Dear Family of Faith,
One of my favorite authors is Henri Nouwen. His writings have inspired me and sustained my spirit across several decades. His wisdom is enduring. This advent season as we seek to embrace and see the beauty in darkness, this writing spoke to me and I hope it does you as well.
“It is easy to put the bad memories under the rug of my life and to think only about the good things that please me. By doing so I prevent myself from discovering the joy beneath my sorrow, the peace hidden in the midst of my conflicts, and the strength that becomes visible in the midst of my weaknesses.” (Weavings, November/December 1992, p. 39-40)
As we enter the darkest days of the year, my prayer for all of us is that we discover God’s gifts for us in the darkness. The peace that passes all understanding. The joy that shines through in unexpected ways. The love that encompasses all of life.
Christmas Eve will be different this year. We will gather digitally on Zoom at 7pm. Rumor has it God and 3 angels will come to visit us as we enjoy Stories and Songs in front of the Christmas Tree! I encourage you to join us! Pajamas welcome! Go to www.zoom.us. Click on “Join meeting.” Then enter the meeting ID# 883 3388 9515. Call for the passcode! Then enable your video and audio. You will be able to see everyone on your screen, whether it is a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Bring a candle and we will light those together.
We are continuing to worship Sunday mornings on Zoom at 9 am (call the office for the password) and in-person at 11:00 am at Holbrook. All are welcome. We do wear masks and socially distance to minimize the risk.
Thank yous continue to come in from Livingston Health Care and Park County Public Health. Our act of generosity and kindness is having a rippling impact of encouragement and hope!
You are all in my prayers as we journey through this unusual season. Stay safe and take care.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
Dear Methodists on the Yellowstone and beyond!
This week it was a joy to join in the effort to appreciate the healthcare workers and first responders in Livingston. In this dark year, as our days get shorter, we can increase our joy by sharing joy with others. This week we spread joy through flowers, candy, words of appreciation and smiles. This was a group effort. There’s still a way you can participate. We raised $500 but the project cost $700. If you would like to contribute, please make a check out to “Park County United Methodist Ministries” and send to Grace at 302 9th Street Livingston, MT 59047. Thank you to everyone!
In this season when joy is hard to come by, we must be more intentional about finding ways to spread joy. I think joy is like the stars shining in the night sky. Join us Sunday morning, or listen to the sermon on our website, as we explore more fully finding joy in the darkness.
Christmas Eve we will celebrate via Zoom worship at 7 pm. We will have stories and songs for all ages. Feel free to join in your pajamas. I’ll be wearing mine and join you from in front of my Christmas tree. Invite your friends and family! One blessing of this year is that people can join us from any location. So, share this information! (Note it is different than our weekly Sunday morning worship.)
Meeting ID# 883 3388 9515
Call the church office for the password!
I’ve attached my sermon from last Sunday which goes deeper into the idea of embracing the darkness and finding the gifts of God there. Or you can listen to it here: https://www.methodistsontheyellowstone.org/worship/embracing-the-darkness-consider
God is on the mountain top. God is in the valley. God is in the light. And God is in the darkness.
Thursday Hymns and Prayers This Thursday at 7 pm bring your favorite nativity or Christmas decoration to share. We will connect with one another, sing carols, and lift up our prayers. We have a great time together. All are welcome! Zoom ID# 522 462 362 call the church office for the password!
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
Austin Channing Brown recently wrote, “Sometimes hope isn’t what we feel, it’s what we do.” As we reflect this advent season on the role of darkness in our lives this quote caught my attention. Hope isn’t always feeling optimistic about life and the future. As I mentioned in my sermon last Sunday (attached to this email and a video version here https://www.methodistsontheyellowstone.org/worship/embracing-the-darkness ) hope begins in darkness. Hope starts when we are unsatisfied with the way things are. When we are in pain, feel frustration, experience injustice, are filled with anger, or sick and in need of healing. It is in these places that we need hope to help us cope, persevere, and move forward in a way that leads to healing, redemption, new possibilities, thriving, and even new life. Hope is trusting God will be with you in that process. Some days hope is having an optimistic mindset and believing it will be better one day. Some days hope is acting to bring about your preferred future. What can you do today to move yourself, your family, your community toward healing, wholeness, redemption or flourishing? You are not alone in that work; God is with you. Hold on to hope. Hope lives
Park County United Methodist Ministries
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