From the Backcountry ...

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Pastor’s Weekly Update

December 15, 2017

 From the Backcountry …

Christmas in Connecticut.  Time to place a twinkling candle on the windowsill.  This old Irish custom would also have us sweep the floor, stoke the embers and leave the door unlatched.  For it is believed that Mary and Joseph still wander the roads of the world searching for a safe night’s lodging on their cold, hard journey to Bethlehem.  The candle indicates our home is a welcoming respite for those who, presently, have no home to call their own.

We would do well to remember that the baby Jesus is the child of refugees, born in occupied territory under the rule of a tyrannical king, who feels his power to be threatened.  And for many, conditions haven’t changed all that much.  May our Christmas candles be signs of welcome to all those seeking refuge from the ravages of war and violence in our own day.

Sunday, December 17   Third Sunday of Advent   10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Isaiah  61: 1-11;  Luke 1: 46-55

Text:  “He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich empty away.”  Luke 1:53

Sermon:   “Mary, Quite Contrary”

Tease:   From the moment the strange messenger brings greetings to Mary of Nazareth, she remains demure and quiet.  But, then, in a moment of sheer inspiration … she speaks.  And what a speech!!   God might have chosen a more mature, stronger woman of better background to play this daunting role. Yet, the choice of a young, poor and vulnerable peasant girl may tell us something far more important about God …and ourselves.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols

Sunday Evening,

December 24,  5:00 p.m

 

At that magical twilight hour, we once again gather to hear the story of Jesus’ birth.  Our traditional service of lessons and carols will include special music and a short, inspirational message.  It’s a joyous, yet reflective hour – guaranteed to put you and the entire family in the Christmas spirit. 

There will be no morning service on December 24.

2017 Christmas Mission Offering – Neighbor-to-Neighbor Food Pantry

There are over 50 million Americans now struggling with food insecurity.  Odds are … you know some of them.  According to a Brookings Institute study, the number of suburban households below the poverty line has increased 64% since the economic downturn.  Ironically, today’s upscale gentrification in urban communities has been displacing lower paid neighbors, forcing them further and further  into outlying suburban communities.  Poverty now affects nearly every American community - including Fairfield Country, where residents tend to think that hunger is a problem that occurs “somewhere else.”

While corporate America seems to have turned the corner, worker’s wages remain stagnant, or continue to decline.  We must advocate for the systematic changes needed to ensure that these issues are resolved, once and for all.  In the meantime, we must support our neighborhood Food Pantries.  When times are tough, they are very often the helping hands to whom our neighbors turn for immediate food assistance.

If you haven’t done so, please give generously to our 2017 Christmas Mission Offering and be aware that the entire offering received on Christmas Eve will be allocated to this special appeal. Checks can be made to NGCC and we will forward one donation, together as a church family.

See You Sunday,

Royal