Wednesday, December 09, 2009

on the horizon

Mystery, darkness and wonder never seem as close and powerful as they do in Advent. But December bears some other not-so-sweet gifts: frantic shopping, furious paper writing, frayed emotions and many deeper struggles. We could all use help staying with hope and keeping awake to Jesus in this season of contradictions. So I'm sharing the poem that's been my prayer companion since last week, when I took an Advent Quiet Day at the Bethany House of Prayer in Arlington (never heard of it? Click and be blessed). May these words from Jan Richardson, author of Night Visions, do for you what they did for me: open your heart, focus your gaze and give you permission to spend time with the God who so longs to dwell with -- and transform -- us all:

The season of Advent
means there is something
on the horizon
the like of which
we have never seen before.

It is not possible
to keep it from coming
because it will.
That’s just how Advent works.
What is possible
is not to see it
to miss it
to turn just as it brushes past you. …

So stay.
Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder.
There will be time enough
for running
for rushing
for worrying
for pushing.

For now stay
wait –
something is on the horizon.

Jan Richardson, Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas

this week @ the crossing: You'll see the big picture and many more details further down, but here's a snapshot of this week in our community:
  • Thursday @ 6pm / Worship: Michael Zahniser takes us deeper into Advent's mysteries with a reflection on Luke opens Advent with a reflection on Luke 3:7-9, while Chris Ashley leads the month's spiritual practice: praying with Mary, the mother of Jesus. BEFORE WORSHIP: Help set-up at 4:45pm or join the pre-worship prayer circle at 5:30pm. GETTING TO THE CROSSING: 138 Tremont St., across from Park St. T. PARKING: Validated parking @ Boston Common Garage on Charles Street (b/t Common and Public Garden). LOTS MORE INFO: Head to
  • Thursday @ 7:30-9pm / Soup and Bread AND The Advent Conspiracy: Everyone is welcome to stay for this reflective (and tasty) post-worship gathering! If you would like to make/bring soup or bread one week, CONTACT Travis at
  • 2nd Sundays @ 6-8pm / The Nouwen Readers: Meet at Tealuxe at 108 Newbury Street in Boston and consider the insights of one of the most extraordinary AND accessible spiritual writers of our time. READING: Nouwen's Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. CONTACT Bill at

advent conspiracy / Nov. 30 - Dec. 24
The Advent Conspiracy is a world-wide movement to put the scandal of Jesus' incarnation (God came to be with us? Get out!) back at the center of the season of reflection and expectation leading to Christmas. Check all the details -- dates, times, locations, contacts, links -- at The Advent Conspiracy @ The Crossing page, and take note of these highlights:
  • Soup & Bread After Worship / Thurs., 12/3 & 12/10: After worship, we'll share a simple meal and Advent Conspiracy reflection at table.
  • Post-Worship Gift-Making Party / Thurs., 12/17: After worship, we'll eat soup and bread and make presents together. Bring supplies and inspiration
  • Spread the Love: Let's pool our personal resources and make a substantial gift to the Mothers' Union in Maseno, Kenya, an Anglican women's circle creating sustainable crafts and caring for AIDS orphans.
And here are some other great ways to pay attention and go deeper this Advent and beyond:
  • Crossing Holiday Gathering with Homeless Neighbors / Sat., 12/19 @ 1-3pm: Join our Justice Ministry Team and friends from Ecclesia Ministries for a party that will be full of food, comedy, socks, blankets and open spirits. CONTACT Justin Harvey at to help with planning.
  • Phyllis Tickle Advent Meditation Morning / Sat., 12/19 @ 9am-noon: She's one of the biggest speakers and writers on the emergent movement, and she's coming to The Cathedral to help us all focus on spiritual practices that prepare a space for Jesus. Click here to get info and register.
  • Christmas Eve @ The Cathedral / Thurs., 12/24 in the evening: The Crossing has been invited to join the Cathedral in hosting the annual Christmas Eve Vigil and Eucharist. Details coming, but if you'll be in town, please come!
  • First Night @ The Cathedral / Thurs., 12/31 @ 11:30pm: This Interfaith Service is always one of the highlights of Boston's First Night. This year, we can join as crew or just as guests. CONTACT: Jep Streit at

small groups and formation
Check The Crossing Calendar for times, dates, locations and contact info for all our community events. Here are the highlights:

    • 1st Sunday: The Crossing Leadership Crew
    • 2nd Sunday: The Nouwen Readers -- Dec. 13 @ 6-8pm at Tealuxe -- 108 Newbury St., Boston)
    • 3rd Sundays: Exploring Our Faith Through Art -- Dec. 20 @ 6-8pm at The Cathedral
    • 4th Sundays: Everyone Does Theology -- January 24 @ The Cathedral (Topic: The Incarnation)
    • Covenant Group: A Discipleship Circle -- Mondays @ 6:45-8:30pm (Group no longer open to new participants, but contact Jason at for info on future groups).
    • Contemplative Circle -- 1st and 3rd Wednesdays @ 6-8pm
    • Jogging for Jesus -- Thursdays @ 8am at MGH/Charles Street T Stop
    • French Conversation Group -- random Fridays in Central Square
helping hands @ the crossing
Many more details at The Crossing Calendar and the Justice & Service page. Here are the highlights:
  • Help with Worship Set-up on Thursdays @ 4:45pm
  • Join the Pre-Worship Prayer Circe on Thursdays @ 5:30pm
  • Monday Lunch Program at The Cathedral on 2nd and 4th Mondays: 10am to help with set-up, or 11:30am-12:45pm to help serve & build community with our homeless and hungry neighbors
giving @ the crossing
We're raising the last $3,000 toward our annual giving goal of $20,000 in 2009 AND gathering pledge cards for 2010 so we can plan well for the year to come. Please prayerfully consider making a one-time gift or start pledging (setting out an amount you'd like to give over the course of a year, and filling out a pledge card so we know we can count on your contribution). Give however you're able: cash, check or credit cards. CONTACT: Chris Ashley at

get connected
We've got an amazing crew of leaders making life happen here @ The Crossing. Click to Meet The Crossing Leadership Crew and see who you might talk with to plug into anything -- lead a spiritual practice, have a newcomer coffee, link with justice work, join a small group, help with the web, pitch in with hospitality, start giving regularly, or just get some support and hope for the journey we share.

And if you'd like to make a connection with the broader Crossing community, get onto our online forum, InBetweenCrossings: Here's where we connect and share information about random community announcements -- including upcoming events, apartment sublets, job opportunities, lost-and-found, furniture exchange, help requests, etc. You got stuff to share (a job, a couch, a theater gig you want people to attend)? You need stuff (lost scarf, dog-sitter, an apartment sublet)? Pass along the word ...

And now, I bid you a peaceful night from the city that never sleeps (um, yes, that's New York). Tomorrow, I'm home in Boston and sleeping in my own bed for the first time in 5 days. Talk about gifts of the Spirit!

Praying, hoping and waiting by your side,
Rev. Steph

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