First Congregational Church of Flagstaff
( A Covenant Church of the United Church of Christ )
740 North Turquoise Drive Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
Uniting Notes — December – 2016
In your strength the king rejoices, O Lord, and in your help how greatly he exults! 2 You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. 3 For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold on his head. 4 He asked you for life; you gave it to him— length of days forever and ever. 5 His glory is great through your help; splendor and majesty you bestow on him. 6 You bestow on him blessings forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. 7 For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
Psalm 21: 1-7, NRSV
Martin Luther said about God that “God speaks to humanity in baby talk.” In other words, divine truths come to us in the form of metaphor. How else could it be? We can only speak of God as “Father” or “Mother,” “flame” or “beloved.” To speak of “the ineffable divine” is as meaningless as it is pretentious.
At the season of Advent, as we await the coming of Christ into the world, the Churches of Christ throughout the earth turn their attentions to Scriptures that speak of kingship. “Messiah” (in Hebrew) and “Christ” (in Greek) both mean—most literally—“anointed one.” This refers to the ritual of anointing a newly designated king with oil.
Christians have long understood royal Psalms such as Psalm 21 to be prophecies of Christ, who is the ultimate divine king. Old Testament / Hebrew scholars quibble and fairly so—it’s highly unlikely that the Psalmist had in mind a future Messiah, when penning these words. Yet the beauty of symbols is their multi-valance; one signifier can denote many things, and can carry more meaning than the original writer conceived of. How much more can the words inspired by Spirit carry a super-abundance of ideas?
The Psalmist says of the Ruler, “you met him with rich blessings.” Surely this is true of Jesus. Though he suffered many things, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:2. Likewise, God meets each one of us—the subjects of the divine King—with “rich blessings” throughout our lives.
It can be hard to remember those blessings at times: some days seem laden with burdens and disappointments. At times our trials seem more than we can endure. Nonetheless, God stoops down to meet us and whisper encouragements, even in baby talk. Theologians have another fancy word, “prevenient grace,” which is a way of saying that God can be counted on to give us just enough help to get started in the right direction, whatever our circumstance. “Rich blessings” may not always be apparent, but we can count on enough blessings to get us moving again when we are overwhelmed and David, Solomon, or another of the ancient lineage. He did this for Jesus his child. He will do it for us, as well.
UCC Fair Trade Project ALL DECAF COFFEE IS $2.00 OFF The New Coffee order has Arrived
It’s Stocking Stuffer Time! Equal Exchange Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate will make a great Christmas Gift!
Thank you for your support of all these Equal Exchange products!
FCCF Birthday’s in December are:
Elaine Menke – December 7th
Fleur Benjamin – December 9th
Jonathan Leung – December 9th
Dan Conrad – December 10th
David Cooper – December 10th
Katie Kilgore – December 10th
Ruth Reid – December 15th
Crafts of Many Colors and Ten Thousand Villages
A check was sent to Ten Thousand Villages for $1,097.70. The churches portion was $121.97.
Proceeds from sale for the use of tables was $409.00 for a total of $530.97 to the church.
The Church Council voted that the money should be dispersed as follows:
1/2 to the General Fund – $265.49
1/4 to a Local Mission – $132.75
1/4 to a UCC Worldwide Fund – $132.74
For the rest of the story, check out the websites listed below!
Be informed – Southwest Conference United Church of Christ In The Loop
Be informed – Keeping You Posted United Church of Christ
(Just key into your browser, enter and read)
The Night After Christmas – Anonymous
‘TWAS the night after Christmas, and all through the house Not a creature was stirring—excepting a mouse. The stockings were flung in haste over the chair, For hopes of St. Nicholas were no longer there. The children were restlessly tossing in bed, For the pie and the candy were heavy as lead; While mamma in her kerchief, and I in my gown, Had just made up our minds that we would not lie down, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter. Away to the window I went with a dash, Flung open the shutter, and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave the lustre of noon-day to objects below, When what to my long anxious eyes should appear But a horse and a sleigh, both old-fashioned and queer; With a little old driver, so solemn and slow, I knew at a glance it must be Dr. Brough. I drew in my head, and was turning around, When upstairs came the Doctor, with scarcely a sound. He wore a thick overcoat, made long ago, And the beard on his chin was white with the snow. He spoke a few words, and went straight to his work; He felt all the pulses,—then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, With a nod of his head to the chimney he goes:— “A spoonful of oil, ma’am, if you have it handy; No nuts and no raisins, no pies and no candy. These tender young stomachs cannot well digest All the sweets that they get; toys and books are the best. But I know my advice will not find many friends, For the custom of Christmas the other way tends. The fathers and mothers, and Santa Claus, too, Are exceedingly blind. Well, a good-night to you! “And I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight: “These feastings and candies make Doctors’ bills right!”
Why is Christmas so often written “Xmas”?
The “X” in this case is the Greek letter chi – written X and chi is the initial letter of the Greek word for “Christ”.
Merry Xmas to all!
Knit Wit’s, Too, meet in the Fellowship Room, at 1:30 pm, on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
Anyone who loves to knit or crochet, is welcome to attend.
These items are really appreciated by members of our community.
Help make a difference at Christmas time!
Breakfast is the meal NOT to skip!
FCCF meets Thursday mornings at 8:00am for Breakfast at Coco’s on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. That’s Thursday, December 8, 2016 and Thursday, December 22, 2016. The 22nd is a little close to Christmas but it might be a good time to just stop for a while and have a good visit!
Women’s Fellowship Luncheon will be on Wednesday, “December 21, 2016, Noon, at Coco’s.
Come and enjoy the fellowship and the good food.
The Holidays are here!
The Book Group is reading ” A Man Called Ove: A Novel” by Frederik Backman.
Date and location for discussion to be announced.
The Prayer Circle will meet Tuesday, December 6, 2016 in the Fellowship Room at Noon.
Bring something to share for lunch.
Our prayers Are With You….
Kay Poen, Joyce and Michelle Neal, Meg Eastwood, Fleur Benjamin, Monte Poen,
Stirling and Phil Daykin, Sylvia Lee, Dick and Katie Kilgore,
Laureen Antes, Cyndi, Terry, and Levi Cirre, Rev. Bill Lyons, Rev. John Dorhauer
“Prayer, the world’s best wireless connection.” Unknown
The Reason for this Season, as told by Luke
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
MAY THE REASON FOR THIS SEASON REMAIN IN YOUR HEARTS ALWAYS.