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January, 2017 - Issue #147
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

God, it's Me Again
by Joe Campeau

God, I've been wondering: How is it that you don't get tired of me?
I'm usually knocking on your door because I want something: health for my family, wisdom for a decision... and it would be nice if you wouldn't mind peeling a few pounds off my gut. But you never get sick of the way I bug you for the same things over and over. You just keep answering the door when I knock.
I am a bundle of contradictions, an eruption of spasmodic faith, a hopeless confusion in that the more I think I have it all together the likelier it is that it is all coming apart.
And now, here comes a new year. I don't know whether by the end of it I'll be glad it's behind me or wishing it hadn't flown by so quickly. But I have you. You never let me down - no, not once - even when I go off on you and accuse you of doing so. So that's good. That's one thing I can count on as 2017 rolls out in front of me. You'll be there. Please help me remember that; I forget it so easily.
Talk to you later. Joe
Joe Campeau is senior pastor at Christ Lutheran Church. Join them to celebrate Christmas Eve at 4pm and 5:30pm for a family-friendly worship service; 8pm and 11pm for a traditional candlelight service; and at 7:40pm and 10:40pm for the Musical Prelude with beautiful traditional Christmas music presented by the Instrumental Ensemble. Christmas Day worship will be held at 9:30am. 259-0200

New Year, Renewed Faith
I think there is a reason the New Year occurs during winter, the metaphorical season of death. The world may not be ending, yet once again we are made aware of the great mystery of how life emerges from death.
This pattern of life and death, of old and new, gets repeated with every New Year. We put the old year to rest and open the promise of new life and new possibilities. We think of the people we've been and envision the kind of person we can become. Maybe we can be healthier. Maybe we can be better with our money. Maybe we can be a better person. As we lay 2016 to rest, what will you be in 2017? What is your faith calling you to do and be in our community?
There is a name for this space between death and life anew: resurrection. It is the way God works over and over again in the Bible. It happens when we receive the Christ child anew; cling to the promises of God and let the Holy Spirit breathe on us again. It tends to arrive when we most need it and, sometimes, it arrives on New Year's Day.
Celebrate Christmas and New Year's at Valencia United Methodist Church. Christmas Eve family worship is at 5pm; joyful worship with the praise band and choir is at 7:30pm and 9pm; and communion and candlelight worship is at 11pm. Celebrate Christmas Day and New Year's Day with morning worship at 11am. 255-1301

Happy New Year from Santa Clarita United Methodist Church
With the New Year comes a whole new chance to transform our lives. Many of us commit to new routines that include more time to workout, more time to read, more time to spend with family. All of these are great ways to start a positive, transformational year. What about a transformational faith? This year Santa Clarita UMC will focus on a transformational faith journey of growing in our soul knowledge of God and how God is working in the world. It's time to clean out old understandings of God that describe God as vengeful, scorekeeping and distant, driving people away in pain. We will seek to understand the all-loving Jesus who brought healing and hope to the world. And as we uncover, discover and embrace this all-loving God, Jesus calls us to love others. Santa Clarita United Methodist Church will continue to be part of supporting good works in the community, through Family Promise, Bridge to Home, SCV Food Pantry and many other agencies as well as seeking new ways to build up our SCV community through service. Santa Clarita United Methodist Church 297-3783
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