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December 2011—In this Issue:
Advent: The “Real” Thing
Adávent: noun \'ad-‚vent, chiefly British -vənt\ Middle English, from Medieval Latin adventus, from Latin, arrival, from advenire: the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Merriam-Webster gives this accurate, if somewhat understated, definition of Advent in its online dictionary. In a way, Webster’s dictionary may reflect how most of the world sees Advent, assuming it is seen at all. Even within Christian circles, Advent is sometimes treated as “that annoying four weeks that stand in the way of the real event of Christmas” and a time when over-zealous pastors refuse to allow God fearing Christians to indulge in a little pre-holiday carol singing. But Advent is so much more and calls for more than impatient waiting for the “real thing.” Advent is the real thing.
Advent calls us to hope. The early church lived in hopeful anticipation that God would free them from the oppressive rule of the Romans and bring peace to shattered communities. Literature like Revelations—and portions of Paul’s letters—looks toward a time in the near future when God’s kingdom will replace repressive human monarchy. That same hope lives in us as we are witness to God’s unfolding presence in our history. The afflicted are comforted, the hungry fed, the distraught given hope. God’s full reign is coming but not yet fully present. We live in hope of God’s future
Advent calls us to New Vision. The birth of Jesus, his ministry, death, and resurrection gave believers a new and different vision of God’s presence in the world. Pillars of fire, shaking ground, and burning bushes gave way to an image of God nestled in a cradle and hung on a cross. As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus, we look through eyes of God’s infinite love. This new vision helps us to see neighbor, enemy, and even self with new eyes.
Advent calls us to discipline. These days the word discipline is bipolar. We embrace discipline in finances, athletic training, and business management but consider it offensive when applied to our life of faith and worship. Advent shares discipline and fasting with the season of Lent—calling us to renew our commitment to worship in our community of faith regularly and joyfully. Advent reminds us that we don’t have to worship, we get to worship. This Christ child whom we will celebrate in four weeks was no part-time savior; should we give only our spare time in thankfulness?
Advent stirs us up. Our prayers of intercession throughout begin “Stir us, O God,....” Just as the waters in the pool of Siloam were stirred with the power of the Holy Spirit, so God comes among us again to stir up our compassion, our enthusiasm, our love, and our worship that we might stir up a world that does not yet know God. Advent reminds us that something big is about to happen, and it’s time to get off our collective duffs and be about mission. Advent stirs us up!
Merriam-Webster reduces the definition of Advent to a calendar definition. But for us, Advent is marked with Jesse Tree singing, blue candles, discipline, reflection, prayer, hope, and an unfolding vision of God’s presence among us. Advent truly is the real thing.
Christmas Eve • December 24
5:00 PM A Family Christmas
Christmas Day • December 25
10:30 am Nativity of Our Lord
New Years Day • January 1
8:00 am Lessons and Carols
Council met Tuesday, November 15. Here are some of the highlights of the meeting:
Don’t forget, beginning January 8, Dr. Miller will begin his practical and informative forum, “Living The Good Life—Levels of Morality in Children and Adults.”
February 3 and 4, 2012
Each year the youth group requests your help with their Punahou Carnival Parking fundraiser. This year the carnival takes place on Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4.
We will need adult volunteers for three-hour shifts during the carnival on Friday and Saturday. Event coordinators provide snacks and drinks, flashlights and safety vests. You provide the fellowship! Sign-up sheets will be available in the Hörmann Courtyard in January.
With three months behind me, life at LCH is feeling far more familiar...and it’s just in time! Advent begins Sunday, November 27, and our beloved music program switches into high gear. We begin the season with our traditional Advent Procession and conclude with a special Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
Advent Procession is an old tradition at LCH. The church held its first procession in 1975 and continues to this day. For years now, the pattern has been to alternate years between a lessons and carols format (after King’s College, Cambridge) and an “O Antiphons” format singing a cyclical setting of the seven “O” antiphons as the core of the service. This year, 2011, the pattern suggests a lessons and carols format, and that’s just what we’ll do! The service revolves around the reading of nine lessons from Isaiah, Micah, Luke, and Matthew. Between each reading is music: choir anthems and motets or hymns for the full congregation. I’ve always loved services of lesson and carols since they alternate between word and song. It’s a beautiful pattern and one that allows everyone to take part. I can’t wait!
As Advent continues, the choir will prepare for a wonderful Christmas Eve service in which we’ll perform two Bach cantatas and a lovely small mass by Mozart. The Bach cantatas are Und ist ein Kind geboren, BWV 142 (very possibly by Johann Kuhnau), and Gloria in excelsis Deo, BWV 191. This musical offering will feature the Bach Chamber Orchestra with Darel Stark, concertmaster, and begins at 10:30 PM. During the 11:00 PM service we’ll present a Mozart mass for the liturgy: Missa brevis in D major, K. 65. I can imagine no better way to celebrate Christ’s birth here at our home in Honolulu than with all of this beautiful music.
As we look to 2012 and the heaps of wonderful music ahead, I encourage you to consider joining our musical ensembles. The 8:00 O’Clock Ensemble is growing fantastically right now and had fifteen members on a recent Sunday. This is a great place to try your hand at singing if you’re new or prefer more contemporary, popular repertoire. The LCH Choir, which sings at 10:30 services, continues to sing the major choral repertoire and perform a number of additional large services in the life of our church. This is a great place for those with more musical experience looking for a challenge! Finally, our (mostly) all-male Compline ensemble performs nearly every Sunday evening at the 9:00 PM Compline services. This choir rehearses for the 90 minutes before the service and sings a range of repertoire mostly from the Renaissance and latter half of the 20th century. If you’re curious about any of the parts of our musical community, please contact me and I’ll help you find the best match.
We all are one in mission, we all are one in call,
We give thanks for the amazing people and bountiful gifts that are the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. Over the past weeks, we have asked “What you are passionate about at LCH?” and you have answered through Temple Talks, bulletin inserts, and courtyard conversations. You have also responded with your gifts of energy and time and through your pledges to further God’s mission here at LCH.
Thank you for your commitment to continuing our mission by 41 pledges of $176,107.86 to LCH’s 2012 operating budget, (as of November 26). We are blessed by your passions and your generosity.
For years LCH vision groups dreamed, discussed, and debated three major projects: fixing the back parking lot, covering the Hörmann Courtyard for protection from the elements, and calling an associate pastor. In March LCH took a leap of faith and made a commitment to embark on all three projects. The mssion campaign is the fund raising response designed to realize those dreams. Donations were made to support these dreams even before we were able to organize a fund raising team, and now the mssion campaign has received 33 pledges of $93,257 over the next two years.
Much of the ground work for these projects is under way. Bids for the parking lot have been received. A group is being organized to guide the development of the Hörmann Courtyard project. The call committee has begun preliminary interviews with the list of candidates from the bishop.
There are still opportunities to pledge to the LCH general operating budget and the mssion campaign. You will find pledge (PDF) and Simply Giving (PDF) forms on the usher stand in the back of the church and on the 2012 Stewardship webpage.
In response to several requests, we have also added the ability to pledge in the form of monthly credit card payments made through PayPal. You will find a link on the 2012 Stewardship webpage. Because of the fees levied on every credit card transaction (about 2.5% is deducted by PayPal on every transaction), this page is intended primarily for visitors, but it can be used by anyone.
LCH is a congregation of many, varied passions—feeding the hungry, reaching out to veterans, a refinished parking lot, vibrant fellowship, a covered courtyard, learning opportunities, music, an associate pastor, uplifting worship experiences. Mahalo for you, your passions, and your commitment to our mission:
Welcoming to all
Offering envelopes will be available at church on Sunday, December 18, for those who requested them when making a pledge. If you would like a box of envelopes for your contributions but did not make a pledge or forgot to check the box your pledge card, please let the office know, and a box will be ready for you on December 18.
Of course, you do not need a box of envelopes to contribute. You are welcome to just drop your check in the offering plate without putting it in an envelope or to put your check or cash in a plain envelope from home or one of the envelopes provided in the pews.
If you still have envelopes from this year or from previous years and want to keep using them, that’s fine too. However, since numbers are reassigned each year, the counters may not be able to match your “old” number with you. So, if you use old envelopes, please cross out the number and be sure to write your name on the envelope.
Bill Potter, Webmaster
While there was not much listed during November on the “What’s New?” page on the website, it doesn’t mean that there haven’t been changes. In fact, very early in the month of November, the page count on our sitemap went over 900!
The sitemap lists most of the individual pages of the website and shows how they are organized in folders. Many websites post a sitemap so that human visitors can see how the site is put together and help them navigate around. Even more importantly, the sitemap helps the automated crawlers that index web pages for search engines like Google get to every part of a website.
I added a sitemap to the LCH website in September 2007, and at that time, we had about 400 pages. So, we have been adding pages at a rate of about 125 a year, or about one new page every three days.
One of the new pages since the beginning of November is a pledge page in the Stewardship 2012 section. As with most of the website, the primary focus is for visitors rather than members and regular attenders. As you may have read in this month’s Stewardship Corner, the cost to the church for processing credit card contributions (2.5% of the amount contributed) is significantly higher than the cost of electronic funds transfers ($.20 per transaction for Simply Giving) or checks (no charge).
As Christmas approaches, look for the special Christmas worship schedule with details about special services on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. To make it easy for you to find and convenient for telling your friends, I have set up a special URL: <www.LCHwelcome.org/Christmas>.
We will use an article by Jay McDaniel entitled “Zen and the Self.” Find it on the Religion-Online website: <www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2491>.
We will have a poem to help focus our discussion. Hope to see you there!
Next HeartBeat Deadline is Tuesday, December 20!
God’s kids say the funniest things
One morning, Jennifer Smoter of Green Oaks, IL, told her son, Dayne, who plays on a hockey team, “Finish your breakfast. You need fuel to skate fast today.” “But Jesus starved for 80 days, and he was fine,” Dayne replied. “Yeah, but Jesus wasn’t getting cross-checked,” his father, Jon, said.
—via Nancy Tangney, Kalamazoo, MI
Copyright © 2011 Lutheran Church of Honolulu
1730 Punahou Street, Honolulu, HI 96822 • 808-941-2566
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