Neil Ellingson - Taking Care of God - December 20th, 2015

Co-founder Neil Ellingson on the uniqueness of incarnation, seeing the face of God in toast, and how the birth of Christ is God's asking us to take care of others.

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Denise Levertov - Annunciation

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished, 
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
       Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
       The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
         God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.


Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
         Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
More often
those moments
      when roads of light and storm
      open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from

in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
                                 God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.

Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’* 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 34Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’* 35The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born* will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.


A Christmas Meditation and Invitation

Whether its because we’re excitedly making plans to be with family, or unexcitedly making plans to be with family, Christmas is a time when home is on the brain.
But Christmas is also an opportunity to home in on what it means to feel “at home,” because the Christmas story itself is really about the possibility of feeling at home in what can be a harsh world.
We all know about the couple on the brink of childbirth, far from home, being turned away because there was “no room.” Those glowing plastic nativity scenes don’t do a great job at conveying what it would mean to actually give birth in a stinking, drafty, dirty barn.
But the Christmas story makes the crazy proposition that this was the perfect place for sacredness to be born. Far from home, in a structure not meant for human shelter, a baby is born who will grow up to bring the radical message that everyone is worthy of being at home in this world.
It turns out that the way to be at home in this world is the same way this baby went on to live: by being unafraid to let go of the easy comforts of home, lovingly asking others to do the same, all in the service of giving the socially, spiritually, and literally homeless the news that they—we—deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.
We have been invited as a church to participate in a celebration of the traditional Mexican celebration of Las Posadas to remember both the timeless message of finding home in the midst of what can seem like an inhospitable world, but also to honor and bear witness to a place where people are at risk of losing their chance at having a decent, affordable place to call home. Lathrop Homes is one of the few remaining affordable housing complexes on the North Side of Chicago, and there is a proposal to convert much of it to more expensive housing. On Saturday, December 21, from 2-4pm, we will have the opportunity to stand (and walk) with other members of our community to support the radical, and utterly common sense proposal that everyone deserves a home. 

And then we’ll have a party!

We’ll be meeting at the Cotter Boys and Girls Club at 2pm. Event is until 4.  Learn more and sign up here:
And feel free to email with questions.