If you are in the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey area this week, we invite you to join us on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at 10 AM-11:30 AM at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church located at 11 N. Monroe Ave. Wenonah, NJ 08090 for NINE LESSONS & CAROLS: A WOODBURY CONVOCATION EVENT – A Service of Readings, Music & Communion.
Holy Trinity’s congregation, choirs, and musicians will gather for this traditional Anglican service, including Holy Communion. Let’s pack the house and sing our hearts out as we remember the joy and hope of the Nativity of Our Lord! All are welcome.
After the service, stick around for a potluck coffee hour. During the coffee hour, we will talk about our work on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua with ample time for Q&A.
Nine Lessons and Carols is a service of Christian worship traditionally celebrated on or near Christmas Eve. Originating in the early 20th century out of the Church of England, the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings or lessons from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns, and choir anthems. It’s a powerful service that speaks to God’s divine plan for the redemption of the world and the mystery of God’s incarnation 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. You won’t want to miss it!
Love, T.J. & Rochelle
During my recent visit to Ometepe, we were invited to meet our local mission team at a young family’s house in Balgüe (See Christian’s Family video). It was in the middle of the afternoon and April in Nicaragua is the peak of the HOT, dry season. What I found astonished me. The entire 10-person team, PLUS Christian and her family, were moving giant rocks to form a drainage system in preparation for the rainy season.
This was such an act of humility and servant hood beyond evangelism, modeling Jesus’ directive, I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you (John 13:15 NIV) to build up Christian’s home (literally) with love.
It was the next day that the team received their new walking shoes, water bottles and ponchos from your generous donations. These vessels of Jesus were so grateful for your donation of supplies, especially the walking shoes. As I watched each of them try on their new shoes, I was overwhelmed with humility and the vision of Jesus washing their feet – just as He did on Maundy Thursday saying, Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14 NIV).
THANK YOU to all who made it possible to bless these people and metaphorically “wash another’s feet” (John 13:14 NIV).
Last year I bought a citrus tree at a local nursery who assured me it bears fruit each year. I brought it home, replanted it in a large pot and placed it where I thought was the perfect location on our deck. A few months later, a few blossoms appeared. I was so excited, and my mouth salivated at the thought of our family eating organic citrus grown in our back yard. Weeks went by, and I noticed there was no new growth or fruit on the tree. What went wrong? Months passed and nothing happened. In fact, at times the tree was knocked over during strong summer storms.
Eventually, I moved the tree to a new location which was closer to our home. This location received less Florida sun and was among other plants and shrubs residing in the earth.
Just before Christmas, I added some newly-harvested compost and wished the tree well before leaving for the holidays up north. Upon my return, lo and behold the tree started to blossom! Today it bears heaps of blossoms, fruit and new growth. When I think of what happened to this tree, I can’t help to reflect and praise God’s amazing creation, promise and grace. I would like to share two points with you here:
- The tree needed to be around other life to help protect it. In this life, we need to trust God, our family and/or community when we are vulnerable. Whether we are the receiver or the giver of help, we need each other. Jesus knew this and commanded us to love our neighbor, and even our enemies, as ourselves.
- Like Jesus’ death and resurrection, the decomposing compost helped to yield the most beautiful blossoms and fruit on this tree. Thank you, Jesus, for your ultimate sacrifice, so we may blossom, bear fruit and remain in your love!
John 15: 1-17