January 1, 2012: Reflections and Dreams

This week featured prayer stations at worship. Together, we moved around the worship space (and even outside) and reflected on 2011 while praying and dreaming about what God might have in store for 2012 and beyond. Below, you'll find a description of each station and the scripture that accompanied each.

Station 1: Pray for the World

Read the scripture and articles provided. Take time to pray for and reflect on what you read. Live in the tension knowing that God is with us, but also realizing that pain and suffering are still all around us.

Scripture: Matthew 2:16-18

When Herod knew the magi had fooled him, he grew very angry. He sent soldiers to kill all the male children in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding territory who were two years old and younger, according to the time that he had learned from the magi. This fulfilled the word spoken through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and much grieving.
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she did not want to be comforted,
because they were no more.

Questions for Reflection:

1. Who are the "Herods" of today?
2. Who are the "innocents" of today?
3. What does it mean that God is with us even in the midst of the massacre of the innocents?
4. Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt when they heard about the threat from King Herod. What does it mean to reflect on the idea that God was a refugee?
5. What difference can we make, by God's grace, in 2012?

Station 2: Pray for the Community

Read the scripture and the statistics, but more importantly, take time to be still and be aware of the sights, smells and sounds around you. Take note of the nearby jail, the small business owners in town, the Collins Center, the people walking by ... What do you see? What do you hear? What’s stirred inside you?

As you reflect on your community and God’s beloved who live here, ponder your dreams for the community in 2012 and beyond?

As you think about your dreams and reflect on the scripture, you’re invited to put your dreams in writing on the poster board.

Scripture: Acts 2:17

In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young will see visions.
Your elders will dream dreams.

Statistics:

  • There are roughly 300 people in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County who are homeless. 47% of them are children.
  • 25% of Harrisonburg residents live in poverty.
  • 22% of Harrisonburg residents under age 18 live in poverty.
  • 39% of Rockingham County Public School students receive free or reduced lunch.
  • 67% of Harrisonburg City Public School students receive free or reduced lunch.


Friends were invited to write their dreams for the community at this station.

Station 3: Your Part of the Story

As we embark on another year, we reflect on our stories. Yes, each of us has an individual story, but each of us, also, is a part of a larger story – God’s story. Together, we are a part of a new creation and, like it or not, we are inextricably bound up with each other.

At this station, you’re invited to reflect on your story thus far, but also ponder the next part of your story. As a part of this new creation, what is it that God wants to do in you and through you? Where do you feel the tug? What’s weighing heavily on you? What’s the new thing that’s arriving?

Is it reconciling with someone?

Is it opening yourself to transformation?

Is it offering grace to those around you?

Is it getting more involved in the community?

Is it stepping out in faith on a new venture to serve?

What is it for you?

Be specific – and write down the next part of your story (a sentence or a paragraph), take it with you and look to it often.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17

So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!

Station 4: What Can You Give?

The magi offered gifts to the newborn Jesus. What can you offer to God? How can we offer ourselves to God? Think about the offering in a broader sense and not just money. Resources are important, absolutely. They help make God’s dream a reality in many, many ways. But what other ways can you give? What are some small things you can do with great love?

Maybe it’s learning the name of someone you see a few times a week.

Maybe it’s carrying the groceries for a neighbor.

Maybe it’s volunteering somewhere where you’re passionate about the work that’s being done.

Be creative. Think outside the box!

As you do so, you’re invited to take a slip of paper and write down what and/or how you can offer your gifts in 2012 and place it in the offering basket (in addition to any resources you are led to offer!)

Scripture: Matthew 2:10-11

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.

Setlist (iTunes links provided)

O Come All Ye Faithful

Here is Our King

New Year

God of This City/One

Closing Prayer

God of the new day, thank you for making us a part of your new creation. As we look to a new year and dream for ourselves, our community and our world, may our dreams be your dream. And may we remember that you are always with us. Amen.

Podcast 1/1/12