Four years ago, our worshipping community got together to look at what we treasured about the past and what we dreamt for our future. One of the things we affirmed that day was our belief "that innovation and exploration takes faith in the unknown." We also said about ourselves that " We are a community that recognizes our traditional liturgy while incorporating alternative styles of worship." According to the church calendar, we are about to start a new year. Our liturgical New Year's Eve is this Sunday--November 22. Our New Year's Day is next Sunday--November 29. New Year's is a good time to try something new. That's just what we will be doing.
Beginning the first Sunday in Advent, we will gather in chairs around the altar. The lights in the church will be dimmed. Candles will be grace the bancos and the candles in the sconces will be lighted. On each chair, you'll find all you will need to join in the service--the order of worship, the prayers and the responses, the music and words of the songs we sing.
Readers will rise and read from their place in the circle. We'll hear the Gospel and reflect on how God's word shapes our lives. We'll stand together as we affirm our faith in word and song. Prayers will be offered from the midst of the people. Shoulder to shoulder we will make our confession. From the front of the altar--not more than a breath away--will come the assurance of God's forgiveness. We'll turn to one another and pray that God's peace surround the person facing us. Then, as one of us said four years ago, " As the sun sets and the day closes, we gather together in communion with all of God's holy creation and people to experience our oneness and connection with each other and to an awe-inspiring spirit." From the table, from our place in the circle, from that embodied connectedness, we'll go as we are sent--out to world--"a people forgiven, healed, renewed", proclaiming God's love to our broken world.
I hope that you will join Father Joe, Larry Gallegos and me as we step into this next stage in our life together in Christ on Sunday, November 29, at 5:00 p.m.