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We’re a week away from Christmas 2010 and we’re now on what might be called “countdown” mode for what some consider the most celebrated holiday of the year. This Christmas countdown can mean many things to different people.
For many the countdown is about the number of shopping days left and the number of gifts yet to be decided on, bought, wrapped and given. For others it involves the number of parties yet to attend and the number of calories to be lost after the holidays end. The length of time it takes to find a parking space at the mall and the amount of distance from the car to the mall entrance can be an indicator of where we are in this countdown phase of the holidays.
I don’t know about you, but for me 2010 has been an incredible year! In fact, at Imani we started out 2010 declaring “The I’s Have It!” in a sermon series. As I recall the “I’s” stood for “I’m Possible (Impossible), Incredible and Irresistible.” The series was based on the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. The gist of the message was that because the impossible has already happened in our being here (if “I’m possible,” anything is possible) any moment can be filled with the incredible (what we call “miraculous”) and, as we open to this truth, others are drawn to God’s irresistible love by how we live in/out this love each day. I pray you’ve experienced this truth again and again throughout 2010!
Now, we stand of the threshold of 2011. Amazing! We have before us a whole new year to “get it right,” whatever this may mean for you. And maybe the truth is (as Bishop Carlton Pearson states) it’s not as important to “be right” as it is to “be real.” I believe for a number of years now that’s exactly what I’ve been called to, from somewhere deep inside ... just “be real” with yourself, with others, with God. How difficult could it be? Very!!!
“Sound the ram's horn all over the land. Sanctify the [fourteenth] year;
make it a holy year. Proclaim freedom all over the land to everyone who lives in it —
a Jubilee for you …” (Lev. 25:9-10a, The Message)
The concept of the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. In the Biblical Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is mentioned to occur every fifty years, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. In Christianity, the tradition dates to 1300, when Pope Boniface VIII convoked a holy year, following which ordinary jubilees have generally been celebrated every 25 or 50 years; with extraordinary jubilees in addition depending on need. Christian Jubilees, particularly in the Catholic tradition, generally involve pilgrimage to a sacred site, normally the city of Rome. The last Jubilee year was convoked in 2000 by Pope John Paul II. (Wikipedia)
We don’t have a pope, nor do we observe Yom Kippur. We’re not even half way to the fiftieth year of ministry as a church and yet, because of the God we serve, we’ve decided (in this 14th year of ministry) that we’re going to declare and celebrate 2011 as a Year of Jubilee!
This year of Jubilee will mean many things in the life and ministry of Imani MCC. One of the most important things it means is that, through faith, we are moving more fully into the freedom that is ours in Christ. We are opening to the presence of God (Love) in our lives in ways that not only transform us, but change those around us and our entire world. We expect greater things to happen in our lives and ministry in this Jubilee year.
Well, I’m sitting in my favorite diner/drive-in/dive here in Durham and I’m seeking to be open to Spirit as I try and share something with you that may speak to your heart and spirit in ways that will do for you whatever it is God wants to do for you in this process. Over the past couple of days (since returning from a week of vacation on Tuesday) I’ve been having two particular ideas press in on consciousness, so these are what I’ll share with you at this time.
The transformation of the C-View Street property continues and at every stage the process seems to speak to me on a spiritual level … as anything can and will do, if we’re willing to see with spiritual eyes. Here are a few pics from our project manager. Take a look and see what they say to you.
Originating in the fourth century of the church, the season of Lent spans 40 weekdays beginning on Ash Wednesday and climaxing during Holy Week with Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Good Friday, and concluding Saturday before Easter. Originally, Lent was the time of preparation for those who were to be baptized, a time of concentrated study and prayer before their baptism at the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord early on Easter Sunday. But since these new members were to be received into a living community of Faith, the entire community was called to preparation. Also, this was the time when those who had been separated from the Church would prepare to rejoin the community.