Today's Worship Experience: Have you ever found yourself lost? Or winding your way through unfamiliar territory... feeling very alone. Life - and faith - can feel that way at times. Trust, however, that you are never alone and never without a Guide and Helper. Discovering the Art of the Journey means discovering joy, adventure, and meaning in the journey of life and faith. Worship Link: https://youtu.be/c_7pcf3INvM

... and More

Memories of Christmas are still fresh in our minds. Though Christmas may have been 'distanced,' we still found ways to connect with family, to give and receive gifts, to worship on Christmas Eve, and to enjoy favorite movies, cookies, and traditions. And on New Year's Eve, we said goodbye to 2020 - with maybe too much enthusiasm - and welcomed what we sincerely hope will be a better year. But now - - - The extra pounds, the extra bills, and that extra-tired feeling we can't seem to shake makes us wonder if it was all worth it. We enjoy so much in our lives at Christmas and throughout the year. We pack our calendars full of experiences, activities, responsibilities, and events, and yet, we often find our lives lacking the joy we thought it would all bring. How can a life that is so full feel so empty? What's missing? What more could we possibly do to add meaning to this life? Worship Link: https://youtu.be/c6jVXuZsqds

Our New Year Hopes

January always brings New Year Resolutions in some form or fashion. It's a season that lends itself to new starts, new goals and objectives, new - or renewed - hopes and dreams for yourself, your family, and your future. Maybe for you this year the objective is to lose weight, or exercise more, or get healthy. Your hope might be to find the perfect mate, the perfect job, or the perfect house. You might be planning to start back to school this year, or start a new hobby, or start being on-time more often. Our New Year hopes, dreams, and ambitions generally grow out of a desire for more... more health, wealth, satisfaction, or happiness; more time for relaxing, working, being with family, or travel; more energy, more peace, more patience, or more motivation. But in organizing our futures around our own hopes and dreams for more, we might be missing out on the 'more' that God has for us. God hopes even greater things for us than we can hope for ourselves. With God, there is more to us, for us, and in us, than we can imagine! Worship Link: https://youtu.be/tOKuU6BjoxY

Christmas Worship

In the United Methodist tradition, every congregation is connected with every other congregation in ministry and mission. We share not only a common heritage but also a common call to serve our communities with grace and love. And on Sunday, December 27, we share a common worship experience! Worship with Union Chapel Indy on Sunday, December 27, 2020, has been crafted and prepared by Indiana's Resident Bishop, Julius Trimble; the Indiana United Methodist Conference Staff; and individuals and groups from around our Indiana United Methodist connection. It is a special opportunity, indeed, to be able to worship with United Methodists from across the state - and beyond! In celebration of Christmas, be blessed as you receive a message from Bishop Trimble, Scripture read by laity and pastors throughout the Conference, as well as contributions by children, musicians, and youth from local United Methodist Churches around the state. May you know joy and peace we continue to celebrate the Christ Child's birth! Merry Christmas! Worship Link: https://youtu.be/wfZLcjG2bBQ

As we prepare to celebrate this most holy night, we invite you to gather into your space your advent wreath, if you've been using one this season. And you might also want to gather additional candles, one for each person worshiping in your location. Of course, if you don't have these things nearby, please don't give it another thought. Worship Link: https://youtu.be/cYwf7p8rvaY

What Child Is This: Joseph

The lyrics of the famous Christmas carol, "What Child Is This?", were written in 1865 by an Englishman named William Chatterton Dix. The song poses an important question worth pondering: "Who is this baby in the Bethlehem manger?" while working one's way through the various stanzas of the hymn. It is interesting to note the characters mentioned overtly such as the Christ child, His mother Mary, shepherds, angels and even two forms of feeding livestock. While not specifically named, the recognizable actions of the wise men are referenced as the ones who brought their well-known gifts of incense, gold, and myrrh. All the characters normally present in a Nativity display are accounted for except one. Who is missing from the stable scene? Joseph. There is no mention of the man who would help raise the "Son of Mary." The primary man who would love and invest himself in the life of this special child is not mentioned in this classic Christmas song. Even in Scripture only a few of Joseph's actions are recorded during the early years of his relationship with Mary and into Jesus 'early life, and none of Joseph's words remain in print. Only Joseph's actions of obedience, care, and presence are mentioned. But Joseph was present at the manger. He was present before the manger. He was present after the manger. He was present at least up through Jesus' twelfth birthday as recorded in Luke 2:41-52. What child is this? He is a child adopted by a father who loved him. What child is this? The One who makes the way for us to enter in to God's family, too. Worship link: https://youtu.be/NaNq8KlY1lI

Mary

The opening lines to William Chatterton Dix's famous Christmas carol ask a poignant question, "What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping?" Dix goes on to answer this question in part during the last line of the repeated chorus. This child is "the babe, the son of Mary." The One that the angel said would be conceived by the Holy Spirit is also the son of a very ordinary, very human, young woman. Jesus is not just the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, and the Wonderful Counselor that we sing about and worship at Christmas. Jesus is also the One who walked the same dusty roads that humans walk. He knows real physical pain, real emotional angst, real spiritual need. He has felt the same hunger, knows that same thirst, that we have. God came to earth in Jesus not just to bring a cosmic realignment of all of creation. God came to bring real human comfort and care, to feed our hungry spirits, and to quench our deepest longings. If your Christmas list this year includes wishes for things that can't be wrapped and put under the tree... healing, hope, comfort, community, acceptance... know that the child we worship brings all that and more. What child is this? This is the One who knows you like no other because he has been where you are. Worship Link: https://youtu.be/IphC5qM0xDc

The Wise Men

Words composed by Englishman William Chatterton Dix in 1865 help us consider the annual question posed during the Christmas season: What child is this? Within the lyrics of this famous Christmas carol about the baby Jesus who was born in the manger in Bethlehem, we encounter characters and their actions. Although wise men or magi specifically are not mentioned as characters in the carol, their notifiable actions of worship and generosity lead the lyrics of the third stanza.... "So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh…" The wise men of the original Christmas story studied the stories about, sought after, and eventually found the Christ child. Having found him, they worshiped him and gave him valuable gifts. What are you seeking this Christmas? The perfect gift for your spouse or your children? The most beautiful light display on the block? Or simply a family Christmas without any arguments. Consider joining the wise men in search of the only thing worthy of our worship this season. Video Link: https://youtu.be/-E7K5GGisj4

The Shepherds

In 1865, an Englishman named William Chatterton Dix penned the words to a poem entitled "The Manger Throne." A few years later the first three stanzas of that poem were set to the music of an English traditional folk song called "Greensleeves." That song soon became known as the beloved Christmas carol "What Child Is This?" This combination of poetry and music first was published in the United Kingdom in 1871. For close to a century and a half the question found in the title of this carol has become an annual reminder that something significant happened on that night in Bethlehem as someone special lay wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. This child would change the world forever; but what child is this? In the biblical Christmas story, the shepherds are among the first to learn of the birth of the baby Jesus. During the night the angels visited the shepherds and told them of Jesus' birth. A shepherd's job stretches on day and night without much to break up the monotony. No doubt it is difficult to stay awake through the night to watch for thieves and wolves. But had they been asleep, they would have missed the angels' message and the birth altogether. Staying awake, though, they were able to know about and meet the Christ child. What threatens your experience of Christmas? Will you miss the visit from the divine because you are too busy, too distracted, too stressed, or too tired? Stay awake this season so that you can discover for yourself, "What child is this?" Worship link: https://youtu.be/uTgIZ-bdk0g

Thanksgiving Greetings

For all we are choosing not to do... for all we can't do... the one thing central to this day is one thing we absolutely CAN do... Worship link: https://youtu.be/8z98llm1BWk

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