope and discovering Jesus alive and walking by our side. Come be part of the adventure this month (and scroll to the bottom to check out the scriptures that will guide us along the way) …

What’s Going On @ The Crossing
EVERY THURSDAY / Spiritual practice (6pm) & worship (6:30pm): A host of wise brothers and sisters will lead reflections this month. Come early and experience the month’s spiritual practice: a creative icon meditation using surprising images that reveal the face of God.

MONDAY, 1/14 @ 6:30-8pm / Harvard Square Scripture Chat: Join us 2nd and 4th Mondays (that’s the 14th and 28th) at 6:30pm at Grendel's Den for our Harvard Square Scripture Chat. Don’t know much about scripture? That’s alright. Join the crew to discover 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
chris.ashley@gmail.com or 312.451.5124.

MLK WEEKEND (1/19-1/21) / Ruach Retreat in Maine: Don’t we all need to breathe deep, find the God-shaped hole in our lives and then ask God to fill it? Then sign up now for this overnight retreat at the Notre Dame Spiritual Center in Alfred, Maine, co-sponsored by The Crossing and the Diocese of Maine. Alfred, Maine, is 2 hrs N of Boston. Retreat runs from 2pm Saturday to 11am Monday. Cost is $90; financial assistance AND rides available. For more info, contact Audrey O’Brien at

SOCIAL JUSTICE & SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES: Edith Bross regularly sends out updates on ways to engage in social action and service. If you want to receive the news, email her at
edith.bross@gmail.com. And if you’d like to add something to the list, well … email her that, too! And everyone is always welcome to join the two homeless ministries that are close to our church AND our hearts: St. Francis House (daily: contact Lynn @ lynnmcam@aol.com) and Monday Lunch Program (every Monday: contact Stephanie @ sspellers@diomass.org).

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

  • Stephanie Spellers, sspellers@diomass.org, 617.482.4826, x318 (Priest; Pastoral Care; Communications
  • Chris Ashley, chris.ashley@gmail.com, 312.451.5124 (Scripture Chat Group; Greeting & Hospitality)
  • Edith Bross, edith.bross@gmail.com, 610.248.1734 (Justice & Service Opportunities)
  • Lynn Campbell, lynnmcam@aol.com, 617.230.5272 (Newcomer Connections)
  • Hal Carter, halcott.carter@gmail.com, 425.238.0505 (Logistics and Administration; Monday Lunch Program)
  • Ben Garren, bgarren@alumni.unc.edu, 919.691.5585 (Worship/Creative Input)
  • Jason Long , jason.long.1@googlemail.com, 617.519.1538 (Faith-Sharing Small Group)
  • Ashley Merrell, amerrell@berklee.net, 330.883.9089 (Music Ministry)

  • And finally, here are the month’s scriptures; feel free to join the Scripture Chat in Harvard Square if you’ve got insights you can’t keep to yourself:

    January 3: Matthew 2:1-12
    In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

    `And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
    for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"

    Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

    January 10: Matthew 3:13-17
    Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased."

    January 17: John 1:29-42
    John saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God."The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

    When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).

    January 24: Matthew 4:12-23
    When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:"Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles--the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea-- for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

    January 31: Matthew 17:1-9
    Six days after Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Get up and do not be afraid." And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, "Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

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