Musings, On The Gift of Sanctuary: December 14, 2021
The candles of Hope, Peace and Joy have been lit and they flicker bravely in the still lengthening nights. And, with the news of ever-increasing case numbers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, other parts of Canada and the world over, we need more than ever to gather in the warmth of these three candles, and in the presence of others who nurture these values in us.
This past Sunday was certainly an experience of hope-filled, peace-loving, joy-sharing community for me. The fun of being pelted with socks for a good cause and the sharing of Christmas carols both in gale force wind at the bottom of balconies and in quiet shelter of doorways reminded me that hope, peace and joy arise out of love - God’s abiding love for us and our manifestation of this love to one another.
This coming Sunday folk from Open Sky will be with us as we light the candle of Love and hear the ancient story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth.
Hearing the news of her pregnancy, Mary sought a place of sanctuary. As a pregnant teenager, poor and unwed, dangers and uncertainty—both physical and societal—surrounded her. With haste, she journeys to Elizabeth’s house.
Elizabeth—and the child in her womb—welcome and affirm Mary – so much so that she bursts into a song of praise: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (v. 46-7).
For a time, Elizabeth and Zachariah’s home, the arms that received Mary became her safe haven – a place of sanctuary. Elizabeth’s welcome, blessing, and care were safe space, just what she needed as she prepared for what lie ahead.
Sanctuary is not only a place. It is also the people who say, “Here I am,” striving to create and to become a safe place for others. Will we be a refuge, someone’s haven in the storm? In the spirit of these two holy women, Mary and Elizabeth, this Sunday we will ponder what it is to offer ourselves as sanctuary for anyone in need of one—glorifying, with our actions, the One whose love, freely given, is our sanctuary, our home.
Yesterday was a full day with pastoral visits and meetings. As a result these Musings are being written at a very early hour on Tuesday morning!
Today (Tuesday) I will join with the Preacher’s Help Group at 10:30AM via Zoom followed by a pastoral visit over lunch. At 2PM Jennie and I will offer Advent Promises in Word and Song via Facebook Live and at 3PM I’ll join with a Lectionary Study Group followed by another meeting at 4:30PM to work on a New Horizons for Seniors grant application that will be presented to the Executive on Wednesday evening and hopefully submitted by the deadline!
Wednesday will be another full day with three pastoral visits in the morning, a meeting with one our young people at 3PM in respect to their Climate Justice project after which I will join with the Executive for their December business meeting via Zoom. At some point in the day I will take down Chapter 5 of the Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever and make the Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey available.
Thursday I hope to have the day to work from home to finalize the liturgy and reflection for Sunday and be able to bring a glass of cheer as I join with others for A Christmas Carol and a Cocktail at 7PM via Zoom.
Friday and Saturday will be days off (unless the sermon is not finished) and sometime Saturday afternoon I will upload Chapter 7 of the Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever and the Christmas Kitten.
On Sunday December 19th we’ll gather at 11AM both in-person and via Facebook Live to light the candle of Love; and with the light and warmth of the four candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love we’ll journey toward the Longest Night on December 21st at 7PM and Christmas Eve.
In an effort to provide as many opportunities for folk to gather on Christmas Eve as possible, in as safe a manner as possible, we are offering three opportunities to gather:
3PM will be a 30 minute gathering for children and little ones - but of course, all are welcome!
5:30PM will be 'Take 1' of our Christmas Eve Service, Invited Home and
7:30PM will be 'Take 2' of the same service and this one will be live-streamed on Facebook Live.
On a final note, please watch our website and Facebook Page for updates in respect to COVID-19 protocols. As per current government guidelines we are limiting occupancy in the building to 50% capacity. All who are eligible to be vaccinated must provide proof of vaccination upon entry and all persons except those offering leadership must wear a mask.